New adaptive signals in Greeley save almost $6 million annually; coming soon to Longmont

August 17, 2016 - Northeastern Colorado/CDOT Region 4 - Time and fuel savings good; 2.3 million less pounds of pollutants annually is great

GREELEY – You may not have noticed, but you are getting around Greeley on US 34 Bypass and US 85 quicker than you have in the past.

The Colorado Department of Transportation installed adaptive signals on those corridors in the Fall of 2015 and were fully activated earlier this year. Those signals change timings based on actual traffic demands through hardware and software. A study was recently completed that shows just how effective they have been.

“We have come a long way with technology at CDOT,” said Regional Transportation Directory Johnny Olson. “This type of innovation has great benefit to the community. This is one way were are getting more out of our existing roadway system at a low cost.”

According to the study, travel times were reduced by 13 percent on US 34 Bypass and by 23 percent on US 85. That amounts to a total daily savings of 829 hours. Factor in a value of time of $19.50 per person, and that is an annual individual savings of $5,845,000.

One of the key parts of adaptive signals is a reduction in stops along the corridor. The study showed a 51 percent reduction of stops on US 34 Bypass and 89 percent on US 85. That accounts for nearly 20 million less individual stops per year.

With less stops, there is also a positive impact on the environment. The combined corridors reduced carbon monoxide emissions by 17,850 pounds per year. There is now 2.3 million less pounds of carbon dioxide annually emitted. Hydro-carbons and nitrogen oxides were reduced by a combined 4,550 pounds.

The reduced stopping and starting also saves on fuel … 227 gallons per day on US 34 Bypass and 91 gallons per day on US 85. If you average fuel at $1.75 per gallon, that is a savings of $194,600 per year just in fuel.

Add up time savings, fuel and reduced maintenance costs on vehicles and the adaptive signals on just those two stretches adds up to $5,996,000.

The adaptive signals were installed on US 34 Bypass from 8th to 65th avenues and on US 85 from 5th to 22nd streets for a cost of around $800,000 which came from the Responsible Acceleration of Maintenance and Partnerships (RAMP) funding, which accelerates funding for projects.

“The success of adaptive signals on the 10th Street corridor was the catalyst for implementing adaptive signals on these two additional highways in the City of Greeley,” said Larry Haas, traffic operations engineer at CDOT. “Our goal is to move traffic efficiently and safely. The results of the study proved what we hoped which is we are able to get people on their way quicker and safer which is better for everyone.”

This successful implementation of adaptive signals in Greeley has caught on with other communities and has opened the door for more adaptive signal installations on US 287 and CO 119 in Longmont starting this Fall.