Adaptive signal control technology on traffic lights is projected to be installed on Dave Ward Drive in Conway by early 2019.
Traffic lights with adaptive signal control technology use sensors to regulate signal change.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, “by receiving and processing data from strategically placed sensors, [adaptive signal control technology]can determine which lights should be red and which should be green.”
The FHA reported “poor traffic timing contributes to traffic congestion and delay” and that outdated traffic signals account for “more than
10 percent of all traffic delay and congestion on major routes alone.”
The traffic lights on Dave Ward currently operate on a timer, meaning the lights are not always changing colors at the most opportune times for drivers.
Director of Conway’s Street and Engineering Department Finley Vinson said the traffic lights on Dave Ward currently change between 500 and 1,500 times per day.
The adaptive lights will allow drivers to spend less time waiting on traffic lights while commuting.
“The traffic around the lights is very congested. It takes a long time to get to class,” junior Nicole DeSalvo said. DeSalvo drives on Dave Ward every school day.
Vinson told THV11 that Dave Ward is “a congested corridor, probably one of the busiest in Conway.” He said the traffic circles on the east end of Dave Ward help ease the congestion, but the traffic lights are still a pressing problem.
Vinson said he believes the adaptive signal control technology could help clear up the congestion.
“The purpose of the project is to improve [points of]congestion,” Venson said.
However, he said he does not expect the project to provide “any significant safety improvements.”
Conway’s growth over the last few decades has been rapid.
According to the city of Conway, in 2013, Faulkner County ranked as the 72nd
fastest-growing county in the nation, out of 75 Arkansas counties and over three thousand counties in the U.S.
Conway residents have witnessed this growth firsthand. Resident Rachel Lance, 20, has lived in Conway her entire life and can still recall a time when she had to drive to Little Rock if she wanted to shop at Target.
“[Conway] has grown so much that I don’t even need to go to Little Rock anymore,” Lance said.
This is the first adaptive light system in Conway, but it is not the first adaptive light system in Arkansas.
“Rogers and Little Rock both have adaptive traffic control,” Vinson said.
The adaptive signal control technology on Dave Ward is not the only technology of that kind that Conway will have.
According to the Conway City Council meeting agenda from August, the adaptive signal control technology will also be implemented on Oak Street.
Photo by Lauren Swaim