Smoothing the flow

Traffic lights on 96th at I-69 that are part of a DriveFishers project (Photo by John Cinnamon)

Traffic lights on 96th at I-69 that are part of a DriveFishers project (Photo by John Cinnamon)

By Ann Craig-Cinnamon

How many times a week does this happen to you: You stop at a red light on 96th or 116th Street. You then get the green and move to the next light only to have it turn red and you have to stop again? That situation creates bad traffic flow, not to mention annoyance for drivers, and it happens so often that the town of Fishers is undertaking a major project to get the lights synchronized.

DriveFishers has announced the installation of state-of-the-art equipment on the three major corridors in Fishers. Those corridors are 96th Street., 116th Street. and Allisonville Road. According to Jeff Hill, the Director of Engineering for the Town of Fishers, the “smart signal” program, takes existing signals on those 3 corridors and adds detection equipment that will count vehicles to assess where they are and reports that information to a processor or controller off to the side of the intersection. It will then make real-time changes to signal timing to better the flow.

“It’s essentially a system that allows intersections to talk to each other and overall it makes timing changes to the signals to improve flow, to reduce congestion, to reduce your overall travel time in those main corridors, and just synchronize the signals that are there today,” said Hill.

The new equipment, which Hill believes is the first of its kind in Indiana, will build a “green-tunnel”. If you start at 116th and Allisonville corridor, headed toward I-69, you should get good queuing and green-time to improve your overall travel.

“I never tell anyone that they won’t see a red light, but we’re improving the average overall-flow and travel-time for the majority of the corridor,” said Hill.

The work has begun on 116th Street, with 39 intersection upgrades in all.

The project is funded by a combination of $2.5 million in federal grant money with Fishers kicking in about $600,000.  Hill said this is a way to bring improvements to many intersections, for a price that normally would be spent on widening one or two intersections, or roundabout construction. The project will end by summer.