Operation Green Light Improves Traffic Flow in the Metro

Posted on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016 by
In Traffic, Transportation Engineering, tagged in
traffic equipment

Did you know there is a program in Kansas City that works to reduce unnecessary delays, improve traffic flow, and reduce emissions that contribute to ozone pollution? Operation Green Light (OGL) does so by creating and directing an arterial management system for the metro area.

There are a number of entities involved with OGL. These include the Mid-America Regional Council, 22 area cities, the Kansas and Missouri Departments of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration.

One of the primary objectives of OGL is to coordinate signals and improve traffic flow across jurisdictional lines. Area state and local governments cooperate in the use of timing plans for the intersections on major routes. These are organized to create a more efficient traffic flow. For example, during peak hours, signals are synchronized to work together, but throughout the rest of day, they run as originally designed.

OGL also works in conjunction with Kansas City Scout, which strives to lessen traffic jams by improving rush-hour speeds, increasing safety, and improving emergency response to traffic situations. By working together, they can provide arterial detours on the fly to move traffic when needed.

Although existing equipment is used wherever possible, some new items have been installed. The equipment and software updates ensure the traffic signals can stay in sync with the new timing plans. Most of the system is wireless – even the backbone. However, in some places, fiber is still used where it makes sense to take advantage of existing infrastructure.

“I’ve been a part of OGL for over 10 years. On the first project I completed with them, we worked on the wireless interconnect of traffic signals. In the first phase of that effort, we completed 600 signals. Now, we’re working on adding 66 cameras to the system,” said Mike McKenna, PE, PTOE, ENV SP, Principal and Senior Traffic Engineer at Affinis. “From a traffic engineer’s perspective, these are marquee projects, and I’m honored to be a part of the team.”

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