CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – It sounds like downright bragging coming out of Cranberry Township these days when you talk about driving through the heart of the business district.
“There’s as much as a two-minute drive time that’s going to be realized on that corridor,” Public Works Director Jason Daily said.
If you must deal with other congested roads around the area, the idea of a breezy two minute ride through all the lights seems unthinkable.
However, Cranberry’s high-tech, constantly-monitored system is a jealousy generator.
KDKA-TV’s John Shumway made the drive in rain and heavy traffic Friday and, as advertised, it took just a bit over two minutes.
So why not do it everywhere?
“That’s always going to be contingent on the funding that’s available for the traffic signal projects,” PennDOT Assistant Traffic Engineer Frank Cippel said.
Cranberry reaped the benefit of the Westinghouse development to the tune of about $750,000.
Cranberry’s system is also manned, which is a recurring expense most municipalities can’t afford.
Enter the Traffic Adaptive System.
Currently in use in about 40 places around the country, PennDOT is including the Traffic Adaptive System at its Wexford Flats widening project. It will include a network of cameras at every intersection.
“Basically, the eight traffic signals throughout the two municipalities are going to be in constant contact with each other and it will be on the fly, adjusting the traffic signal’s timings to try and to improve the traffic flow,” Cippel said.
Should it work in Wexford, it might be expanded to other areas such as Route 22 in Monroeville and McKnight Road in the North Hills.
McKnight Road is already getting cameras, which the police department will be able to see, but that’s it.
With funding, PennDOT said places like McKnight Road might be adaptable to the Traffic Adaptive System.
PennDOT can currently monitor and has remote control capabilities for traffic signals in many primary corridors.
“We can make changes based on whether there are any kind of incidents out there,’ Cippel said.
Without cameras, PennDOT is blind to problems. So, they only make changes if notified of a problem by a municipality and are specifically asked to do so.
For now, PennDOT’s primary traffic flow answer is to tweak existing systems.
Projects currently approved for signals and or timing upgrades are:
- West Liberty Avenue to Washington Road to Route 19 from Dormont through Upper St. Clair
- Carson Street from 10th Street to the Birmingham Bridge
- Liberty Avenue through Bloomfield, and through the Strip District
- Route 65 from the McKees Rocks Bridge to the Beaver County line.