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Signal Timing Initiative Should Boost Mobility, Reduce Emissions

The Program for Arterial System Synchronization (PASS) program, a joint effort of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), in partnership with Caltrans and local governments, is coming to Alameda to improve streetlight signal timing.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission, in a media announcement yesterday, said that $1.25 million was spent on 339 traffic signals in seven counties during the 2010-11 fiscal year, an estimates that effort will produce $101 million of value in mobility and emissions improvements over the next five years. Emissions are reduced as cars spend less time idling at traffic signals. The program also implements safety measures for bicyclists and pedestrians, such as re-timing walk signals based on a 3.5 foot per second walk speed, rather than the previous 4 foot per second assumption.

“PASS is a key part of MTC’s larger Freeway Performance Initiative,” explained MTC Chair and San Mateo County Supervisor Adrienne Tissier, noting the program largely encompasses major arterials parallel to the Bay Area freeway system. “Like the rest of the freeway initiative, it delivers a very big return on a comparatively modest investment.”

The next round of spending, another $1.25 million involving 21 projects and 360 traffic signals will cover Alameda, Berkeley, Oakland and a number of other Bay area cities. Completion is planned for mid-2012.

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