Results from a city project completed in 2012 to improve traffic flow and synchronize traffic lights in San Antonio are just now being revealed after an inquiry by the KSAT 12 Defenders.
Public Works Department spokeswoman April Alcoser said the project was completed at the end of Fiscal Year 2012.
"Now we are seeing overall a 32 percent reduction in stops within all of our main corridors,” Alcoser said. “We're also seeing a 12 percent reduction in travel time. That's what we were going for. We want to optimize the traffic that are progressively going through all of our main corridors citywide." The project was a five-year $31 million dollar effort.
Alcoser said the city can now even fix a malfunctioning traffic light without going to the location. "We can remotely access all of our signals and there's over 1,300 signalized intersections citywide,” Alcoser said. “There may be times that we can just remotely access the location and make any type of adjustments that we need to make."
In one example, the city said on San Pedro Avenue from Sahara to Cypress, travel time in the past was 17 minutes with eight stops. Now drivers should be able to make that same drive in eleven minutes with two stops.
On Wurzbach Road from Babcock to Lockhill-Selma, travel time in days past was 16 minutes and 13 stops. Now, Alcoser said drivers can make it in under 12 minutes with six stops.
"They'll start seeing that they're not stopping as often," Alcoser said. "That they're actually going through a progression of green lights."
San Antonio driver Mary Armstrong said she has noticed a difference. "I have noticed, yes, and I think it's wonderful the city does those kinds of things with the lights," Armstrong said. “It always brightens my day when I get that green light.”
Panna Perez agreed, saying traffic flows much better than before. "Yes, the flow is much faster," Perez said.
William Boylston, however, said while he applauds the city's efforts to solve the traffic problems in areas around town, there are other trouble spots that still need to be fixed.
"I can't say that I'm the absolute authority, but no improvements in my opinion," Boylston said. “(It) makes great sense. If you're traveling along at the speed limit you should be able to hit several lights in a row without having to stop.”
The KSAT 12 Defenders drove both routes to test the city's figures.
It took longer to drive in that experiment than the city’s figures show, but the test drive happened while school zones were functioning.