Atlanta Traffic Signalization Improvement Pilot Near Completion

On Wednesday, June 30, Governor Sonny Perdue announced the approval of $1.49 million in grant funding to the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (ADID) towards the Downtown Traffic Signal System Upgrades and Retiming Project. Funding for the grant will be provided by the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank (GTIB), a revolving infrastructure investment fund established in 2008 by Georgia legislators as a part of Governor Perdue’s legislative agenda. The funding will support signalization improvements at 65 intersections in Downtown Atlanta, advancing a significant second phase to a signalization improvement effort by ADID and the City of Atlanta through an initial pilot project initiated in late 2009. The ADID was among eight Community Improvement Districts (CIDs) to receive GTIB grants.

“These funds will provide opportunity to improve transportation infrastructure on heavily traveled streets in Downtown Atlanta, including the introduction of new wireless technologies,” said City of Atlanta Interim Commissioner of Public Works Michael Cheyne. “We’re thankful for the improvements that are already in place on corridors like Marietta Street through the pilot project and excited for ADID’s grant award that will continue this work.”

Equipment upgrades include:

• Replacement of traffic signal controller units and cabinets (provided through a Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) equipment upgrade program);

• Replacement of outdated incandescent signal heads with new Light Emitting Diode (LED) heads and pedestrian ‘count-down’ heads;

• Wireless communication upgrades and system integration;

• Development of new timing and optimization plans for better traffic movement; and

• Assessment of the benefits of the improvements through a ‘before and after’ study that measures vehicle emissions, travel time savings and fuel consumption.

The new investment by ADID in traffic signal upgrades will ultimately reduce delay and improve mobility for all travelers. Previous studies have documented benefits of investing in signal timing that outweigh costs by up to 40 to 1.

The traffic signalization pilot project consisting of 16 intersections on Marietta Street, Centennial Olympic Park Drive and Baker Street was initiated in December 2009, and will be completed later in July. The pilot project, made possible through a partnership of the City of Atlanta and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, was the first phase of the Downtown-wide Traffic Signal System Upgrades and Retiming Project. The project will address an overall strategy to modernize outdated and deficient equipment, improve signal operations and thereby mitigate traffic congestion through better traffic flow within key Downtown corridors.

“With the pilot project nearing completion, we estimate that travel time within the Marietta Street corridor has decreased by 20 percent,” says Angie Laurie, Vice President of Transportation, Central Atlanta Progress (CAP) & ADID. “Drivers experience fewer delays, and pedestrians benefit from safer, more consistent operations. Much of the traffic signal equipment within Downtown is at least 14 years old, last upgraded in preparation for the 1996 Olympics, so these improvements are needed.”

The design-build pilot project with the City of Atlanta and ADID is being led by a team consisting of Wright-Brown Electric, Inc. and ARCADIS. ADID is funding $100,000 of the demonstration project’s improvements, and $500,000 is being contributed through Westside Tax Allocation District (TAD) public purpose funds. The City of Atlanta Department of Public Works is a vital partner providing oversight, staff and equipment support, and necessary coordination. When complete, the Downtown-wide project improving more than 80 intersections will result in an overall investment in signalization improvements valued at more than $5 million by ADID, the City and State of Georgia.

For more information on this project please go to

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