The City of Las Cruces continues to roll out improvements to its Intelligent Transportation System (ITS). Significant infrastructure improvements and installations have been put in place during the past few years ranging from the new Traffic Management Center (TMC) on Hadley Avenue to fiber-optic lines that connect the TMC to several signals on major corridors such as University and Lohman avenues, Main Street, El Paseo Road, and others.
The fiber optic lines provide a transmission network that increases bandwidth, lengthens data transmissions and improves overall connectivity for the signal timing. ITS is a centralized network of live traffic data that can be remotely monitored and adjusted without the need to dispatch crews and equipment to each intersection to reduce travel times, improve traffic signal coordination, provide real-time traffic advisories, and optimize efficiency.
The City recently implemented a new coordinated traffic signal timing plan for night-time driving on University Avenue, a busy thoroughfare between Interstate 25 and I-10 that runs adjacent to the New Mexico State University campus and Las Cruces Convention Center. The intent of this plan is to provide the best traffic management and travel time for the traffic movement with the greatest demand during the night-time, or non-standard peak work hours. The plan would reduce incidences of red lights on major roadway corridors when there is no traffic in the other direction.
Before the ITS was installed, a change to signal to time would have meant time-consuming field adjustments to the signals, monitoring of traffic in the field, and readjustments to the signals. This new timing plan was implemented remotely and provides moving vehicles with a series of green lights through several intersections of a major corridor, such as University Avenue, and can adjust timing to unexpected changes in traffic, such as special events and accidents. The system provides for priority timing on the major corridor when the majority of traffic is traveling that route while still assuring that the delay on the other roadways is not significant and is adjusted when the traffic on the major corridor is decreased. Testing and data analysis resulted in an improvement of travel time by 18% along the completed University corridor after the timing was put in place.
The City of Las Cruces has collaborated with Econolite, an industry leader that has provided one-stop-shop traffic management solutions for Las Cruces for more than two decades. Econolite provides extensive support to assist with the implementation of timing signals, advanced traffic management, and control systems, vehicle detection technology, radars, pedestrian crosswalks, and related software.
The night timing signal project will be expanded throughout the major corridors of the city to include Lohman Avenue, Main Street, El Paseo Road, and others with the collaboration of service providers as part of the ITS initiative.