City of Escondido’s Signal Synchronization Program
The goal of the signal synchronization program is to improve traffic flow and minimize congestion along major roadways in the City.  It is estimated that signal coordination projects have saved our citizens over 300 vehicle-hours per day in reduced travel times since the program started.  Other benefits include reduction in greenhouse gases and better compliance with the speed limit.  Each year, the major corridors within the city are prioritized for traffic signal retiming based on the amount of traffic, level of traffic congestion, and any known changes to traffic patterns due to new developments and land uses in the area. 

How Signal Synchronization Works
The traffic signal synchronization works by estimating the arrival time of a platoon of vehicles at successive intersections along the corridor based on a certain travel speed, typically below or at the speed limit of the roadway.  With the estimated arrival time of the vehicles from one intersection to the next, the signals can be programmed to give a green light to the arriving platoon of vehicles at each intersection along the corridor.  The amount of green time allocated to the main street and side street of an intersection generally would depend on the traffic volumes.  Longer green time is usually assigned to the main street because of the higher volume observed and to accommodate the anticipated amount of vehicles in the platoon.  Since traffic patterns change throughout the day, different sets of traffic signal timing plans are prepared and implemented to meet the needs of the varying traffic demand during the morning, midday, and evening peak hours. 

Do’s and Don’ts
Here are a few tips on getting the benefit while driving on a signal-coordinated roadway:

  • Drive just under the speed limit
  • Aim to stay in the platoon
  • Pay attention and don’t leave excessive gaps

Annual Signal Synchronization Program
Each year the signal synchronization project focuses on two priority corridors.  As part of the project, new peak hour traffic counts at each study intersection as well as daily traffic counts along the corridor are collected in order to understand the traffic conditions of the corridors.  Peak hour traffic conditions are observed in the field to identify existing queuing and traffic congestion at the study intersections.  These pieces of information would be utilized in calibrating the traffic signal timing to address specific needs along the study roadways.  At the end of the project, a comparison between the “before” and “after” conditions in terms of travel time, average speed, and delay are reported for each study corridor to measure the effectiveness of the signal synchronization project.   

In addition to evaluating the signal coordination along a corridor, the project also includes updating the signal timing to be in compliance with the latest State requirements and guidelines as well as to accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians if crosswalks or bike facilities exist at the intersection.  These parameters include yellow transition time, pedestrian crossing time, and crossing time for bicyclists. 

Recent Signal Synchronization Program Accomplishments
In the past few years, traffic signal synchronization has been implemented on several corridors within the City.  A list of the past projects and their statistics on “before” and “after” results are provided below. 

  • FY 17/18: Bear Valley Parkway – Between Sunset Drive/Via Rancho Parkway and Sunset Drive/Ranchito Drive
    Statistics: Travel time reduced by 16% to 32%; delays reduced by 27% to 62%; and averaged speed improved by 16% to 46%; approximately 100 vehicle-hours per day of travel time saving
    A video showing a comparison of “before” and “after” conditions is available here: Link Here
  • FY 17/18: Valley Parkway – Between Auto Park Way and Citracado Parkway
    Statistics: Travel time reduced by 14% to 34%; delays reduced by 24% to 55%; and averaged speed improved 12% to 54%; approximately 70 vehicle-hours per day of travel time saving
    A video showing a comparison of “before” and “after” conditions is available here: Link Here
  • FY 16/17: Valley Parkway – Between Juniper Street and Centre City Parkway
    Statistics: Travel time reduced by 12% to 28% 
  • FY 15/16: Bear Valley Parkway – Between East Valley Parkway and Boyle Avenue
    Statistics: Travel time reduced by 10% to 30%
  • FY 14/15: Centre City Parkway – Between El Norte Parkway and Citracado Parkway
    Statistics: Travel time reduced by 12% to 19%
  • FY 12/13: Mission Avenue – Between Centre City Parkway and Metcalf Street
    Statistics: Travel time reduced by 3% to 16%

Current Projects:

  • FY 18/19: El Norte Parkway – Between East Valley Parkway and Iris Lane
    Implementation of new signal timing anticipated in Fall 2019 with project completion by the end of 2019
  • FY 18/19: North Broadway – Between Mission Avenue and 2nd Avenue
    Implementation of new signal timing anticipated in Fall 2019 with project completion by the end of 2019

Future Projects:

  • FY 19/20: Escondido Boulevard – Between 5th Avenue and Sunset Avenue

Traffic Signal Synchronization Project Map