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City News & Updates

Posted on: January 10, 2020

School Traffic Signal Timing

Over the past few months, the City, in conjunction with ODOT, the University of Cincinnati, DriveOhio and CMT (the City's local traffic engineering firm) has been analyzing the school traffic situation and determining best practices for alleviating the congestion on State Route 741 during school start and end times. All data has been collected and all field observations are complete and the City is now in a position to report to the citizens its findings and recommendations.


Background:

In late 2018, the City formed an agreement with DriveOhio, the State of Ohio's new division for "smart traffic solutions", to study the school traffic times and patterns on the State Route 741 corridor from State Route 73 south to the Springboro High School entrance. In April 2019, DriveOhio contracted with the University of Cincinnati to conduct a six (6)-drone simultaneous flight data analysis (the first of its kind in the entire country) to gather data on morning and afternoon school traffic patterns. The drones flew at various locations on SR 741 to gather data, observe traffic patterns, etc., to be utilized in different software traffic modeling to determine optimum traffic signal timings at the various traffic signals on SR 741 from SR 73 to the high school (Mill Street, Junior High traffic signal and High School traffic signal).

The next steps in the process were to do field observations at each traffic signal to determine if the traffic modeling worked in "real time" and effectively moved school traffic through SR 741 faster and more efficiently than before. These field observations were conducted in November and December by City staff and CMT. Field observations included areas from the traffic signal at SR 73 / 741, downtown Historic Springboro, Mill Street, the Junior High Entrance, Edinburgh drive (common cut through for school traffic) and the High School. The field observations were then tested in another traffic modeling program to determine consistency and conflicts with the original data collected from the drone flights a few months prior.


Recommendations:

The following are recommendations for more efficient traffic patterns on the entire SR 741 corridor from SR 73 / 741 south to the High School during the heaviest morning school drive times (approximately 6:50am to 7:15am) and afternoon school exit times (approximately 2:25pm to 2:50pm).


** Please keep in mind however, that due to heavy traffic (about 1,500-1,600 cars) in this area two times per day in a 25-minute span of time in the morning and afternoon when school is in session, that these recommendations and changes will not completely remove traffic congestion. These recommendations and changes will hopefully, reduce wait times to the shortest time possible and allow traffic to flow more efficiently and safely, thus saving motorists a few minutes.


Traffic Signals (morning):

* Signal timing on the southbound traffic at the signal at SR 73 / 741 (from N. Main Street to downtown) be increased to 60 seconds from 45 seconds.

* The southbound traffic at Mill Street timing be increased to 90 seconds from 50 seconds.

* The southbound traffic at the Junior High Signal be increased to 110 seconds from 60 seconds.

* High School traffic signal - no changes due to continuous right turn into the high school.


Traffic Signals (afternoon):

* High School traffic signal - no changes

* The northbound traffic at the Junior High timing be increased to 100 seconds from 60 seconds.

* The northbound traffic at Mill Street timing be increased to 90 seconds from 60 seconds.

* The northbound traffic at SR 73 / 741 timing be increased to 90 seconds from 60 seconds.


These recommended changes will have three (3) direct effects - 1) allow more traffic flow (with less backups) on SR 741 in both directions and move traffic through this area much faster; 2) It will cause any east / west traffic at Mill Street and SR 73 / 741 to wait longer for more traffic going north / south. However, field observations show that there is not heavy east / west traffic during morning and afternoon school traffic times to cause an issue in either direction during normal traffic days; 3) It will cause a longer wait at the Junior High signal for those that are attempting to exit the Junior High.


Other School Traffic Issues, such as eliminating the Edinburgh (Heatherwoode) "cut-thru", rerouting of busing, addition of turn arrows at certain intersections and suggestions for safer (and faster) alternate routes, will be reported to the community in the summer and before the new school year begins, as those details are still being worked out with various stakeholders.


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