Improvements to Existing Traffic Signal Infrastructure
While there are no quick-fix solutions to traffic congestion, the Gwinnett Place CID is working to introduce new traffic relief measures in Gwinnett’s central business district.
- Equipment upgrades, re-timing of traffic signals along Pleasant Hill Road, and improved pedestrian facilities at various intersections have been implemented and more are planned for the future.
- Over the last several years, the CID’s ongoing traffic signal re-timing efforts have provided Pleasant Hill Road drivers a 45 percent decrease in their number of stops and a 31 percent decrease in overall delays. Similarly, Steve Reynolds Boulevard drivers now see 10 percent fewer stops and a four percent drop in total delays. By optimizing the traffic signal timings at 49 intersections throughout greater Gwinnett Place (Pleasant Hill Road, Steve Reynolds Boulevard, Club Drive, Satellite Boulevard, etc.), drivers experience a greatly improved commute along these roadways - and saving much more on fuel costs - as a result of the CID's traffic signal timing and optimization program. The CID continues on-going traffic timing enhancements each month to ensure the traffic flow benefits remain viable for the future. In October 2013, Wolverton & Associates completed a CID-wide re-timing project that again included 49 signals along Pleasant Hill Road, Steve Reynolds Boulevard, Club Drive, Satellite Boulevard, Old Norcross Road, etc. This project reduced the number of stops in the area by 18% and reduced total delay by 23% for a total estimated cost savings to drivers of almost $3.9 million per year in time and fuel. 2013 Timing Effectiveness Study for Gwinnett Place CID, Signal Re-timing Project.
- As part of the I-85/Pleasant Hill Road Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) project, in June 2013, Wolverton & Associates coordinated the traffic signal timing plans for four signals near the DDI so that the signals functioned appropriately with the new traffic flow coming from the DDI. The "before" and "after" results (which included travel runs from Club Drive to Satellite Boulevard along Pleasant Hill Road) showed a 51% decrease in the average number of stops and a 43% decrease in total delay along that portion of Pleasant Hill Road. 2013 Pleasant Hill Road Travel Time and Delay Effectiveness Study Results report.
- The first task is System Control. The intersections in the system communicate through Ethernet switches over fiber optic cable back to the Gwinnett County Traffic Control Center (TCC). Wolverton will be utilizing the existing communications to connect the signals to the central server at the TCC. This will allow the intersections to be monitored from the TCC or remotely multiple times per second. This connection allows for the time clock at each intersection to be automatically checked and synchronized, if needed. Many of the timing issues that arise in signal systems come from the local clock at each intersection not being synchronized and not from timing problems. System Control also allows for manual specialized timings to be implemented with one click. Normally, changes would have to be made at each individual intersection to make a change to the system – meaning for the CID’s system, the changes would have to be made 49 times. During the 2014 snow storms, the system was changed from the normal timings that run during the peak time periods to timings that allowed the green to come up much faster on any approach. This change prevented cars from getting stuck or spinning tires because they had to stop at the intersections. The changes had to be made 49 times to put the timings into the system and again 49 times to put normal timings back in.
- Traffic engineers take the data observed through the detectors in Task 2 and use that data to create signal timings. These plans layout the cycle of the traffic signals at the intersection to get the most amount of traffic through an intersection in any given cycle. The engineers set thresholds for volume and direction and then program the signals to run specific timings at specific times of day or at specific volumes of traffic. These plans will be incorporated in Task 3.
- The third task is Traffic Responsive Operation. Traffic Responsive Operation is an underutilized method of signal control throughout the state. The Georgia Department of Transportation has a current project called the Regional Traffic Operations Program (RTOP) which has utilized this method of signal timing on over 300 signals along 11 corridors in the metro Atlanta region. Several other projects have implemented this method to a smaller scale as well. Traffic Responsive Operation takes the signal timings created by the traffic engineers and calls up the appropriate timings for the system based on the thresholds designed in the timings. This method of signal control doesn’t necessarily improve the peak traffic in the system, as the plans that are already running are highly optimized. However, this method does improve the off-peak and fringe-peak timings greatly because it can adapt to sudden changes in volumes very quickly.
There are several examples of where this operation is beneficial to the public. The best example is Thanksgiving weekend. With normal signal operation, the normal Thursday timing plans would run on Thanksgiving Day and the normal Friday timing plans would run on Black Friday. With Traffic Responsive Operation, the system would recognize that Thursday traffic is very light and use a timing plan to accommodate the actual traffic conditions, reducing side street delay. On Friday, the system would recognize that traffic is much higher during the entire day and use a timing plan that is appropriate to handle the increased traffic.
This project has been a great benefit to the traveling public throughout the Gwinnett Place CID area. The ongoing investment that the CID Board is making into the traffic signals in the area has made the Gwinnett Place CID signal system one of the most efficient signal systems around, with very quick response to citizen complaints, short down time of traffic signal detection and displays and active signal timing adjustments based on traffic conditions.
Gwinnett Place Transportation Studies
The Gwinnett Place CID Board of Directors has identified traffic congestion and efficient traffic flow and management as priority issues. In order to clearly identify the best projects to mitigate traffic congestion and enhance the efficient flow of traffic in the district area, the Gwinnett Place CID, along with funding from the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners, have completed various comprehensive transportation studies to determine viable traffic relief strategies that could be implemented.
In 2013, the CID prepared a traffic study for the Pleasant Hill Road, Steve Reynolds Boulevard, and Satellite Boulevard corridors in the Gwinnett Place area. Through the study process, staff performed traffic analysis and observation of these corridors during peak travel times and also worked with a stakeholder working group consisting of community and business leaders to discuss challenges and solutions along the corridors. The recommendations address, short, mid, and long-range needs and build upon the work performed for the Gwinnett Place Livable Centers Initiative project. In addition to addressing traffic congestion, the 2013 traffic study recommends useful improvements to enhance walkability, cycling opportunities, and access to transit. The traffic study resulted in several short-term implementable projects that provided information for the Gwinnett County Department of Transportation and CID to use in developing a short-term work program. The traffic study was updated in September 2016.
Click the links below to view the various transportation study reports and projects:
- 2016 Gwinnett Place CID Traffic Study Update final report
- September 14, 2016 Update to the GPCID Board of Directors
- July 13, 2016 Update to the GPCID Board of Directors
- May 11, 2016 Update to the GPCID Board of Directors
- April 13, 2016 Update to the GPCID Board of Directors
- February 10, 2016 Update to the GPCID Board of Directors
- August 2013 Pleasant Hill Road, Steve Reynolds Boulevard, Satellite Boulevard Traffic Studies Executive Summary
- August 2013 Pleasant Hill Road, Steve Reynolds Boulevard, Satellite Boulevard Traffic Study Report
- Intersection Improvement Studies June 12, 2013 Presentation to the CID Board of Directors
- 2013 Gwinnett Place CID Intersection Improvement Traffic Studies: Preliminary Recommendations-Road and Intersection Improvements
- 2013 Gwinnett Place CID Intersection Improvement Traffic Studies: Preliminary Recommendations-Ped/Bike Connections
- 2013 Gwinnett Place CID Intersection Improvement Traffic Studies: Preliminary Recommendations-Ped Crossing Improvements
- 2013 Gwinnett Place CID Intersection Improvement Traffic Studies: Preliminary Recommendations-Complete Bike/Ped Network
- Initial Gwinnett Place CID Transportation Study
- Gwinnett Place CID Transportation Study Recommended Projects Guidebook
- Gwinnett Place CID Transportation Study Appendix
- Programmed RTP Projects (map)
- Recommended Pedestrian Connections (map)
- Recommended Roadway Projects (map)
- Recommended Signage (map)
Studying Potential Future Improvements Along the I-85 Corridor
The I-85 corridor remains one of the most congested corridors in the Atlanta region. New mobility options are needed to improve connectivity between major activity centers in Gwinnett and provide a high capacity transportation alternative to automobile travel. In order to help improve the quality of life and the economic livelihood of Gwinnett County and other metro Atlanta residents, communities, businesses, and the environment, a series of transit studies have been conducted to address these needs. The first I-85 Corridor Light Rail Transit Feasibility Study was initiated in September 2008 to evaluate the technical and financial viability of a light rail transit (LRT) line in Gwinnett County. Over the years, the CID has studied the potential benefit of serving the I-85 corridor with transit:
- I-85 Corridor Alternatives Analysis Study Final Report
- I-85 Corridor Light Rail Transit Feasibility Study, Phase 2 presentation
- I-85 Corridor Light Rail Transit (LRT) Feasibility Study, Phase 2: Executive Summary
- I-85 Corridor Light Rail Transit (LRT) Feasibility Study, Overview of LRT Technologies presentation
- I-85 Corridor Light Rail Transit (LRT) Feasibility Study, Phase 1: Final Report
- I-85 Corridor Light Rail Transit Feasibility Study, Phase 1 presentation
- Gwinnett Heavy Rail Transit Study