Projects to reduce traffic congestion on city streets generated the most discussion at this week’s City Council goals update, held Tuesday at City Hall. City staff provided updates on all six City Council goals, which were identified in January as part of the city’s annual planning process. See the full report.
The City Council’s goals focus on achieving the Carlsbad Community Vision, a set of nine core values developed through a two-year public involvement process involving thousands of community members.
City Council members told Williams that traffic is one of the biggest concerns they hear from residents.
Williams laid out a multi-pronged approach that combines some short term practical solutions with innovative long term initiatives that take advantage of emerging technologies and business models, such as Uber. Some of the efforts underway include:
Reducing Red Light Wait Times The city has just completed installation of a fiber optic network conduit between the its traffic management center at the Faraday Administration Center and signals along El Camino Real. The city is on track to put in the fiber optic line by the end of the year. This high speed connection will improve traffic signal system management and coordination, which translates to minimizing wait times at red lights.
Talking Traffic Signals Williams said the city also is in the final stages of a pilot test of its adaptive traffic signal technology on Aviara Parkway. This technology allows traffic signals to “talk” to each other, making them more responsive to real time conditions. The city plans to roll out the adaptive signal technology throughout this year on El Camino Real, Cannon Road and Rancho Santa Fe Road, and then eventually citywide.
Real Time Traffic Map Traffic measurement and monitoring equipment utilizing Bluetooth technology has been installed at 16 intersections in Carlsbad. This has enabled staff to automatically monitor traffic speeds and congestion and to generate origin-destination analysis along 20 defined corridors. This system increases responsiveness to traffic signal system problems. This same technology has enabled the city to create a real time traffic map that will be rolled out on the city’s website in the coming weeks.
As part of the traffic signal system enhancements program, city staff are working with Google/WAZE to provide better real-time information to area travelers. Williams also said the city is working with neighboring cities and CalTrans to coordinate efforts.
Multi-Modal Programs As part of the city’s Climate Action Plan, the city is developing a number of programs to reduce the overall number of “vehicle miles traveled” in the city. According to Williams, this is a longer term goal that includes studying connections to transit options, including a possible trolley system. The city will also work with local employers to encourage carpooling programs, alternative work schedules, onsite services and other ways to reduce the number of cars traveling at peak times.
“The combination of improving technology and changing preferences for how people want to get around will provide Carlsbad with lots of opportunities to make traffic flow more smoothly through our city,” said Williams. “We are fortunate to be in a position to take advantage of these changes and lead the way with innovative solutions.”
To watch the City Council meeting discussion of all six goals, visit the city’s website.
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