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SHA Receives “B” for Traffic Signal Coordination and New Technologies;Maryland Recognized as National Leader in Reduction of Traffic Signal Delay Times          
(October 9, 2007) – In response to the release of the National Traffic Signal Report Card on the state of Traffic Signals across the country, the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) today highlighted its proactive efforts and responded to the report card. The National Report Card was developed by a group of transportation engineers, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and ITE (Institute of Transportation Engineers).          
SHA maintains state numbered, non-tolled highway throughout the State, including more than 2,500 traffic signals, 220 signal systems and approximately 17,000 lane miles of State maintained roads. SHA also spends more than $4 million annually refining timing on traffic signals, installing new traffic signal interconnect systems, upgrading equipment and testing new technologies. Additionally, SHA installs between 25-50 new traffic signals each year and spends approximately $15 million on signal related upgrades and modifications, as well as spends an additional $4 million annually maintaining the vast network of traffic signals across the State.           
“Safety is SHA’s number-one priority and traffic signals are a critical component of highway safety,” said SHA Administrator Neil J. Pedersen. “Our collective ‘B’ score is reflective of our comprehensive program, which includes signal timing and the installation of pedestrian safety improvements, such as countdown signals and audible pedestrians signals (APS).”          
Every year, SHA performs comprehensive testing and proactive maintenance to ensure traffic signals are working effectively to improve safety and handle increasing traffic flows. SHA engineers participate on two regional traffic signal committees that discuss signal operations issues, which have resulted in several traffic signal projects that have crossed over previously uncrossed jurisdictional boundaries.           
SHA signal technicians update traffic signal system timing statewide once every three years, greater than the three to five year average suggested in the report card. In addition, SHA has been working with local jurisdictions to interconnect traffic signal systems to allow precise synchronization of nearby traffic signals. Countdown signals alert pedestrians to the amount of time they have to cross at an intersection. Audible pedestrian signals, which provides audible cues to safely cross at an intersection, are an asset to visually impaired pedestrians.          
The areas in which SHA scored high, Signal Operations in Coordinated Systems, Detection Systems and Management are those which touch motorists every day by reducing delays and coordinating traffic signal timing. SHA uses special signal timing plans for weekends, holidays, construction activities and special events in order to facilitate better traffic flow. SHA’s traffic signals are also responsive to unpredictable traffic demand, through instantaneous re-timing based on conditions.          
In addition to continuously operating and maintaining more than 2,500 traffic signals, SHA signal technicians update timing plans during major incidents that divert traffic between State maintained roads.           
“SHA is a national leader at using new technologies to make our traffic signals more responsive, which ultimately saves time for motorists,” added Administrator Pedersen. “We have saved millions of hours in delay through the use of responsive traffic signal systems and we are committed to working with our local and regional partners to bring the benefits to our customers.”          
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