Traffic Lights with short cycle

Adelaide / South Australia Transport Discussion
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Traffic Lights with short cycle

Post by Admet75 »

Most bus drivers complain about the short cycle of traffic lights. Indeed, when I was working for one of the Adelaide Metro operators as a bus driver the numerous times drivers reported to their coordinator about short cycle of lights- especially in the peak hour was very high.
Now let’s look at the traffic light cycle. A traffic light cycle is defined as how long it takes to go from red to green then red and green again- a full cycle takes according to the Traffic Control Centre based at Norwood (and I personally have had a tour of the nerve centre of traffic lights) takes between 2 and 2 ½ minutes. On weekends and public holidays, it takes normally three minutes. Admittedly Saturdays and Sundays if you drive around Adelaide, you would think you are travelling in one of the weekday peak hours in some places- for example North East Road south of West of Sudholz Road (I nickname it the Bunnings Traffic).

So, lets look at this a little more carefully. There are primary roads or what traffic control says priority roads- this means that any road that intersects these roads are normally give less cycle as the primary/priority roads have substantially higher traffic volumes than the side road. A good example look at Main North Road and Smith Road and Main North Road and Clayson Road and Main North Road and Park Terrace intersections. Main North Road as you know would have a much higher traffic volume. However, after I reported a few weeks ago that Clayson Road and Smith Road seem to have wait for it a 5 second cycle from green to red they increased it a little, it is around 10 to 15 seconds now. They pointed out to me this can only be done between 8am to 8:30am and 3:00pm and 3:30pm when school starts and finishes for the day.

This is where it becomes more interesting is traffic control does admit there is nothing, they can do for various intersections such as turning right from North East Road onto Mullers Road because the green arrow is very short cycle.

Also, they admit they didn’t expect that much traffic on the road when the Pink Concert was in Adelaide that it took from Botanic Road/North Terrace Intersection to travel to Adelaide Oval on the AOX services are whole 45 minutes because of the huge number of cars on the road and yes, the bus driver which was an O-Bahn service refused to use the O-Bahn tunnel instead. Also, the Fringe and Festival was on at the same time.
Some traffic lights in Adelaide have ‘B’ Lights and they work very well providing the bus driver manages to get there before the intersecting roads traffic lights start to change from green to red, however some are in such a way the bus gets priority only to get held up at the traffic light showing red at the intersection at the next intersection that is a short distance away.

Also, a Green Priority Light is given to all Emergency Services and this you can see quite regularly on major main roads like Main North Road.
However, one of the other bugbears bus drivers have been the poor consistency of traffic lights in the Adelaide CBD. These are controlled by the Adelaide City Council (we all know their nickname but we cannot say it on here) even though the Traffic Light boxes have the 1800 SA Government number on it to report faults. One time I reported the poor synchronisation on North Terrace on a Saturday which meant west from Pulteney Street to King William Street every time we got a green light traffic was banked up across that green light because there was a red light at the next traffic light in other words stop start. It took half an hour to travel that distance. Traffic Control gave me an after-hours number for the council and they said they would look into it- which is a code word we won’t’ do anything about.

A few years ago, the State Government and ACC got funding to make Hutt Street synchronised which works well at peak hours and mediocre at other times.

So how do we get the ACC to make the traffic lights synchronised especially along major roads in the city- well simply either write to the Lord Mayor, Transport Minister Tom, and The Premier of South Australia maybe that might work- but I think the ACC are so arrogant and head in the sand attitude they wouldn’t care.

Another interesting aspect about driving buses especially with traffic lights is watching how other car drivers behave around them. When the traffic lights are either out because of a blackout or flashing yellow its amazing how suddenly Adelaide car drivers know the road rules. However, at other times you see cars behind you (yes, they tailgate buses) then overtake you at fast speed only to catch up with you at the next intersection that they have to wait at the red light I always laugh at them and they don’t know what I am laughing at.
Other times its fascinating to see the Red-Light Speed Cameras flash go off for cars either in front of you or when you have gone over the yellow light (because you are driving a bus you cannot sometimes stop in time) and you see a car has followed you crossing over the red light.

Now its over to you what is the shortest cycle intersection as a bus driver you come across have you done anything about it. If you have done something about it, did it improve?
When my wife and I are in the car that she drives if there is a short cycle and the traffic is banked up for at least 500 metres I ring Traffic Control 1800 number and report it this way:

“My wife is driving along west along North East Road Intersection and we are trying to turn right on the OG Road intersection and the green arrow has a very short cycle of around five seconds”. If you give compass directions in what direction you are coming from it makes it easier for them to understand you. The good news is 90% of the time they extend the green light cycle and usually it stays there permanently
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Re: Traffic Lights with short cycle

Post by Merc1107 »

"Bus priority" in this country usually seems to mean some silly B-light slotted in before or after the main phase of traffic in that general direction, as opposed to the presence of a bus resulting in additional B-light phases, or even shortened phases for the other cycles.
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Re: Traffic Lights with short cycle

Post by The Phonj »

One short cycle that I can think of is turning right from Muller Rd into North East Rd; very short cycle, and only about every 4 minutes.
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Re: Traffic Lights with short cycle

Post by Admet75 »

The Phonj wrote: Wed Apr 17, 2024 9:08 pm One short cycle that I can think of is turning right from Muller Rd into North East Rd; very short cycle, and only about every 4 minutes.
That is one they won't do anything about it, I wonder at Traffic Control Centre whether they know about and choose to ignore it.
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Re: Traffic Lights with short cycle

Post by TT »

George St Thebarton into Port Road (route 110 on the up) is a real bugbear. I can understand that Port Rd and James Congdon Drive are much higher priority with traffic numbers but if you’re 5th vehicle back on George St it’s like to be 2 full cycles before getting across and they’re long cycles there. When a pedestrian has pushed button to cross Janes Congdon Drive it’s great as it creates a long George St cycle.
Always bus drivers calling up wanting it “fixed”.

And on B lights the inbound one at Port Rd/Park Tce at Bowden is good most of the time, except when it coincides with the very short tram cycle that kicks in mid-cycle occasionally. Traffic on Port Rd (inbound and outbound) gets short green burst but the B light doesn’t come on, leaving the bus sitting there for the remainder of the cycle or trying to merge into general traffic on a very short cycle.
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Re: Traffic Lights with short cycle

Post by Bodø Glimt »

They shouldn't be trying to merge in there. You go on a B light or wait (although I have wondered why when the tram gets that short burst T light it isn't a B light instead of the green).
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