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updated: 7/29/2014 8:34 AM

Lake County trying new technology for traffic light system

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  • Video: How smart traffic lights work

  • The Lake County Division of Transportation wants to install smarter traffic signals on Gilmer Road from Fremont Center Road to Midlothian Road.

       The Lake County Division of Transportation wants to install smarter traffic signals on Gilmer Road from Fremont Center Road to Midlothian Road.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 

A new way to move traffic that reacts to actual conditions rather than estimates is getting a trial in Lake County.

Transportation officials say the Adaptive Traffic Signal Control system being installed on one stretch of road and targeted for a second will allow for real-time collection of traffic data and signal timing.

Traffic signals in Lake County for decades have been linked and coordinated based on typical daily patterns, according to Paula Trigg, county engineer. Those systems have evolved to allow for more traffic patterns and more frequent adjustments, but adaptive traffic signals go a step further.

The new system is intuitive and adapts to traffic as it is happening, Trigg said.

"If it were a holiday or if it were a snowstorm and people went home early, it reacts to actual traffic," she said.

Work is in progress to install the system along Aptakisic Road from Brandywyn Lane to Parkway Drive in Buffalo Grove. Gilmer Road from Fremont Center Road to Midlothian Road near Hawthorn Woods and Mundelein is the next targeted area.

The Lake County Division of Transporation has $1.6 million in its current budget for traffic signal modernization to include a test of the "smart" traffic signals in the two corridors, described as being among the first to be installed in the region.

Federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality funds will cover 80 percent of the cost. The Lake County Board in February 2013 approved an agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation to administer the funds.

The contract to install the adaptive signals on Aptakisic Road was approved in February, and the work is in progress.

On Wednesday, the county board's public works and transportation committee will consider a contract with Home Towne Electric Inc. of Lake Villa for $944,618 to install traffic signal control and modernization along Gilmer and Route 176 at Hawley Street.

Trigg said the new signals are intended to improve travel.

"Adaptive adapts to traffic as it's happening," she said. "It helps synchronize corridors."

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