Operation Green Light is a cooperative effort to improve the coordination of traffic signals and incident response on major routes throughout the Kansas City area on both sides of the state line.
Operation Green Light helps synchronize traffic signals on major routes throughout the region, especially those that cross city limits. This helps reduce unnecessary delay, improve traffic flow and reduce emissions that contribute to ozone pollution
The Importance of OGL
Operation Green Light is important for these key reasons:
- It improves the flow of traffic on the most-used arterial roads in the region.
- It helps improve regional air quality.
- It provides a tool for state and local governments to better manage changes in traffic patterns with the Kansas City Scout freeway management system.
The state and local governments that own traffic signals in the area cooperate in using the timing plans for the intersections on major routes are coordinated for more efficient flow of traffic. Although existing equipment is used wherever possible, some new communications equipment and software — and some new signal controllers — must be installed the traffic signals can communicate with each other and with a central operations center. The equipment and software helps keep the traffic signals in sync with the new timing plans.
Traffic flow impact
Depending on factors like the length of the trip and the number of traffic lights on the trip, coordinated signals can save seconds or even minutes for someone driving on one of these routes. Since thousands of vehicles travel along each road on a weekday, this adds up to noticeably improved traffic flow, especially during rush-hour periods in the morning and afternoon. Operation Green Light has reduced delays on coordinated routes by an average of 17 percent.
Well-coordinated signals can also work with the Kansas City Scout freeway management system to help respond to traffic incidents. Operation Green Light’s wireless communications system allows analysts in an office to make changes to a signal without having to visit the intersection; this ability reduces costs and increases the likelihood that signal problems are solved quickly.
Air quality impact
By decreasing the amount of time motorists have to idle at intersections, Operation Green Light helps reduce emissions that contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, the Kansas City area’s main air pollutant.
Project involvement and partners
The Mid-America Regional Council, 22 area cities, the Kansas and Missouri Departments of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration are working together to deliver Operation Green Light.
The first phase of Operation Green Light cost $13.1 million, and the initial annual operating cost is $1.2 million. The project is paid for with federal, state and local funds.
Drivers will still have to stop at red lights, and Operation Green Light won’t solve all of the region’s traffic flow problems either. However, it should help reduce overall signal delay in the region.
OGL impact on traffic signal operations and regional driving trends, congestion and pollution
State and local governments have made significant public investments in our street and highway networks, so they should be responsible for operating them safely and efficiently for the public's use. Keeping a car well-tuned and maintained with proper tire pressure is a way to extend its useful life and reduce its environmental footprint. Likewise, retiming traffic signals for changing travel patterns is a cost-effective way to ensure the public continues to benefit from past investments in our regional streets and highways.
Operation Green Light provides local agencies an effective tool to manage traffic signal operations into the future and respond to changes in the way the public chooses to use these roadways, whether that means changes in vehicle traffic patterns or more use by pedestrians, bicyclists and transit riders.