Why do I have to wait so long to get a green light or a “Walk” signal?
Traffic signals that run with coordinated operations are part of a corridor of connected traffic signals that run a timing plan which ensures traffic along the route can flow properly. When the traffic signals are timed efficiently, vehicles traveling along the corridor experience a “green band,” which means that they will receive consecutive green lights along the corridor and not be stopped at every side street. In order for the signals to be coordinated, there are specific points in the timing cycle where the side street can turn green.
Drivers waiting at a side street may experience seemingly long waits because the side street’s operations are constrained by the timing plan of the corridor. Reducing the length of the red light time for drivers (or “Don’t Walk” for pedestrians) waiting on the side street would impact the coordinated nature of the major street corridor, leading to an overall increase in delay.
Traffic signals are programmed with various other timing parameters that serve to minimize overall delay at an intersection. However, if the wait time is more than 120 seconds, there may be a problem with the traffic signal.