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The Latest with Mercer Signal Timing

Mercer St. and Dexter Ave.

This week, the public has been asking us if the new Adaptive System we adopted on Mercer Avenue last Spring has helped ease traffic backups. The new smart technology system collects traffic data in real time, coordinating traffic signals along the corridor to move cars onto I-5 as quickly as possible so we can reduce travel time and increase reliability.


Mercer Adaptive System install since last March:

We’ve successfully decreased the time drivers sit in traffic along the corridor. For example, before installing our new system, wait times during the height of work-week rush hour backups (between 6 and 7 PM) was approximately 34 minutes. Yes, you read that correctly, during the busiest weekday peak, travelers sat in traffic for 34 minutes.

Today, during that exact same time frame, the wait is down to 17 minutes.

Is this perfect? Not by a longshot, but cutting the wait in half is a notable improvement.

More Mercer traffic improvement data:

It’s not just the worst times that have dropped under our new adaptive traffic tech. Across the board, the statistics show improvement. Below is a snapshot of the average time drivers spent in traffic pre- and post-Mercer adaptive technology:


Before the Mercer Adaptive Signal:

  • 5 PM weekday – 14 mins.
  • 6 PM weekday – 16 mins.
  • 7 PM weekday – 18 mins.


After the Mercer Adaptive Signal:

  • 5 PM weekday – 04 mins.
  • 6 PM weekday – 06 mins.
  • 7 PM weekday – 07 mins.


Totally recognizing that drivers would prefer to spend zero time in traffic, and would rather be at home than stuck in their cars listening to Throwback Thursday jams or news hour updates on Trump’s tweets, we remain committed to improving traffic times and reducing congestion even more. The reality is the corridor sees a high-volume of cars daily, during peak times, and we are constantly monitoring the situation.


What about pedestrian signals and walk times?

Pedestrians are also a factor in the Mercer equation. And they too have pressed us with questions. Pedestrians say the walk cycles for crossing Mercer are too short. Now, as for walk cycles, it’s important to note that East Mercer has high vehicle volumes, and in fact it’s much higher than the West side of the corridor. We heard pedestrians’ concerns about short walk times loud and clear, and recently adjusted pedestrian walk times making the following, significant adjustments.

Pedestrians should know though, that extended walk times mean fewer walk cycles. We are still working to find the best balance for pedestrians as we sync walk cycles with the car signaling to keep reducing traffic wait times.


For more information, please visit the Mercer Corridor Project webpage.