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Adaptive traffic signals system around UCSD expected by summer

aerial drone view of part of UCSD campus where adaptive traffic signals will be installed

A system of adaptive traffic signals intended to aid traffic flow around UC San Diego in La Jolla should be in by summer 2024, university representatives say.

The system was originally set to be in place by summer 2022, but added improvements to the 26 intersections included in the plan extended the timeline.

The plan, discussed by the UCSD planning team at the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board meeting Oct 17, is a $4 million investment by UCSD to address the traffic congestion amid the university’s record growth within the Torrey Pines corridor, according to Anu Delouri, director of campus community relations, as recorded in the T&T minutes.

UCSD has a record 42,376 students currently enrolled, with 50,000 students expected in the next decade, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

The adaptive traffic signals, or “smart signals,” would improve upon current systems by using SynchroGreen technology to detecting where cars are on the road and how many there are and send that information to a city of San Diego-run server to adapt an operating plan for the corridor, Greg Heldreth of CUBIC Corporation said Oct 17.

Though the system is planned in collaboration with city engineers, the meeting minutes state no city representatives were at the meeting.

The system would also detect the speed of the cars going through the intersection during times of congestion and adjusts the lights to allow for green as cars are approaching.

The smart signals would be implemented along three corridors and 26 intersections, with the first phase including intersections along Regents Road on UCSD’s east boundary and along North Torrey Pines Road on the campus’s west boundary.

The second phase of installation will be along La Jolla Village Drive from Torrey Pines Road east to Interstate 805.

Safety for all

The new system would also track bicyclists and pedestrians, emphasizing their safety.

Hung Luong, a traffic engineer with project participant Linscott, Law and Greenspan Traffic Engineers, explained that in reviewing the corridors, several intersections were identified for pedestrian and bicyclist improvements.

Upgrades will include higher-visibility crosswalks, Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant ramps and crosswalk signals, green bicycle lane extension striping and more. 

Project timeline 

The smart signals project stemmed from UCSD’s 2018 Long Range Development Plan, Delouri said, with the university electing to directly fund and implement improvements in the roadways most heavily impacted by campus commuters.

UCSD analyzed traffic patterns and Average Daily Trips (ADT) expected based on population growth, according to UCSD Director of Campus Planning Robert Clossin.

Adaptive signal systems are currently in use in Carlsbad, Mission Bay and Chula Vista.

The signals around UCSD will also integrate public transport, including city buses and campus shuttles, Clossin added.

Next steps will include the city approving the submitted, revised signal and striping plans; UCSD will then submit traffic control plans to the city.

Upon traffic control plan approval, UCSD will install the system, activate and test it, aiming for a spring or summer launch.

Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto has been reporting on and writing about La Jolla since 2019. With dozens of local and state journalism awards to her name, Elisabeth knows the industry as well as she knows her community. When she’s not covering all things 92037, you’ll find her with coffee in hand staring at the sea.
Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto has been reporting on and writing about La Jolla since 2019. With dozens of local and state journalism awards to her name, Elisabeth knows the industry as well as she knows her community. When she’s not covering all things 92037, you’ll find her with coffee in hand staring at the sea.

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