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Final L.A. Traffic Signals Synchronized

Traffic lights for Westside neighborhoods are finally upgraded to help improve drive time in Los Angeles.

The last of Los Angeles' nearly 4,400 traffic signals were synchronized Tuesday, finally completing a project designed to lessen the amount of time that drivers spend in gridlock.

City officials convened at the intersection of South Broadway and Martin Luther King Boulevard to turn on the final traffic signal in the system.

The Automated Traffic Surveillance & Control system (ATSAC), a $410 million effort to coordinate traffic signals across the city under a centralized system, could reduce the average amount of time drivers spend in traffic by one day per year, according to city transportation officials.

According to Los Angeles Department of Transportation engineers, ATSAC utilizes a network of sensors embedded in city streets that measure the number of vehicles, vehicle speed and the level of congestion centered around 4,000 of Los Angeles' more than 4,300 intersections with traffic signals. Computer systems as well as human operators work to detect traffic flow and ultimately control signal timing. Police and emergency vehicles will also be able to take advantage of the new system.

Synchronization is designed to increase travel speed by 12 percent, while decreasing the time spent stuck in traffic by 16 percent, according to Jaime de la Vega, general manager of the LADOT.

"As of today, we have synchronized every traffic signal in the City of Los Angeles," said Mayor Villaraigosa, who also commended the effort for potentially reducing the level of greenhouse gas emissions in the city, since vehicles will be less likely to idle and emit exhaust.

"By synchronizing our traffic signals, we will spend nearly a day less [per year] waiting, and reduce pollution by nearly a metric ton of carbon every year," he said.

The synchronization system was first proposed prior to the 1984 Olympic games held in Los Angeles. But the project lapsed until 2005 when Villaraigosa lobbied to allocate $150 million in Proposition 1B money to complete the program.

- City News Service contributed to this report.

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