October 18th, 2012
SEEING BICYCLESOptimize Mobility, Strengthen the Economy, Zero Fatalities, by Catherine Higgins.
UDOT’s first radar activated signal for cyclists is providing safer access to Mountain View Corridor.
A newly completed seven mile portion of the Mountain View Corridor also includes bike lanes and multi-use trails from Porter Rockwell Blvd at 16000 South to Old Bingham Highway. “I would think Mountain View Corridor will be busy bike route with the beautiful scenery and trails,” says UDOT Traffic Signal Operations Engineer Mark Taylor, who is also a cyclist.
The new road segment includes a bike lane and trail access point at Porter Rockwell Blvd. Anticipated high traffic volume and speed in the area prompted traffic engineers to find a safer way for cyclists to reach that access point from busy Redwood Road.
UDOT has installed radar detection and a signal specific to cyclists turning left from Redwood Road onto Porter Rockwell Blvd. The signal improves safety for motorists and cyclists.
This video gives a good overview of the signal:
Cyclists sometimes use the left turn lane along with automobile traffic. However, due the T intersection configuration where Porter Rockwell meets Redwood road, “there is not a concurrent vehicle movement cyclists can use,” explains Taylor. The signal stops traffic so cyclists can turn left on Redwood Road, then travel west on Porter Rockwell Boulevard to the Mountain View Corridor bike lanes and multi-use trails.
To activate the signal, cyclists need to stop in the designated area on the right north-bound shoulder of Redwood Road. Radar detection picks up the presence of cyclists, stops traffic with a red light, gives cyclists a green light, and provides enough time to cross Redwood Road.
UDOT chose radar detection over other alternatives including inductive loops and video detection. Modern bicycles don’t have enough metal to disrupt the electromagnetic field created by inductive loops. And, video detection does not work well at night or during storms.
UDOT uses radar detection often, however, is the first use of the technology for a signal specific to cyclists.