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Olathe aims to make your drive smoother with re-timed traffic signals, app to help hit green lights

olathe traffic center.jpg
Posted at 9:01 AM, Feb 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-06 18:48:32-05

OLATHE, Kan. — The drive through Olathe should flow more smoothly. The city’s traffic operations team has partnered with several data companies to find ways to improve drivers’ commute and roll out an app which shows when traffic signals will change.

Dave Kumke, the city’s traffic operations manager, said traffic flow improvements revolve around changes the city made to the timing of traffic signals.

LISTEN: The 41 Files Kansas City podcast crew discusses the pros and cons of the new app

Along 119th Street, those changes resulted in 85 percent of drivers cutting five minutes off what used to be a 10-minute drive along the road during weekday morning rush hour traffic. On Santa Fe Street between Ridgeview and Greenwood, drivers should save roughly 90 seconds on their commute as a result of re-timing traffic signals.

“We're trying to be, rather than reactive, we're trying to be proactive in our approach,” Kumke pointed out. “Trying to improve on ways how to, not only improve signal timings, but be more aware of where the problems may lie.”

In other parts of the city, drivers can now use the EnLighten app to help judge when a traffic signal will change. The app helps predict when upcoming lights will change signals and uses a “Green Light Optimization Speed Advisory” as a guide for drivers to judge their speed so they arrive at signals with green lights.

“You can actually move people from being aggressive drivers to being intelligent drivers,” Kumke said.

The app is free to download. It only works on traffic signals within the city limits of Olathe.

“One of the things we have learned in the transportation field is if we can share info with people, they are much happier,” explained Cheryl Lambrecht, a traffic engineer with the city of Olathe.

The app could be a distraction to drivers. The app itself and the city of Olathe encourage drivers to set it upon their dashboard before beginning their drive and preferably ask a passenger to control and monitor it.