Traffic being monitored in real time to relieve congestion

CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. — When traffic incidents force drivers to find alternate routes, those routes can become congested -- and that’s where the traffic operations department comes in.

The traffic operations manager looks at traffic and signals in real time through monitors, and then can use a contingency plan to modify the signals when there's additional traffic.

“We pick through an assortment of pre-programmed plans that say switch your patterns, give this much green time to these lights in these directions to help keep traffic moving the best that we can,” Marty McKinney, manager of traffic operations for Cranberry Township, said.

A lot of the equipment and programs in the Cranberry traffic center are purchased using the funding matrix so local taxpayers aren’t footing the bill.

In some situations, traffic management is a way to allow emergency vehicles priority access during congested time.

"Improved response time. So when you have somebody in medical distress or you have someone whose house is on fire that allows the ambulance, the fire truck to get there on average 10 to 20 percent quicker," Manager of Operations for the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission said.