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Boston’s Summer Results

Bostonians might be the only ones who gained from the summer’s record high fuel prices.
In an effort to save fuel and lower emissions, the city piloted a program that shortened
red lights to reduce the amount of time cars sat idling. The test was such a success that
Boston is now considering expanding the program to the rest of the city.

The results, released last week, show that shorter red lights will help Boston’s drivers
regain 135,000 hours each year that would normally be wasted waiting for a light to turn.

Traffic delays during the 60-intersection trial decreased 29 percent, while vehicle
emissions decreased almost ten percent. “I am so pleased with this initiative,” Boston
Mayor Thomas Menino said in a press release. “This is a terrific project with
far-reaching benefits. To cut fuel consumption and reduce emissions is a great
accomplishment, and easing traffic congestion in the process is icing on the cake.”

We hate being stuck in traffic waiting for nonexistent cross-traffic. We’re also used to
reading about cities making yellow lights shorter to raise revenue through red light
cameras, so Boston’s idea seems like a great common sense win-win for drivers and the
environment. That is, if you’re brave enough to drive in downtown Boston.

Boston’s program might be the most ambitious gas-saving tweak to traffic signals since
the early ’70s saw a bevy of states adopt “Right Turn on Red” rules to decrease idling.
In the near future, Boston’s laudable plan will save 125,000 gallons of fuel yearly — a
staggering amount to be wasted on idling. Of course, attempts to save gas by reducing
time spent idling are becoming increasingly irrelevant as hybrid drivetrains and
idle-stop systems become more popular.

In addition to making life easier for drivers, Boston’s beleaguered pedestrians are
getting some improvements directed at them. Old-fashioned incandescent “WALK/DON’T WALK”
indicators will be replaced with LED signals featuring countdown timers. This move alone
will conserve over 4.5 million KWH of electricity, which saves the city $600,000 a year.

Plus, as Boston Transportation Commissioner Thomas Tinlin points out, pedestrians benefit
from cleaner air and a more organized flow of traffic.

We’re willing to bet they’ll benefit from calmer drivers who aren’t furious about just
having wasted two minutes at a red light waiting for nonexistent traffic to cross.

Source:  Keith Barry

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No Responses to “Boston’s Summer Results”

  1. wilson Says:

    Yep, I’m also agree with the reduction of the red light timing, as in my living place, the red lights’ timing was reduced from 90 seconds to 45 seconds…

    Honestly, this act has helped the traffic become smoother than before! Not to mention that it also saving a lot of fuel burning as well 🙂

    By the way, nice post as usual, Linda.

    wilsons last blog post..It is Cushing’s Syndrome, Not Crushing’s Syndrome!

  2. Linda Says:

    Hi Wilson … Yes and it has been started in cities like Houston and Dallas. They have found that reducing that time at the lights does really work!

  3. overseas pharmacies Says:

    well this is good news

  4. Linda Says:

    Hi Overseas … it certainly is.

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