How does Riverside deal with traffic design and flow? – San Bernardino Sun

Q: Guy A. Harrell of Riverside asked about what he called, “the levels to which the city and county of Riverside take seriously traffic design, flow and overall engineering.” Harrell said lights and intersections throughout the city and county seem congested, uncoordinated and inefficient. He also asked if there could be a countywide campaign to address traffic engineering issues similar to the “if you see something, say something” reporting campaign, where drivers could be encouraged to report delays at traffic signal lights or hazardous road conditions.

A: We asked Nathan Mustafa, the city of Riverside’s deputy public works director, to address some of these concerns. Riverside has a central traffic monitoring system, Mustafa explained, to coordinate many of the signals as well as several key projects related to traffic-signal coordination, some of which have been completed, while others are ongoing or coming up. Other cities surely have similar programs; traffic engineering is not randomly done but is a complex process. Here’s what Riverside has going:

Traffic Management Center (ongoing): The city operates a traffic management center to synchronize signals, monitor flow and address residents’ concerns. The city also uses the center to coordinate signals in real-time during special events such as the Festival of Lights or in response to emergencies or roadwork.

Magnolia Avenue Fiber Optic (a completed grant-funded project): This project installed fiber optic cabling along Magnolia Avenue between First and Buchanan streets. This allows for enhanced traffic signal operations at 49 intersections, along with the use of traffic-monitoring cameras.

University Avenue Innovation Corridor (ongoing): The city collaborates with UC Riverside to test advanced traffic signal operations using connected vehicles along a six-mile section of University Avenue between UCR and downtown. It’s apparently working out well because it’s been named as a finalist for the IDC Smart Cities North America Awards. Learn more at

Corridor Synchronization Progression Index (ongoing): The city annually reviews key corridors and scores them and the traffic engineers make adjustments to improve traffic flow.

Highway Safety Improvement Program Cycle VII (in progress, a grant-funded project): New traffic signal equipment, monitoring cameras and coordinated signal timing will be installed in the downtown/central business district.

Highway Safety Improvement Program Cycle VIII (in the planning stage, a grant-funded project): Aging traffic signal controllers citywide will be replaced and a new central traffic control system with better coordination capabilities will be installed.

In addition to these projects, Mustafa said the city regularly works with Caltrans District 8 to enhance and synchronize traffic signal operations at, and near, interchanges. They also collaborate each year to activate special timing plans at locations like the Galleria at Tyler to accommodate holiday shoppers, Mustafa said.

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