Des Moines working to retime 425 traffic lights for the first time in 20 years


DES MOINES, Iowa — The city of Des Moines has been listening to the complaints of drivers and is now working to retime 425 of its traffic lights.

The city is retiming these lights in a five-stage process. A process that started in 2019 and was delayed last year due to the pandemic. 

Currently, Des Moines is analyzing these traffic lights and intersections to see which ones are too long, too short, or right on time. 

By making changes to these lights, Des Moines’ Traffic Engineer, John Davis, said this will decrease travel times, reduce traffic congestion, and ultimately reduce vehicle emissions. 

Des Moines said the project will also consider signal timing and phasing for pedestrian and bicycle traffic in support of the city’s efforts to provide a more walkable and bikeable transportation network.

It’s been 20 years since the city has made any changes to traffic lights. However, Davis said his team is working to be more proactive moving forward.

“We’ve undertaken a master plan to update our traffic signals and their controllers and also the communication to them in the centralized software that controls them overall so that we can do things in a much more expedient and efficient fashion,” Davis said. “And hopefully get timings out more quickly.” 

This project is expected to cost the city $1.3 million and is expected to be complete in 2023. 

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