Data-Driven Decisions Make for Safe and Reliable Commutes

Last month the City of Sioux Falls optimized the traffic signals at 10th/11th Street and Minnesota Avenue to keep both vehicle and pedestrian traffic moving safely and more efficiently. Drivers now can turn right on red when pedestrians are not present.

“Our constant focus is to ensure safe and reliable commutes for all modes of transportation. Our team manages more than 270 traffic signals throughout the city. We monitor vehicle and pedestrian counts and optimize the operation of approximately 60 signals per year, using data and facts to drive our decisions,” says Mark Cotter, Director of Public Works.

Some of the key data points used to inform the decision to make changes at the 10th/11th Street and Minnesota Avenue intersections are:

• Both intersections have seen a 65 percent or more reduction in pedestrians in the past decade.
• The five-year crash average has decreased by more than 45 percent for both intersections in the past ten years.
• About 70,000 vehicles a day travel through the two intersections.
• About 19 hours of driver delay will be reduced per day.
• The “No Turn on Red When Pedestrians Present” signs have been effective and safe at other locations in the city, such as 26th Street and Discovery Avenue.

The changes to keep traffic moving also will provide more safety to pedestrians. Because fewer cars will be waiting to turn right when the light turns green, the City also increased the lead pedestrian interval from four seconds to six seconds at these intersections. This means the walk signal for pedestrians will begin six seconds before the green light begins for traffic, allowing pedestrians to cross before traffic flows through the intersection.

All drivers, but especially those traveling through downtown, should use caution and make a special effort to watch for pedestrians. Before turning right, look right to ensure pedestrians and bicyclists using the sidewalk can cross safely. Drivers are required to yield to pedestrians using crosswalks.