There are few things that anger me in life as much as a mistimed traffic light. Now I find out that not only do they annoy me and waste my time, but that they also waste fuel on the order of 10% of all fuel use.
The US Department of Transportation states:
There are more than 330,000 traffic signals in the United States. It is estimated that over 75% of these signals could be improved by updating equipment or by simply adjusting and updating the timing plans. It is further estimated that poor traffic signal timing accounts for 5-10% of all traffic delay on highways or 295.8 million vehicle-hours of delay on major roadways alone. Traffic signal retiming is one of the most cost effective ways to improve traffic flow and is one of the most basic strategies to help mitigate congestion. Optimizing traffic signals can produce benefit cost ratios as high as 40 to 1. The costs for retiming traffic signals generally range from around $500 to $3,000 per intersection.This report estimates that:
Reduction in fuel consumption of up to 10%. Nationwide this would amount to a savings of almost 17 billion gallons of motor fuels per year.With a 40 to 1 benefit cost ratio and a potential savings of 17 billion gallons of gasoline, this seems like a no brainer. In fact, I am now ranking this as my #1 preferred way of saving fuel. Sorry, biofuels, hybrids and electric cars. Until we get the traffic light issue sorted out, you have all been demoted.