Many drivers ask why they have to wait so long for a signal to change. Many of these drivers are waiting to enter a major arterial street from a side street. This is even more frustrating when no traffic can be seen on the arterial. To allow the coordination of the arterial, the side street must wait until the main traffic movement on the arterial has gone through the intersection. It is possible that the arterial traffic can't be seen immediately, but will soon be passing through the intersection.
The goal of synchronization is to get the greatest number of vehicles through the system with the fewest stops in a comfortable manner. The reduction of large numbers of vehicles sitting idle at an intersection leads to a reduction in vehicle emissions. It would be ideal if every vehicle entering the system could proceed through the system without stopping. This is not possible even in a well-spaced, well-designed system. Therefore, in traffic synchronization, "the majority rules" and the busiest traffic movements are given priority. Depending on a route, the master cycle length of an arterial could vary from 60 to 120 seconds. This means that if you were exiting a side street, and you just missed the light, it is possible to wait between 60 and 120 seconds, or whatever is the cycle length, before receiving another green light. Generally, the busier and the bigger the intersection, the longer the required cycle length.
Not all City streets warrant synchronization. Typically, a street is selected for synchronization if it carries a certain amount of traffic along the arterial during peak hours. Currently, the City is installing the traffic signal synchronization equipment on Kanan Road as it receives a large volume of vehicles on a daily basis. In most cases, synchronization is active during peak times on weekdays. The individual signals operate on a "first-come-first-served" or traffic activated basis outside of this time frame.