Chet Skwarcan is an award-winning engineer, writer, and industry innovator in the field of traffic engineering. He is known for leveraging his creativity, logic, and technology to solve today’s engineering challenges.

Traffic Problems? Just “Flip the Switch!”

And 2 to implement today — ALSO 1 bonus tip if you read this before midnight tonight!

You get the idea. Random headline generators usually include a number. I won’t stoop to that psychological trick but simply say there are several ways to reduce traffic congestion. And here are the top several…

Traffic Signal Optimization — this is one of the most cost-effective solutions to reduce congestion. Current traffic volumes are collected and analyzed. The most efficient traffic signal timing is determined for each lane for each minute of each day. Do you ever wait at a traffic signal and wonder why no one is moving? Stop doing that — call our world headquarters and ask for “Mr. Green.”

Traffic Signal Coordination — ever encounter several red lights in a row? How about several green lights in a row? Which do you like better? If the latter, then consider coordinating adjacent signals. Traffic signals can be synchronized to keep traffic moving smoothly.

Autonomous Vehicles — while the actual number of cars on the road may not diminish, smart cars practice effective collision management (ECM), discover new roads to reach a destination (DNRtRaD), and eventually, make traffic signals obsolete (MTSO).

Traffic Apps — One of my personal favorites, these apps know what’s happening on the road ahead. Even if you think you know how to get someplace, these apps will tell you the best way based on real time traffic, construction, police, crashes, & more. If traffic is bad along your route, you’ll get a suggested alternative to save you time.

Reversible Lanes — this is the bonus tip mentioned above. A reversible lane is a lane in which traffic may travel in either direction, depending on time of day. It improves traffic flow during rush hour by having overhead traffic lights notifying drivers which lanes are open or closed to driving or turning.

The above techniques mitigate traffic congestion., And mitigating traffic congestion is different from solving traffic congestion. Keep in mind, growth and economic vitality bring congestion. Solving congestion requires redirecting economic growth to other communities — this may be unacceptable. In the meantime, traffic mitigation is the best way to have our cake and eat it too.

Chet Skwarcan (traffic engineer, author, unique insights) with over 25 years of traffic engineering experience — online help available at