San Diego

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Traffic Signals

Photo of Traffic Signal

There are over 1,500 signalized intersections within the City of San Diego. Traffic signals are top priority for Street Division. When there is a problem, we respond within one hour. Our signal technicians work around the clock to keep the signals functioning properly. All signalized intersections are on a quarterly preventative maintenance schedule. Safety monitors are installed at all intersections to prevent conflicting green lights from being displayed. The monitors are thoroughly inspected and tested annually.

The process of determining where traffic signals are installed is a complicated one. A point system, based on traffic flow and the accident rate at that intersection, is used to determine whether a signal is warranted. In some areas, such as El Cajon Boulevard, Miramar Road, Mira Mesa Boulevard and Downtown, traffic lights are coordinated to facilitate commuter or otherwise heavy traffic flows on major streets. Each signalized intersection is run by its own computer similar in size to a 286 PC. The computer observes the amount of traffic flow and can trigger the lights for cross traffic. Lights on major thoroughfares are programmed to stay green longer during peak travel times (rush hour). Since 1997, the City of San Diego has converted more than 32,000 incandescent lights to LED. All the red signal indications and over 90% of the green indications have been converted to LED, saving the City over $800,000 annually in energy costs.

The Electrical Section relies heavily on the public to inform us when a traffic signal is out or malfunctioning. To report a malfunctioning traffic signal, please call 619-527-7500 as soon as possible.