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Do traffic light patterns change during rush hour in Charlotte?

If you have ever sat at a traffic light you've probably wondered why it is taking so long for the light to change? Especially when you're just trying to get home.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — If you have ever sat at a traffic light you've probably wondered why it is taking so long for the light to change? Especially when you're just trying to get home to work.  

THE QUESTION:

Do traffic light patterns change during rush hour in Charlotte?

OUR SOURCES:

Terry Gortney, Senior Signal Systems Engineer for the City of Charlotte

THE ANSWER: 

Yes, traffic light patterns do change during rush hour in Charlotte. 

WHAT WE FOUND:

Rush hour traffic can feel like you're sitting in it forever to get home. Gortney tells us that the traffic patterns change during rush hour traffic and throughout the day. 

"Throughout the city, we do evaluations based on traffic patterns. We model all these intersections to ensure they have the correct traffic signal pattering during the peak hours," Gortney said.

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Gortney tells us that traffic light patterns vary depending on the day, so you could be waiting at a light for one to three minutes, depending on the flow on peak streets.

"We program the exact times these are supposed to change, and the detection, which all plays into the timing," Gortney said. 

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Of course, the city keeps track of these traffic patterns and adjusts the timing of traffic lights, when patterns change. 

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"Traffic patterns change like when covid hit the traffic patterns went way down, and we changed the traffic patterns to the weekend," Gortney said.

The city also listens to suggestions from the public about the flow of traffic with the goal of keeping things moving on the streets of Charlotte. 

Contact Meghan Bragg at mbragg@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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