Moving ahead with adaptive signal technology to cope with traffic congestion in Cabot was the main item for the City Council agenda meeting held Monday. “This is a game changer for Cabot on traffic movement,” Mayor Bill Cypert told city council committee members.


Aldermen Ron Waymack, Ed Long, Anne Gilliam, Rick Prentice, Norma Naquin, Doug Warner and Kevin Davis attended the meeting.


Long, chairman of the Public Works Committee, introduced the measure to award a $67,000 contract to Neel-Schaffer, Inc., for two phases of traffic signal engineering design services on an adaptive traffic management system.


Long remarked that scheduled roadway improvements would bring more traffic to already congested areas, making better traffic management necessary.


“This system is to pull it all together,” to better move traffic through the city, especially considering some of the state highways inside city limits cannot be widened, Long remarked.


Widening of U.S. Highway 67/67 between Cabot and Jacksonville is now under way; improvements are scheduled for exits 16 and 19 as well as widening of Bill Foster Highway, between Arkansas Highways 5 and 89.


Cypert said planning with Metroplan for the adaptive system began about three years ago, including award last year of a $500,000 Transportation Alternatives Grant grant.


The planning has progressed to design planning, Cypert said.


“We’ve, basically, done all we can,” with the city’s current traffic control equipment, Cypert remarked. “We’ve tuned it, we’ve tweaked it, but it is not adequate for the current traffic workload in the city.”


Mark Bailey, vice president with Neel-Schaffer, Inc. was at the meeting to answer questions.


According to information from the Federal Highway Administration, “Adaptive signal control technology adjusts the timing of red, yellow and green lights to accommodate changing traffic patterns and ease traffic congestion. The main benefits of adaptive signal control technology over conventional signal systems are that it can continuously distribute green light time equitably for all traffic movements; improve travel time reliability by progressively moving vehicles through green lights; reduce congestion by creating smoother flow; and prolong the effectiveness of traffic signal timing.”


After brief discussion, the committee members voted to approve the measure for consideration at the July 16 City Council meeting.


In other matters, the committee members also approved, for the next City Council meeting, the nomination of Greg Sled to the Cabot Parks and Recreation Commission.