Computer fix has Minneapolis traffic signals operating normally

Monday morning commuters in Minneapolis may have noticed that the city’s traffic signal system is operating normally again, after engineers were able to make a fix to the central computer that controls most of the city’s signals.

A power outage and surge on Oct. 9 affected the signals’ central computer system, which controls about 700 of the city’s 800 signalized intersections. City engineers were able to fix the computer hardware last Friday and monitored the system through the weekend to ensure that it’s now running normally.

The City of Minneapolis would like to thank drivers for their patience and encourage people to continue to call 311 to report any signal issues they may run into. Residents can also report traffic signal issues online.

While the computer was down, the system used a backup signal timing plan, which means traffic signals still followed the standard “green, yellow, red” sequence. However, the system was not able to optimize traffic flow by coordinating signals at different intersections along a street to keep traffic moving as well as it normally would. The regular timing sequences have now been restored.

Over the last several years, the City of Minneapolis has been moving forward on a plan to replace its computerized traffic signal system hardware and software. The City has been working with the Federal Highway Administration, Minnesota Department of Transportation, Metropolitan Council, Hennepin County and other project partners to secure funding and to identify and design the system components and features for a new traffic signal computer and communication system. The new system will prevent issues like this in the future. The project is set to be put out for bids later this year, and work is expected to be complete in late 2013.

Published Oct 17, 2011