In 1868, the first gas lit traffic sign was installed in England. In 1915, Cleveland was the first city to install an electrical traffic sign. And in 1917, Salt Lake City created the first interconnected traffic sign, controlling 6 signals with a manual switch. Nearly, 100 years, later you'd think the costs would have fallen!
Instead, costs of this simple technology are booming.
Today, taxpayers pay $250,000-$500,000 to just purchase and install a traffic signal.
The US DOT estimates there are about $82.7B publicly invested in these assets (over $300 per car in the US!).
And these costs don't even include that maintenance required for the 300,000 traffic signals alone in the US. Each has an electrical bill of about $8,000 every year - and require the services of city planner, police and city approval processes required to keep up every signal.
But is the money working?
Not really. The DOT eports more than half of US local traffic agencies (49%) report "having little to no regular, ongoing program for performance monitoring system to assess operational objectives". And half of the agencies do not "assess the quality of data collected...as a result..using faulty data to analyze and time their traffic signals"
At Signal, we think we can create better traffic system. We can make it smarter, more accurate, and much, much cheaper. For 100 years, we've depended on the little, metal traffic sign. It's time to retire it!