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Orem traffic system headed for fine-tuning

A software problem that developed in Orem's new $2 million multi-arterial traffic system just after the vendors left town doesn't necessarily signal more trouble ahead, officials say.

It's just another phase in the synchronization program that's been in process for Orem since 1986."The first sheet of paper involved in this is dated 1986," said Eric Rasband.

Rasband is the technician working with traffic engineer Keith Larsen to get the system up and running.

Rasband and Larsen, in cooperation with the Utah Department of Transportation, have a federal grant to implement the system as part of an overall plan to mitigate congestion and improve air quality.

Ultimately Orem's 37 intersection signals will be coordinated through a hybrid fiber-optic system that combines the best of closed-loop and central-signal synchronization systems.

"Basically we have a master controller that talks to field controllers," said Larsen. "Once it's fully operational, it should reduce travel delay and air pollution.

"We see this as a traffic-management milestone."

When Provo City implemented a traffic synchronization system, the city experienced a drastic drop in air pollution levels, said Larsen. Orem can expect to benefit as well from a reduction in stop-and-go traffic.

The new system will include a paging feature so repairs can be made more quickly, too. Larsen and Rasband can be notified immediately of a problem.