Motion Sensors Adjust Pleasanton Traffic Signals For Bicyclists

PLEASANTON (CBS SF) – The City of Pleasanton has mounted a device that resembles a large hand held flashlight mounted on poles at a half a dozen intersections so that traffic signals can be adjusted in real time to accommodate bicyclists.

Bike riders know how tough it can be to judge the timing on traffic lights at large, busy intersections. Nothing can be more frightening than an unexpected yellow then red as several lanes of traffic rev up to go.

Enter a device with a name that sounds like something out of a sci-fi novel, the Intersector. Senior transportation engineer Joshua Pack said the microwave motion sensor wasn’t originally intended to promote bicycle safety.

“Light bulbs went off and we had that ‘a-ha’ moment,” he said.

Besides providing other data about traffic behavior, the Intersector can also distinguish between cars and bikes regardless of lane, and then extend a green signal about 13 to 15 seconds so the cyclist can clear the intersection.

KCBS’ Susan Kennedy Reports:

Pack said bike riders have given the Intersector rave reviews since the first one was installed at Foothill Road and Stoneridge Drive in January, 2010.

The city has since installed 6 more, and 4 additional devices have been ordered that will replace the existing video and sensor systems as that equipment reaches the end of its useful life.

Pack said the first intersection that will use the device exclusively to promote bike safety is at West Los Positas and Muirwood Drive just west of Interstate 680.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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