Signal Synchronization

signal synch

Traffic light synchronization improves congestion in Orange County

As a driver, it can often be difficult to travel through multiple cities without stopping at numerous red lights. That is because traffic signal synchronization timing programs were limited to segments of roads within city limit boundaries or other physical barriers. OCTA is and has been working with local cities to synchronize traffic signals across city boundaries.

Traffic light synchronized during peak hours


Traffic signal synchronization allows a series of lights along a street to turn green based on synchronized timers set to current traffic patterns and congestion levels. Signal synchronization is a cost-effective way to reduce overall stops and travel delays.

With Orange County’s population estimated to increase 11 percent by 2030, OCTA, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the County of Orange and all 34 cities are working together to coordinate traffic lights across the county in an effort to ease growing traffic demands.

OCTA’s goal is to improve the flow of traffic in your community by developing and implementing traffic light coordination across city boundaries. These projects include optimizing signal timing to provide drivers better travel experience through reduced travel times, reduced stops, reduced delays, by making more green lights than reds. Most signal timing projects can result in a five to fifteen percent improvement in travel time and speed. 

Save time, money and help the environment

  • Reduced travel times allow you to spend more time with family and friends.
  • Cars use less gas by reducing stop and go travel and idling at red lights.
  • Vehicle emissions are reduced because cars run more efficiently. 

More green lights than red

It is not always possible to hit a green light at every intersection. Traffic light synchronization coordinates signals according to known congestion levels, allowing you to travel further in less time by reducing stops.

  • Expect more green lights.
  • Drive with the flow of traffic to see the most significant travel time improvements.
  • Don’t speed up to get to the next intersection. 

Your tax dollars at work

Traffic Light Synchronization is a cost effective way to increase street and road capacity without new construction. OCTA, which administers the Measure M program, Orange County’s half-cent sales transportation tax. Through Measure M, OCTA conducted two demonstration projects to lay the groundwork for the Traffic Light Synchronization Program and currently through the renewed Measure M (M2) Regional Traffic Light Synchronization Program (Project P). Synchronized corridors experience significant improvements in congestion levels.

As part of the M2 Project P 2011 Call for Projects, OCTA awarded nearly $8 million for 17 projects that included 25 local agencies to synchronize more than 500 signals along 141 miles of Orange County streets and roads.

As part of the Project P 2012 Call for Projects, OCTA awarded nearly $10 million for 24 projects that included 26 local agencies to synchronize more than 1000 signals along 286 miles of Orange County streets and roads.

As part of the Project P 2013 Call for Projects, OCTA awarded nearly $15 million for 14 projects that included 12 local agencies to synchronize more than 500 signals along 108 miles of Orange County streets and roads.

Download the 2011 CTFP Call for Projects Allocation Summary for Project P
Download the 2012 CTFP Call for Projects Allocation Summary for Project P
Download the 2013 CTFP Call for Projects Allocation Summary for Project P

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Fernando Chavarria

Project Contact

Fernando Chavarria
Manager of Community Outreach
(714) 560-5306
fchavarria@octa.net

Andrea H

Project Contact

Andrea Hammann
Associate Community Relations Specialist
(714) 560-5573
ahammann@octa.net