The new InSync adaptive traffic signal system on William Flynn Hwy (Route 8) has been put into operation as of Tuesday, May 21st.  It is part of a Penn DOT project that extends all the way into Etna.


In Richland Township, it includes the traffic signals at the intersections from Dickey Road through Richland Mall.  For the entire Route 8 corridor, from Dickey Road through Kittanning Street (Etna), the only intersections that do not have the system installed are Mt. Royal Blvd., Duncan Ave., and Harts Run Rd (due to a larger distance between those signals to create a proper progression).  All of the installation work has been completed and a 30-day test period for the signal equipment has begun.  During this time, the Engineers will continue to monitor the corridor and assist with any fine-tuning of the timings.


The new InSync system uses artificial intelligence to determine the best times to turn the traffic signals green.  By adapting to traffic demand moment by moment instead of relying on predetermined schedules, the system increases safety, dramatically cuts down the need for stopping at intersections, reduces traffic congestion and reduces travel time.  Some of the unique functions of the new system may be misinterpreted as a fault in the operation of the signals.  To aide in the understanding of the new Adaptive system, below are some of the common Q&As regarding the operation.


Complaint: “There is something wrong with the light, I got skipped, it was my turn, but the other direction got the green before me”

Answer:            The system does not follow the traditional system of one phase must phase the other, it selects the phase which queue has waited the longest and or has the most cars waiting for the green before the cycle begins. So, for example, if one car arrives in the left turn lane or side street in one direction and there are 20 cars waiting in another direction and those 20 cars have been waiting longer, the system will service the direction with 20 cars first before giving the green to the direction with one car because, the 20 cars have waited longer regardless of the phase order. So, the phase selection appears to be random, but it’s based technically on arrival time and how long you have waited at the intersection. This way system keeps the traffic moving a lot faster as a result the less wait time at the signal.


Complaint: “I was on the side street and the main line stayed green with nobody on it. What happened?”

Answer:            Like many traditional systems, In|Sync usually has coordinated movements on the main line in order to achieve progression through multiple signals. These coordinated movements set aside certain times for the main line to be green where In|Sync is expecting vehicles to be coming from nearby intersections. Depending on what happens at other intersections and how much volume there is, there may not be vehicles coming during the entire coordinated movement. However, unlike traditional coordinated systems, In|Sync can end a coordinated movement up to a set amount early if there are no vehicles coming for a set amount of time. How early the coordinated movement can end and how big of a gap is necessary for this can be adjusted by engineering staff.


Question:           Why are there so many cameras?

Answer:               The system typically uses four cameras, one for each approach, to determine how many cars are waiting at each approach. The camera images are fed into a computer processor, which makes decisions in real time and changes the traffic lights accordingly.


Question:           Are the cameras taking photos of my license plate or me?

Answer:               No. The cameras do not capture and store images or video, nor do they alert law enforcement of any violations. Traffic management personnel can log into the system user interface to view each approach and intersection in real time, which can aid in emergency-dispatch situations or resolving complaints.


For additional information about the InSync Traffic Signal System, please view:

Citizen’s Guide to Understanding the InSync Traffic Signal System

Video Describing how the Adaptive System Works

YouTube Description of System