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New traffic control technology being tested, could expand citywide

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SAN ANTONIO - city leaders are testing state of the art traffic control technology that could later be expanded citywide.

During morning and evening rush hours, there's no shortage of opinions about traffic.

"It's horrible," driver Robin Joyner said.

"I try to avoid the traffic because it can get annoying at times," driver Charles Commons said.

City leaders are working to eliminate current congestion and meet future traffic demands.

San Antonio is projected to grow by more than 1.2 million people during the next twenty years.

"It's going to be horrendous," Joyner said. I mean just horrendous."

The city's current Intelligent Traffic Control system allows engineers to manage traffic during peak hours by making green lights longer or shorter.

Manny Pelaez, District 8 Councilman said, "I got elected by telling folks over and over again that I'm the person willing to have those difficult conversations."

Pelaez wants to take the system to the next level by incorporating what's called 'Adaptive Technology' that makes adjustments automatically based on past traffic patterns.

"Based on things like when you feed it into the computer schedules at the Alamodome and schedules at the AT&T Center, and schedules at UTSA and it knows based not just on historic data but other contextual data what's going to happen," Pelaez said.

Mike Frisbie helps manage the city's traffic.

He's among a team of engineers testing state of the art technology at intersections on the city's north and south sides. So far they're pleased with the results.

"But now we need to take best practices from around the world to see how can we do even better," said Mike Frisbie, of San Antonio's Transportation & Capitol Improvements.

Technology is only part of the master plan, that also includes considering building new roads, expanding others, improving mass transit and considering light rail.

"I think that would be excellent," Joyner said. "I just hope we don't go toll."

Toll roads are a possible option and may eventually become part of the master plan.

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