Photo courtesy Tim Gouw

For the first time, Louisvillians can see each and every traffic light located in Jefferson County.

Cobbled together by the Office of Civic Innovation using city data, the data set represents a small but significant step toward the goal of a fully mapped transportation infrastructure of Louisville Metro, according to director Michael Schnuerle.

“In and of itself, if you were just going to look at where all the traffic lights are in the city, it’s mildly useful,” Schnuerle said. “But you could also look at where lights could be optimized in tandem to allow better traffic flow, or flow for buses, things like that. Or potentially, where we could focus our smart traffic light placement.”

Insider Louisville used the data, released last week by the city, to create a map depicting the listed 1,006 “signalized intersections,” or intersections governed by automated traffic signals.

You can take a look at it here:

Schnuerle said that other, coming data sets related to mobility will include fire hydrant locations from the Louisville Water Company, parking meter locations from the Parking Authority of River City and traffic jam information culled from the city’s partnership with WAZE. He added that one of the main developments that can arise from mapping these seemingly disparate elements of Louisville’s streetscapes is autonomous car deployment.

The data can also be compared with other visualizations to help understand the flow (or lack thereof) of traffic and dangerous locations for drivers. For example, intersections with traffic signals have higher vehicle congestion and can therefore have a higher instance of collisions when compared with two- and four-way stops.

A map like this, Schnuerle said, gives city planners and traffic engineers an easy-to-read reference when considering altering intersections or, in the case of the planned Dixie Highway bus-rapid-transit system, creating new public transportation corridors over pre-existing infrastructure.

“When we look at the street signals along the Dixie Highway corridor, the city is definitely coordinating the signals’ timings and the ability to for them to change as TARC buses move through them,” he said. “That’s going to be one of our first smart city-type grids.”

Jonathan Meador has covered local and state issues for nearly a decade. He has worked for LEO Weekly, The Nashville Scene and WFPL, and his reporting has appeared in Salon, Gambit and others. He has won multiple awards from the Louisville Society of Professional Journalists, including first-place accolades for best news story, women and minority issues, investigative reporting, enterprise reporting and political reporting. He supports both the Kentucky Wildcats and the Louisville Cardinals equally.


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