Green light to growth: Official monitors roads
Cedar Park traffic signal coordinator Ali Mozdbar makes sure traffic flows smoothly.
On an early weekday at the city utilities department, Cedar Park’s new traffic signal coordinator Ali Mozdbar watched a screen showing Cypress Creek Road and Lakeline Boulevard.
The video showed multiple vehicles stopping at the intersection. Small blue squares surrounded the vehicles on the screen, signifying a motion sensor picking them up.
The sensor traces the number of seconds the vehicle sits at the signal, and whether or not the left-turn arrow should be activated.
Cedar Park hired Mozdbar in April after he spent nearly 19 years at the city of Austin as its traffic signal coordinator. In that time Mozdbar has studied, monitored and adjusted signal timings that keep people driving efficiently through city streets.
The Cedar Park City Council added funding for the position in its 2012-13 budget as it predicted area growth to continue. Council Member Mitch Fuller, who backed the hiring, said Mozdbar is the right person for the job.
“He’s outstanding. He’s nationally renowned,” he said. “He understands this issue, and he’ll be of great value.”
The hiring is timely, since Cedar Park recently penned an agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation to take over state-run traffic signals within city limits. RM 1431, Bell Boulevard and Parmer Lane traffic signals — 27 in all — will soon be under the control of the Cedar Park Public Works Department.
According to the agreement, TxDOT will reimburse the city $70,251 annually for maintenance and repair costs. Eric Rauschuber, city director of utilities, said the agreement allows for quicker response times to issues and allows the city to make minor tweaks.
“We can respond to malfunctions in a matter of minutes compared to TxDOT, where their crew could be in Fredericksburg or Giddings,” Rauschuber said. “They’re good crews, they have good engineers, but they’re stretched thin.”
Fuller said the agreement allows the city to “take our destiny into our own hands.”
During high-traffic periods, Mozdbar said, major intersections become synchronized with other signals to meet that demand. But once traffic subsides, the intersections return to a “free mode,” or not synchronized with other lights.
“The criteria changes quickly,” Mozdbar said. “In the case of (U.S.) 183, those are synchronized movements. You want to eliminate any stops to make sure they go through all the intersections. You want it to be green, green, green.”
City traffic signal coordinator Ali Mozdbar (left) and city director of utilities Eric Rauschuber look at a traffic signal synchronization program at the public works department. The city hired Mozdbar to improve mobility on city streets.