Here are some miscellaneous questions and answers from my interview with SDOT Senior Engineer Darlene Pahlman. For the most part, these words are paraphrases. See also Part I of this report.
What can operators do to improve their practices? SDOT has transmitted to Metro’s training staff the accumulated best practices. If operators would like SDOT to come provide another training seminar they’d be happy to do so; please coordinate this through your training focal.
Is manual control of the signals possible? “We can remotely access the controller and can issue manual commands.”
What is the minimum achievable headway is on MLK? “We think we can successfully operate a system at 5 minute headways.”
What is the signal cycle length on MLK? 2 minutes, although there’s no firm bound on how long a car might wait.
Is there a special operating mode at late night or on Sundays? At these times we “run free”, meaning we try to grant demands to cross the tracks as they arise.
Are there any plans to expand the “running free” period? Not unless the data shows us a problem.
Is there any threshold of poor traffic flow where trains lose signal priority? That is no city policy at this time.
Would SDOT consider opening their controller configuration? No, for security reasons.
How are the pedestrian crossings working? At first, we had a lot of complaints about inability to cross MLK on a single signal. We installed the “countdown” signals and those complaints dropped precipitously.