Ada County Highway District says a state-of-the-art traffic signal timing program it purchased has failed to perform and it wants its money back.
The company from which ACHD purchased the equipment, Rhythm Engineering, says ACHD is not entitled to a refund, so now the dispute is headed to court.
ACHD purchased the “smart signals,” also called adaptive signals, and installed them at 22 intersections along a loop route comprising Eagle Road, Idaho 44, Glenwood Street and Chinden Boulevard. The signals went into operation in late November 2014.
These signals constantly monitor traffic flow along roads and adjust the amount of green time to best serve the demand. The technology differs from the existing signal timing in that it will deviate from pre-set timing programs — calibrated for the usual traffic volumes known to occur on specific days and times — and make adjustments to better move large groups of vehicles.
According to the complaint filed in Boise federal court on Dec. 16, ACHD says the system is “inconsistent and unreliable.” Some of the system’s problems include malfunctioning during foggy or bright sunny conditions, unreliable queue counting and “erratic signal behavior.”
For nearly a year, Kansas-based Rhythm Engineering attempted to fix the problems, including installing sun shields and updating software, but ACHD says the problems persisted.
On Nov. 15, one year after installing the signals, ACHD turned the system off. District officials told Rhythm Engineering they would return the equipment and wanted a refund. The company told ACHD not to return the equipment because ACHD is not entitled to a refund under the warranty.
ACHD went ahead and returned the equipment via overnight express delivery service. Rhythm Engineering on Dec. 11 refused to accept the delivery, so ACHD sued the company.
ACHD is seeking damages of at least $540,000, the amount it paid for the signals.