Los Angeles officials are pinning their hopes of reducing congestion--perhaps by as much as 20%--along the Santa Monica Freeway on a $2.1-million network of automatic signals that would regulate surface traffic feeding into the freeway. The City Council's Transportation and Traffic Committee has voted unanimously to seek the money from the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission. The project, which would link 312 traffic signals on five surface streets in a 6.2-mile corridor next to the freeway, would work by automatically adjusting traffic signals according to congestion--reducing freeway access when the highway is jammed. In the event of a major freeway traffic jam, transportation officials would be able to manually override the system to delay or prevent freeway access. The proposed system would affect Olympic, Pico, Venice, Washington and Adams boulevards. City staff members have estimated that traffic congestion could be reduced up to 20%. A similar system is already in use near the Coliseum.