Automated Traffic Signal Performance Measures (ATSPMs)
State of the Practice
ATSPMs modernize traffic signal management by providing high-resolution data to support objectives and performance-based maintenance and operations strategies that improve safety and efficiency while cutting congestion and cost.
There are more than 330,000 traffic signals operating in the United States, and highway agencies typically retime these signals on a three- to five-year cycle at a cost of approximately $4,500 per intersection. For the vast majority of these signals, citizen complaints are the primary measure of performance. Not having performance data drives retiming costs up by requiring software modeling to simulate performance, along with detailed, manually collected traffic data.
When agency professionals and consultants conduct retiming projects, they perform an ad hoc comparison of limited before and after travel-time data to demonstrate the effectiveness of optimization efforts. Typically, no ongoing performance measurement capability exists, and agencies rely on citizen complaints to reactively detect maintenance or operational deficiencies. This lack of active performance management compromises safety and efficiency and contributes to congestion. It also institutionalizes public dissatisfaction with the operation and maintenance of signalized intersections.
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