Traffic Signal Program Model

State of the Practice

Relating the Capability Maturity Assessment to Traffic Signal Programs

This Five Minute Assessment tool is designed to help organizations assess their organizational capability and maturity as a valuation of the risks presented to the attainment of the programs goals and objectives. This assessment is modeled after the AASHTO Transportation Systems Operations and Management Guidance which is founded on the Capability Maturity Model using the following six dimensions of capability:

  1. Business Processes,
  2. Systems and Technology,
  3. Organization and Workforce,
  4. Performance Measurement, and
  5. Culture,
  6. Collaboration

However, this assessment has been modified to specifically address traffic signal programs. To apply the outcome of the assessment it is helpful to relate each of the preceding dimensions of the capability maturity to program areas that are typical of organizations responsible for the management and operation of signalized intersections. The figure below provides a simplified model of a traffic signal program, it includes four program areas, Systems and Technology, Business Processes, Workforce, Management and Administration and demonstrates the interrelatedness of each program area. The performance measurement area is a resource to measure how effectively each area of the program is supporting the attainment of the goals and objectives of the program. By combining the CMM assessment technique with the traffic signal program model the presence of gaps in capability become an indicator of risk within any of the four program areas to the attainment of program goals and objectives.

 The Traffic Signal Program Model depicted above, was adapted from Leavitt’s Diamond Organizational Model to demonstrate the dynamics of organizational change and interaction among the four typical areas of a traffic signal program. The functions and interaction of the traffic signal program areas has been validated through traffic signal program reviews conducted by the FHWA Office of Operations and Resource Center, and prior Traffic Signal Report Cards completed in 2005, 2007 and 2012. The four program areas depicted by the model are systems and technology, workforce, business processes, and management and administration. Performance Measures are, facilitated by and demonstrate the connection between multiple program areas and can include both outcome measures that are descriptive of how systems and technology and operation and maintenance of the system impact systems users. Performance measures can also be output metrics that evaluate processes, activities or quantities of work performed. Each area of the program is accountable for competing its functions in a manner that progressively advances the goals and objectives of the program. The maturity of each area of the program can be evaluated in terms of the level of risks presented relative to the attainment of the programs goals and objectives. Four broad levels of maturity and capability have been defined: Level 1 – Ad Hoc, Level 2 – Established, Level 3 – Measured, Level 4 – Managed. By understanding the difficulty and benefits of achieving a maturity level, an organization can make a conscious decision about which maturity level best supports its current needs. Although resource investments are frequently required to improve the capability and maturity of any program area, the actions to move from level to level are process-oriented. It is important to consider the interdependence of the program areas, an investment in any program area will almost always require some degree of organizational change through the entire organization, if there is a desire to sustain the value of investments over long periods of time. An example of this is frequently demonstrated with investment in systems and technology; which typically require workforce training and improved design, operations and maintenance business process and subsequent report by the management and administration program area. The function, components of and description of each of the four program areas follows:

Systems and Technology

The infrastructure and systems that apply strategies and tactics to attain operations and maintenance objectives. The system owner interacts and affects system users through the systems and technology area. The program area includes:

Infrastructure Systems Advanced operations
Mast Arms Traffic Signal Controllers Traffic Responsive
Poles Detection Transit Priority
Foundations Communications Adaptive Control
Signal Displays Central Control Systems ATSMPs
Connected Vehicle


Workforce characterizes the people within the organization. They carry beliefs, attitudes and behaviors that are influenced by their education and training to produce knowledge. The workforce possess the skills and experience that are required to carry out tasks, interact with systems and technology and provide the information that is critical to the management and administration program area to prepare for and address resource needs. The elements of the workforce area includes:

Positions Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
Managers Education
Engineers Training
Technicians Experience

Business Processes

Business processes are the activities performed by the program to plan, design, construct, operate and maintain the systems and technology area. The business process area also contains processes and activities to support management and administration activities such as procurement, performance reporting and so forth.

Tasks: Connect Strategies and Tactics in task areas to Goals and Objectives. Assessment of capability via CMM.


Management and Administration

The management and administration program area is responsible for setting the overall direction of the program, ensuring that adequate resources levels are sustained to support program functions, to interact internally and externally to report outcomes, to collaborate to achieve program goals, to establish and/or evolve organizational culture, and ensure the satisfaction of the programs customers and stakeholders. Routine assessments of the programs capability and maturity is a function of the management and administration area of the program.