Traffic signal improvements are some of the most common and cost-effective means for relieving congestion, stopped delays, and travel times along a corridor and throughout a municipality. One such improvement is an interconnected traffic signal system. This is a system that creates the infrastructure for communication between each traffic signal controller and typically a remote computer. Provision of a connected system can be accomplished using a combination of a fiber optic network (most expensive, reliable), wireless radios (cheapest option), and/or cellular modems.
The installation of a connected system opens the door for:
• Improved, coordinated signal timing
• Immediate notification of signal component failures
• Remote, real time signal monitoring
• The ability to quickly make signal timing changes for abnormal traffic conditions
• Expandability for future “smart” transportation infrastructure
One of the greatest benefits of a connected traffic signal system is being able to create multiple coordinated timing plans between traffic signals. In 2018, the Ohio Department of Transportation retimed 17 corridors (135 signals) throughout the state, leading to an expected annual reduction of 530,000 hours of delay which translates to a cost savings of $11.4 million. According to the 2019 Urban Mobility Report, congestion adds an extra 54 hours of delay annually to urban drivers’ commute times. Being able to quickly respond to traffic signal issues, due to malfunctions or sudden influxes in volumes, is essential in reducing congestion around traffic signals.
Both urban and rural communities stand to benefit from interconnected traffic signal systems. In an industry committed to making the roads safer and reducing vehicle emissions, there are several funding opportunities for municipalities to take advantage of.
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November 13, 2019 | Written by Dylan Osborn, PE