National Academies Press: OpenBook

Performance-Based Management of Traffic Signals (2020)

Chapter: Focus of the Guidebook

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Suggested Citation:"Focus of the Guidebook." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Performance-Based Management of Traffic Signals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25875.
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Suggested Citation:"Focus of the Guidebook." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Performance-Based Management of Traffic Signals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25875.
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FOCUS OF THE GUIDEBOOK Smart City technologies are changing the way agencies manage and operate transportation systems by providing access to more data than has ever been available before. One of the areas where new tools have broadened capabilities is in traffic signal systems. Management of traffic signal systems is a critical function for every transportation agency. Yet while congestion increases and infrastructure ages, funding for equipment and staff resources often remains scarce. The result is that many traffic signals operate with poor timing and/or ill-functioning equipment, leading to unnecessary delays and costs for travelers across all modes. Many agencies are reactive when it comes to monitoring signal performance. Highly traveled corridors experiencing poor performance are often identified only after travelers have endured frustration for an extended period. When service requests arrive, traffic signal managers and staff are often unable to validate the information. Thanks to advancements in technology, it is now possible to collect large amounts of data at signalized intersections, which has led to the development of dozens of performance measures. Where agencies previously had little to no information about equipment health or intersection operations, they can now review cycle-by-cycle events and initiate dashboard reporting and automated alerts. Signal performance measures profoundly change all aspects of traffic signal operations from planning to design and implementation through better-informed, data-driven decisions. This guidebook provides information to help agencies invest in signal performance measures as part of a comprehensive approach to performance-based management.

Next: Chapter 1 - Roadmap to Performance Measures »
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Management of traffic signal systems is a critical function for many transportation agencies. Thanks to advancements in technology, it is now possible to collect large amounts of data at signalized intersections, leading to the development of dozens of performance measures.

The TRB National Cooperative Highway Research Program's NCHRP Research Report 954: Performance-Based Management of Traffic Signals provides information to help agencies invest in signal performance measures as part of a comprehensive approach to performance-based management.

Supplementary materials to the report include a data dictionary and a PowerPoint presentation.

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