NCHRP Report 954, Performance-Based Management of Traffic Signals,
compiles the best available information on automated traffic signal performance measures so that agencies can evaluate whether this performance-based approach would be cost-effective for their system and develop a plan for implementation. This guide and its accompanying data dictionary and communication materials will be useful to system managers, designers, and operators.
The performance of the surface transportation system is profoundly affected by the over 400,000 traffic signals across the United States. Ideally, traffic signals should be retimed as needed but retiming projects are often deferred because of cost. Many agencies rely primarily on user complaints to identify problems but they can be difficult to substantiate and do not always lead to a resolution of the problem. Several transportation agencies have shown that use of automated traffic signal performance measures (ATSPMs) can identify and help address the issues that contribute to poor signal operations. Many state, county, and local agencies are interested in moving toward performance-based management of their traffic signals but the financial and organizational barriers appear formidable.
In NCHRP Project 03-122, “Performance-Based Management of Traffic Signals,” Kittelson & Associates was tasked with developing guidance for agencies across the spectrum of resource levels to implement a performance measurement approach to traffic signal management. The research team interviewed agencies that have implemented ATSPMs to identify factors for success and implementation approaches. They then developed use cases and reviewed potential data sources. During the second phase of the project, they developed the guide with care taken to make sure it was applicable to agencies with a wide range of capabilities. They also developed a data dictionary and communication materials that are available at the link above.