Arterial Management Program
time-lapse photo of traffic traveling in both directions on an urban arterial road
21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

Traffic Signal Program Management

Traffic signal program management involves organizing for the planning, maintenance, design, and operation of signalized intersections and traffic signal systems. Agencies that articulate and document their operations philosophy, goals, objectives and performance measures in the form of a Traffic Signal Management Plan (TSMP) have consistently demonstrated a greater capacity to implement and operate systems, sustain resources and a maintain a proficient workforce than those that do not. The publications and resources listed below provide support for incorporating objectives and performance-based approaches for improving the design, operations and maintenance of traffic signal systems. The FHWA Resource Center, Operations Technical Service Team is available upon request, to provide training, workshops or technical assistance to state, regional or local organizations interested in learning more about any of these resources, technology deployment or methods to incorporate objectives and performance based approaches into their business practices.

Key Publications

  • Traffic Signal Management and Capability Maturity FrameworkThe framework assess the agency capability to support effective signal operations and is intended for agencies or regions to assess current capabilities with respect to traffic signal management. When the current capabilities are determined, the tool provides a list of concrete actions for agencies to raise their capabilities to the desired levels.
  • Traffic Signal Management Plans (HTML, PDF 4.8MB) (FHWA-HOP-15-038) - An Objectives and Performance based approach for Improving the Design Operations and Maintenance of Traffic Signal Systems provides step-by-step instructions for documenting current activities, relating them to the agency's goals and transportation objectives, and offers a structure that shows how the activities of all staff involved in traffic signal management support those objectives.
  • Traffic Signal LED Module Specification Workshop and Informational Report for Snow Conditions (HTML, PDF 5MB) (FHWA-HOP-13-010) - A stakeholder workshop was held on December 14–15, 2010 that created a set of proceedings documenting the issues, findings, and potential next steps in addressing the snow and ice-covered LED traffic signal lens issue. One of the outcomes of the workshop was the initiation of a small research task to further explore the environmental conditions (i.e., weather) upon which the snow and ice problem occurs. This report summarizes the research effort completed to fulfill that outcome.
  • Improving Traffic Signal Management and Operations: A Basic Service Model (HTML, PDF 284KB) (FHWA-HOP-09-055) - This report provides a guide for developing a Traffic Signal Management Plan based on achieving good basic service in the context of current agency capability and resources.
  • National Traffic Signal Report Card Technical Report & Traffic Signal Operations Self-Assessment Survey - This report provides a summary of the state of the practice in traffic signal management and operations. Agencies can gain insight on the fundamental principles and core objectives involved in effectively managing and operating traffic signal systems.
  • Traffic Signal Operations and Maintenance Staffing Guidelines (HTML, PDF 821KB) (Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-09-006) - This report provides a guideline to estimate the staffing and resource needs required to effectively operate and maintain traffic signal systems.
  • The FHWA Model Systems Engineering Documents for Adaptive Signal Control Technology (ASCT) Systems (HTML, PDF 1.2MB) (Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-11-027) - This report facilitates the development of documentation that informs the design, implementation and testing of adaptive control systems that support and work within the context of the agencies objectives and needs.
  • NCHRP 560 Guide to Contracting ITS Projects (PDF 883KB) - Guide to Contracting ITS Projects provides guidance on the procurement of intelligent transportation systems (ITS), including variable message signs, traffic detectors, signal controllers, and a variety of other hardware and software that entails applications of advanced electronics and information management to regulate and facilitate traffic flow. The report highlights best practices and recommends contracting strategies and contract types, terms, and conditions for ITS development, integration, system acceptance, warranty, maintenance, and upgrade.
  • Additional Publications

Technical Assistance & Training

The FHWA Resource Center Operations Team is pleased to offer its services to assist agencies with the development of traffic signal management plans. This is typically accomplished through a review of current practices and collaborative development of strategies to achieve excellence in traffic signal management.

133125 – Traffic Signal Management: The Basic Service Approach (2-day, Instructor-Led)
This course assists agency professionals with the development of traffic signal management plans that align traffic signal design, operations and maintenance strategies with a basic service approach that focuses limited resources on meeting the needs of the most important stakeholders.

You may need the Adobe® Reader® to view the PDFs on this page.

Office of Operations