Arterial Management Program

Appendix A. Questionnaire

Traffic Signal Operations and Maintenance Staffing and Resource Requirements Guidelines Questionnaire

May 16, 2008


The 2005 Traffic Signal Report Card assigned a grade of D- nationally to traffic signal operations and maintenance practices. It is generally assumed that deficiencies in traffic signal operations and maintenance are the direct result of insufficient funding and staffing to optimally accomplish these tasks. While significant variability may exist among agencies in terms of system size, complexity, geography, demographics, locality, state, regional and local transportation priorities, politics and so forth; it is feasible that detailed guidance about staffing and resource based on functionality can be developed. The current guidance available is very general and not achievable for most jurisdictions.

The ITE Traffic Engineering Handbook and Traffic Control System Operations: Installation, Management and Maintenance publication are often referred to when establishing staffing and resource requirements for traffic signal operations. These documents suggest labor requirements of 20 to 25 hours per intersection for traffic signal retiming and estimates as a rule of thumb that one traffic engineer is needed to properly operate and maintain every 75 to 100 signals and one technician to operate and maintain every 40 to 50 signals. As a rule of thumb these estimates are adequate; however the current transportation environment requires much more detailed estimates.

The lack of a credible guideline for traffic signal operations and maintenance staffing and resource needs has resulted in the inefficient operation and maintenance of traffic signals on a national scale. Ineffective operation and maintenance of traffic signals has serious safety implications and contributes to thousands of hours of unnecessary traffic delays and congestion on both local and major arterial systems and road networks. An improved understanding of the relationship of performance to operations and maintenance resources expended is desired.

The objective of this FHWA sponsored project is to develop a guideline to assist agencies in developing a staffing and resource plan to effectively operate and maintain traffic signal systems. Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and its sub-consultants, Dunn Engineering Associates and Kittelson Associates have been tasked by FHWA to conduct a study to establish these requirements. As part of this study we are conducting a series of in depth interviews to identify the operational and maintenance requirements for an ideal traffic system that must conform to real world constraints and resource limitations. The interviews are structured according to the questionnaire that follows. We appreciate your participation to help us accomplish this objective.

Please provide the following information on the system and on the traffic signal operations that your agency is responsible for.

A. Traffic Network Characteristics

  1. Number of signals in each type of network
Type of Network Grid Arterial Isolated
  1. % AADT growth per year
  2. % signals operating under saturated conditions during peak hour
  3. % signals operating at saturated conditions for at least one hour in excess of peak hour
  4. Type of jurisdiction (major city with large number of grid signals, suburban jurisdiction with low population density, county with widely spaced intersections, state DOT with wider expansive distance between intersections (e.g. 50 miles or more)
  5. % growth in signals/year

B. Classification of Signal System Characteristics

Please provide number or percentage of signals in each category (those items marked * relate to signals that actually operate under the conditions described).

  1. Adaptive (e.g. SCOOT, SCATS, OPAC, RHODES)*
  2. Closed loop with data development tools (e.g. ACS Lite) including isolated signals are controlled by this type of system*
  3. Closed loop or central control (UTCS type) including isolated signals that are controlled by this type of system*
  4. Other type of interconnected system*
  5. Isolated signals with automatic failure reporting*
  6. Isolated signals without automatic failure reporting
  7. Proximity of signals to maintenance facility
    1. Number of signal within 5 miles of maintenance facility
    2. Number of signals between 5 and 10 miles of maintenance facility
    3. Number of signals greater than 10 miles from maintenance facility
  8. Controller Classification
    1. Number of 170 family controllers
    2. Number ofATC/2070 family controllers
    3. Number of NEMA TS1 controllers
    4. Number of NEMA TS2 controllers
  9. Age of field equipment
    1. Number of controllers less than 5 years old
    2. Number of controllers between 5 and 10 years old
    3. Number of controllers greater than 10 years old
  10. Indicate number of ancillary devices present
    1. Preemption/priority
    2. CCTV
    3. Changeable message signs
    4. UPS
  11. Communications – Indicate number of signals controlled by following
    1. 7 wire cable
    2. Twisted wire pair
    3. Fiber optics
    4. Coaxial cable
    5. Wireless
    6. Non-owned communication service (identify)

C. Redundancy Characteristics of System

  1. 1. Redundancy of central controls
  2. 2. Redundancy in backbone communications to field
  3. 3. Redundancy in distribution communications to field

D. Traffic Detection

  1. 1. Type and extent of detection
 Number of Each Detector Type Number of Detectors Actually Operating
Inductive Loop Video Processor Detector Radar, Microwave Other
Local actuation detectors
System detectors

  1. 2. Are detectors periodically checked for operability (in the case of video processor detectors are they checked under poor lighting and weather conditions)
  2. 3. Is detector data analyzed on a regular basis? How is the data used?
  3. 4. CCTV
    1. How many cameras are available
    2. Is CCTV monitoring used to support
      1. On line adjustment of timing plans
      2. Planning for signal timing/phasing
      3. Incident management

E. Timing Plan Characteristics

  1. Number of daily timing plans
  2. Other periodic timing plans (e.g. weekends, special events)
  3. Non-periodic timing plans (e.g. diversion, emergency evacuations)

F. Operations Characteristics

  1. Frequency of timing plan updates, phasing plan checks, warrant reviews
  2. Is a staffed TMC used, if so what is the operating period
  3. Co-location with other traffic operations or police agencies

G. Maintenance Practices

  1. Allowable time to repair signal failure during business hours
  2. Allowable time to repair signal failure during non-business hours
  3. Allowable time to repair ancillary equipment (detectors, preemption equipment, etc.)
  4. Allowable time to repair communications
  5. Availability (Up-time) for central equipment
  6. Identify routine maintenance practices
  7. Actual time to repair signal failure during business hours
  8. Actual time to repair signal failure during non-business hours
  9. Actual time to repair ancillary equipment (detectors, preemption equipment, etc.)
  10. Controller failures per year

H. Resource Issues

  1. Budgets and personnel (including consultants). Please provide operating, maintenance and capital (only for signal system) budgets for following items. Please provide person hours for each of the items:
    1. Management budgets and personnel hours for each of: supervision, planning, system engineering
    2. Operations budgets and personnel hours for each of (TOC operations, signal timing including data collection)
    3. Maintenance
      1. Maintenance of signals (department budgets, contract budgets, personnel)
      2. Maintenance of other equipment (detectors, preemption equipment, etc.)( department budgets, contract budgets, personnel)
    4. Training
      1. Does the agency have a formal training plan?
      2. Does the agency provide the cost for training?
      3. What training resources are available locally?
      4. Is IMSA certification required for maintenance personnel
      5. Is PTOE/PE certification required for engineering personnel
      6. Percentage of operating budges spent for training.
      7. Type of operations training
      8. Percentage of maintenance budget spent for training.
      9. Type of maintenance training
    5. Growth - Do O & M budgets increase with signal growth on an annual basis?
  2. Practices and Constraints. Please identify the practices that are used that pertain to the following items and please identify whether the practices are discretionary or are required by the agency:
    1. Use of owned or leased communication facilities
    2. Use of own staff or contract maintenance
    3. Use of own staff or consultants for engineering

I. Staffing Issues

  1. Pay as compared with peer agencies in the region (higher, approximately the same, lower)
  2. What is the average tenure of engineering employees?
  3. What is the average tenure of maintenance employees?
  4. What is the number of vacant engineering and maintenance positions

J. Management

  1. Is a mission statement available
  2. Is a concept of operations available
  3. Are operations procedures available

K. Staff Capability Level

Position Number of Personnel in Position Qualifications – Training/experience level
Traffic Signal Engineer
Traffic Signal Analyst/Technician
ITS Engineer
Traffic Signal Maintenance Technician
Electronic Specialists
TMC Operators
Public Relations Coordinator

L. Objectives and Performance Measurement

  1. Please complete Table 1
  2. Are summary performance reports prepared and reviewed periodically

M. Planning Issues

  1. What causes the staff size to change
  2. Is your funding stream reliable
  3. How far into the future do you plan
  4. What upgrades or updates do you plan
  5. Do you have planning documentation that is available for review? Examples include business plans, resource models, maintenance check lists, concept of operations

N. Communication to the Public

Do you provide information on incidents, construction, special events and congestion through:

  1. Changeable message signs
  2. Website
  3. Media
  4. Other

O. Feedback from the Public

  1. Do you seek feedback from the public on its perception of agency performance through such means as surveys or other proactive techniques. If so please identify the technique
  2. Do you have a telephone hotline or a website that facilitates feedback from the public.

Possible Objective Does Objective Pertain to Your Agency? (Y/N) Estimate of Relative Importance (5 is very important, 1 is not important) Example of Measure for Objective Measures Used by Your Agency
1. Reduce delay and fuel consumption for normal traffic patterns.   a)      Vehicle hours delay.
b)      Gallons fuel reduced.
2. Reduce delay and fuel consumption for incident conditions.   Same as 1.
3. Reduce emissions.   Kg of CO, NOX, SO2, CO2.
4. Reduce accidents resulting from signal outages.   Accidents reduced.
5. Reduce secondary accidents resulting from incidents.   Same as 4.
6. Improved public perception of signal and management center operations.   Rating scale.
7. Serve as a diversion route for corridor operations.   Same as 1 and 3.
8. Provide preemption for emergency vehicles and railroads.   a)   Number of emergency vehicles provided preemption.
b)   Negative impact on general traffic.
9. Provide transit priority.   a)      Traveler hours reduced.
b)      Improvement in schedule c) Adherence.
10. Support emergency evacuations.   Availability of plans.
11. Provide traffic information to public and private traffic information services.   Checklist for information supplied.
12. Data for planning and evaluation.   Employment of data by agency or MPO.
13. Improve internal efficiency of department operations.

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