Arterial Management Program

Improving Traffic Signal Management and Operations: A Basic Service Model

Contact Information: Operations Feedback at
Arterial Management Program Web Site

U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration

December 2009

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Table of Contents

Notice and Quality Assurance Statement

Technical Report Documentation Page


About this Report

I. Background

II. Literature Review

GAO Report to Congress and the ITE Toolbox

Traffic Signal Report Card and Self Assessment

III. Case Studies

Agency Archetypes

Archetype 1. High-Activity Response to Adequate (Staffing) Resources

Archetype 2. Infrastructure-Rich Response to Abundant (Capital) Resources

Archetype 3. Well-Managed Response to Limited (Capital and Staffing) Resources

Archetype 4. Insufficiently Managed Response to Limited Resources

Archetype 5. Special Issues with Highly Dispersed Infrastructure (Typical State Agency)

Features of Successful Archetypes

Basic Service Concept

Field Infrastructure Reliability

Minimizing and Balancing Congestion

Smooth Flow

Predictable and Consistent Response

Signal Timing Versatility

IV. Interviews

Local Agency Traffic Signal Program Manager

State Agency Traffic Signal Program Manager


V. Implementing a Basic Service Concept: The Traffic Signal Management Plan

Clarity of Objectives

Attainable Performance Measures and Standards of Performance

Field Infrastructure Reliability

Signal Timing

Objective-Based Resource Allocation

Clear Communication Up the Line

Meaningful Systems Engineering

Sample Outline for a Traffic Signal Management Plan

Chapter 1. Objectives and Requirements.

Chapter 2. Responsiveness to Citizens, Media, Policy Makers, and Elected Officials

Chapter 3. Maintenance Strategies to Achieve Objectives

Chapter 4. Operations Strategies to Achieve Objectives

Chapter 5. Design Strategies to Achieve Objectives

Appendix 1. Signal Timing Versatility Concepts

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