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Measures of Effectiveness and Validation Guidance for Adaptive Signal Control Technologies



This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers’ names may appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

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Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.


2. Government Accession No.

3. Recipient’s Catalog No.

4. Title and Subtitle

Measures of Effectiveness and Validation Guidance for Adaptive Signal Control Technologies

5. Report Date

July 2013

6. Performing Organization Code

7. Author(s)

Douglas Gettman, Edward Fok, Eddie Curtis, Kent Kacir Dan Ormand, Matthew Mayer, Erin Flanigan

8. Performing Organization Report No.

9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Kimley Horn and Associates, Inc.
7740 North 16th Street, 3rd Floor
Phoenix, AZ 85020

Under contract to Cambridge Systematics, Inc.

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)

11. Contract or Grant No.


12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
Office of Operations
1200 New Jersey Ave, SE
Washington, D.C. 20590

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Final Report

14. Sponsoring Agency Code


15. Supplementary Notes

The COTM for FHWA is Edward Fok.

16. Abstract

As part of the Every Day Counts initiative, FHWA is promoting the implementation of Adaptive Signal Control Technology (ASCT) to improve traffic signal system operations in the United States. Among the other “low-hanging fruit” technologies in the Every Day Counts program (e.g., rumble strips, safety edge), ASCT technology has been in existence for many years but has not seen widespread acceptance. ASCTs have not historically been implemented widely due their cost and complexity (perceived or real) compounded by a lack of clear documentation of benefits. One reason for the uncertainty about benefits of ASCT is due to the wide variation in cost, complexity, and performance reporting methodologies of evaluation studies for ASCT.

In this project, generic measures of effectiveness and validation tools were developed for agencies to validate that selected ASCT meet their performance objectives. In addition, the process and tools can be applied to traditional coordinated-actuated signal timing as well. The report identifies how each of the measures and processes can be used for validation of ASCT. Guidance on improving the state of the practice is provided.

This approach was tested at a field site in Mesa, Arizona where an ASCT system has been deployed for over one year. The City of Mesa allowed the test phase to include approximately 30 days during which the ASCT was turned off and background coordination patterns were used instead. Detailed findings for the validation approach are provided in Appendices to the main report.

17. Key Words

Adaptive traffic signal control, traffic signal performance measures, evaluation of adaptive traffic signals, systems engineering, validation

18. Distribution Statement

No Restrictions.

19. Security Classif. (of this report)


20. Security Classif. (of this page)


21. No of Pages


22. Price


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