Integration of Traffic Signal Systems across Multiple Jurisdictions

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This paper describes how it is very common that traffic signals are not coordinated across multiple jurisdictions even though the roadway geometrics are similar and traffic signals are in close proximity. However, from a motorist’s perspective, signal progression between two adjacent signals is needed for reducing unnecessary travel delay and maintaining smooth traffic flow along a major corridor. According to the National Traffic Signal Report Card, the traffic signal systems throughout the United States do not operate as an efficient, well-integrated system that meets the traveling public’s needs. Recently, more efforts have been started to move to the integration of traffic signal systems across multiple jurisdictions and are attempting to provide seamless coordination to meet public’s expectations. This paper uses a major signal retiming project of 13 signals along one of the major east-west corridors in Sarasota, Florida, to present an integration process of two jurisdictional traffic signal systems. It was a joint effort on communication, coordination, and cooperation among Sarasota County, the City of Sarasota, and Florida Department of Transportation District One. This paper provides the approaches used to overcome political challenges on funding, responsibility, and maintenance. It offers countermeasures to resolve technical challenges on common cycle lengths, communication methods, school zone issues, and intersection capacity problems. A before-and-after travel time study demonstrated that this signal integration project across jurisdictions reduced approximately 20 percent of travel time and saved about $5.6 million annually, including $4.4 million on productivity and $1.2 million on fuel consumption. This paper provides an excellent example of integrating multi jurisdictional traffic signal systems.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

ITE 2006 Annual Meeting and Exhibit, Compendium of Technical Papers, Washington, D.C., August 2006.