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Traffic Control Systems Handbook


This Handbook assists users in defining, evaluating, and selecting systems that match their needs. This chapter presents a broad overview of system functions and available options for both hardware and software.

Since the 1996 edition of the Traffic Control Systems Handbook, surface street traffic control systems technology has seen significant advances in the following areas:

  • Improved traffic signal controllers.
  • Increased use of CCTV and changeable message signs (CMS) on surface streets.
  • Increased use of non-pavement-invasive detectors.
  • Improved transit priority strategies and equipment based on the use of GPS technology.
  • Increased use of fiber optic cable for interconnection of traffic signal controllers and communication with other field devices.
  • Increased use of standardized protocols to migrate data between intersection controllers and field master controllers or traffic management centers.
  • The period since the last edition of the Traffic Control Systems Handbook has also witnessed the following improvements in control strategies and operations:

  • Greater information migration among adjacent and nearby traffic management centers.
  • Increased coordination of signals across neighboring jurisdictions and traffic control systems.
  • Increased use of adaptive traffic control systems.
  • Improved coordination of surface street and freeway operations.
  • Provision of traffic control systems with software that facilitates the automatic migration of signal timing plan data derived from signal timing programs into the traffic control system database.
  • 2.2 Control and Management Functions

    Control and management functions may include the following:

  • Collection of data for development of signal timing plans and other functions (identification of control section boundaries and provision of parameters in the traffic control systems).
  • Development of timing plans and the remainder of the traffic control system database.
  • Implementation of signal timing plans, such as:
  • Pretimed.
  • Traffic responsive.
  • Operator selection of timing plans based on data provided by the traffic control system, CCTV and other information sources.


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