Integration of New Traffic Signal Actuation Concepts using Enhanced Detector Information

Current traffic signal controller technology and associated methods of signal actuation make use of a “binary” (on/off) states to measure vehicle presence at fixed locations (detection zones) near an intersection. This provides a relatively limited view of demands at an intersection. For example, an active presence state on any detector typically indicates that one or more vehicles are present. The controller does not know if there are one or many vehicles present in that zone. In recent years, advances in sensor technology have made it feasible to begin obtaining enhanced information about vehicle demands at intersections. Rather than only capturing vehicle presence, the distances and speeds of vehicles nearby intersections can be obtained. This capability has existed within some detection technologies (such as radar) for some time. However, signal controllers cannot directly make use of the data; because they only accept a binary input, the enhanced information bust be reduced to a simple presence impulse. Therefore, the full value of this existing technology is not being realized. Another feature recently introduced into many traffic signal controllers is a capability to transmit information to other controllers through peer-to-peer communication. This capability would permit additional enhancement of signal controllers by permitting them to communicate information to each other directly. The objective of this research is to develop field-tested methods of integrating vehicle trajectory data into actuated signal control that can be directly implemented in traffic signal controllers. Preliminary research has shown that safety and mobility improvements can be gained through use of vehicle speed and position data obtainable form existing controllers; this research seeks to expand this concept to improve the control algorithms and develop a path to implementation. The work is envisioned as a Pooled Fund Study involving several states, with field testing both in Iowa and elsewhere. A draft scope has been developed in which Phase I seeks to define basic concepts with preliminary field testing, and Phase II seeks to move to pilot implementations and validation.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $595032
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    Georgia Department of Transportation

    600 West Peachtree St
    Atlanta, GA  United States  30308

    Iowa Department of Transportation

    800 Lincoln Way
    Ames, IA  United States  50010

    Pennsylvania Department of Transportation

    Keystone Building
    400 North Street
    Harrisburg, PA  United States  17120

    Texas Department of Transportation

    125 E. 11th Street
    Austin, TX  United States  78701-2483

    Utah Department of Transportation

    4501 South 2700 West
    Project Development
    Salt Lake City, UT  United States  84114-8380
  • Managing Organizations:

    Iowa Department of Transportation

    800 Lincoln Way
    Ames, IA  United States  50010
  • Project Managers:

    Clute, Khyle

  • Performing Organizations:

    Iowa State University, Ames

    Center for Transportation Research and Education
    2711 South Loop Drive, Suite 4700
    Ames, IA  United States  50010-8664
  • Principal Investigators:

    Day, Christopher

  • Start Date: 20220201
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20260228

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01776647
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Federal Highway Administration
  • Contract Numbers: TPF-5(483)
  • Created Date: Jul 16 2021 10:12AM