Adaptive Signal Control Technology


What is Adaptive Signal Control Technology?

Poor traffic signal timing contributes to traffic congestion and delay. Conventional signal systems use pre-programmed, daily signal timing schedules. Adaptive signal control technology adjusts the timing of red, yellow and green lights to accommodate changing traffic patterns and ease traffic congestion.

Adaptive Signal Control Technologies (ASCT), in conjunction with well-engineered signal timing, can improve traffic flow. By receiving and processing data from strategically placed sensors, ASCT can determine which lights should be red and which should be green. ASCT helps improve the quality of service that travelers experience on local roads and highways. With less unnecessary delays, traffic moves more quickly and smoothly.

The process is simple. First, traffic sensors collect data. Next, traffic data is evaluated and signal timing improvements are developed. Finally, ASCT implements signal timing updates. The process is repeated every few minutes to keep traffic flowing smoothly. On average, FHWA estimates that ASCT improves travel time by more than 10 percent. In areas with particularly outdated signal timing, improvements can be 50 percent or more.

Learn more about this EDC-1 Innovation.

NJ Invests in Adaptive Signal Control Technology

Stage of Innovation:

New Jersey continues to advance Adaptive Traffic Signal Control Technologies through capital improvements and research:

Invested in Adaptive Signal Control Technologies on State Highway Corridors. NJDOT has invested in adaptive signal corridors along Route 130, Route 168, Route 32 with plans for further expansion to Route 40 and Route 18.

Developed the COAST-NJ Analysis Tool. NJDOT, in coordination with a consultant, has developed a quantitative tool to evaluate NJDOT signalized intersections and intersection zones based on a set of evaluation criteria to support prioritization of future investments.

Supports Adaptive Signal Control Technologies to prepare for emerging connected vehicle technologies and two-way communications between vehicles and signals. ASCT can improve the travel times and reliability of bus transit service through signal prioritization. ASCT contributes to an improved data and analytical foundation for addressing traffic congestion and delays through the development of Automated Traffic Signal Control Performance Measures (ATSPMs)—an initiative of EDC-4.