Use a regional approach for traffic signal systems operations to realize cost efficiencies.

The City of Minneapolis Department of Public Works' experience.

February, 2004
Minneapolis,Minnesota,United States

Background (Show)

Lesson Learned

In February 2004, the National Transportation Operations Coalition (NTOC) Traffic Signal Action team utilized its recently developed self-assessment tool to provide the City of Minneapolis Department of Public Works with an assessment of its traffic signal management and operations program. The assessment team concluded that the city is working hard to keep the basic system elements running as efficiently as possible, but the city lacks a coherent program. In particular, a key finding was that there are no connections of any significance between the Minneapolis traffic signal systems and that of neighboring agencies and the Minnesota Department of Transportation. For example, MNDOT manages the ramp meter systems, and the city manages the traffic signals at the ramp terminals, but there are no signal hardware connections between the two systems.

Based on their findings, the assessment team offered the following lesson learned:
  • Build a regional program for system operation and investments. The city should begin to work with other regional transportation operators to develop a plan for regional operations. Under current operations, each agency maintains its own individual systems, resulting in duplicate systems throughout the region and significant inefficiencies. Through regional collaboration, agencies can share resources, personnel and systems, potentially providing significant operational improvements for a much lower life cycle cost. Other benefits include improved incident response and improved traffic flow across jurisdictional boundaries.

    The regional partnership should consider developing a detailed concept of operations to define exactly how the overall transportation system will be operated. This effort should be an extension of the regional ITS Architecture development work.
To date, agencies and the Minnesota DOT have been operating their systems independently, resulting in significant operational and cost inefficiencies. Transportation systems are by their nature regional systems. Through adopting a regional approach, cities can share their resources and operate their systems more efficiently, thus maximizing safety and mobility benefits to drivers.

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Assessment of City of Minneapolis Traffic Signal Management and Operations Program

Author: National Transportation Operations Coalition Traffic Signal Action Team (NTOC), in association with AASHTO, ITE, ITS America, APWA, FHWA and University of Maryland

Published By: National Transportation Operations Coalition Traffic Signal Action Team (NTOC)

Source Date: February, 2004

URL: http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/www/groups/public/@council/documents/webcontent/convert_274339.pdf

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Lesson Contacts

Lesson Contact(s):

Paul Olson
FHWA Resource Center
720- 963-3239

Lesson Analyst:

Margaret Petrella
RITA/Volpe National Transportation Systems Center


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Lesson ID: 2007-00412