Why the FHWA is making ATSPMs a priority

ATSPMs present a significant opportunity for cities to reduce congestion and costs, while improving traffic flow

Automated Traffic Signal Performance Measures (ATSPMs) are a hot topic for transportation professionals in 2017. So much so, that the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has made ATSPMs a priority for Every Day Counts (EDC-4) this year. Why? Because, as the FHWA puts it, ATSPMs modernize traffic signal management. And, they can dramatically improve safety and efficiency while cutting down on congestion and cost.

Moving from reactive to proactive

“I think it’s so important to know what’s going on with our infrastructure. ATSPMs are a low-cost, high opportunity way to do that.”  Eddie Curtis, Traffic Management Specialist, FHWA.

ATSPMs consist of high-resolution data that allows traffic agency professionals to proactively find and correct flaws in the system. They provide the data and insights transportation professionals need to enhance their city. Armed with this data, traffic agencies can switch from reactive problem solving, to proactive city optimization. The FHWA Innovation Spotlight below, provides an overview of the key features and benefits of these vital performance measures.

What exactly are ATSPMs, you ask?

Download our handy Traffic Insights ATSPMs flash cards (get your copy here).

Faster, safer, and better traffic operations

ATSPMs allow traffic engineers to directly measure what they previously could only model. This high-resolution data helps agencies identify operational deficiencies, optimize mobility, and manage traffic signal timing and maintenance. These improvements lead to tangible citizen benefits, including reduced congestion, fuel cost savings, and improved safety on city streets.

#1: Fix problems faster

Active monitoring of signalized intersections means problems are immediately identified. This allows you to respond to and manage problems faster. Traffic delays are reduced to keep people and goods moving. The Institute of Transportation Engineers notes that comprehensive signal retiming programs, which rely on accurate and timely traffic data, have documented benefits of 7-13% reduction in overall travel time, 15-37% reduction in delay, and a 6-9% fuel savings.

#2: Improve safety

By responding to and managing traffic problems, cities can minimize outages that cause safety issues. And, proactively responding to concerns also helps reduce traffic congestion and accidents. A 2010 traffic study in Hillsborough County, FL noted a 17% reduction in total crashes in the 24-months following fine-tuning of traffic signal timing plans.

#3:  Demonstrate performance measures

ATSPMs allow you to assess the impact of changes or improvements to your traffic network through performance measures. In turn, this helps validate the good work being done by your traffic agency, measure the volume of work being accomplished, and makes it easier to secure funding for future projects.

#4: Proactively plan and manage your traffic network

Transportation professionals can use ATSPMs to effectively move from reactive problem solving to proactive city planning. That’s because, they provide the data required for traffic agencies to address problems before they escalate.

Want to learn more about ATSPMs?

If you’d like to learn more about ATSPMs, check out these online resources:


ATSPMs: Are your traffic signals ready?

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