Traffic management starts with the goal of pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles moving through roadways and corridors safely and efficiently. But as cities grow and evolve, gradual or sudden changes can put strain on the traffic network. For the average driver, who spends the equivalent of seven, 40-hour work weeks behind the wheel, traffic congestion can make daily commutes a frustrating experience. And in the end, you’ll hear about it.
So, what can you do to keep traffic moving efficiently and the complaints to a minimum? It starts with creating healthy intersections with a smart system that can continuously identify and help you address operational performance issues.
What are ATSPMs?
Automated Traffic Signal Performance Measures (ATSPMs) are performance measures produced through the extraction of high-resolution data from traffic infrastructure available at signalized intersections. This information helps traffic engineers identify problems and implement data-driven solutions to issues affecting the traffic network. Key performance measures are collected on a continuous basis, and can then be extracted, sent, analyzed, and displayed in a user-friendly format to provide valuable information about the effectiveness of the intersection and corridors.
Implementing the right technology is the first step but ensuring peak performance of the traffic infrastructure comes down to three key factors: maintenance, operations, and optimization.
Stay one step ahead
Effective ATSPM technology should alert you to problems as soon as they occur. Proactive notifications for maintenance and potential failures (such as signal failures or broken pedestrian and vehicle detectors) will help keep traffic flowing smoothly throughout the day. Look for a platform that delivers timely alerts so that maintenance can be done quickly and effectively, with minimal impact on the traffic network.
Efficient operations are everything
Operational issues not only result in traffic inefficiencies but they may also contribute to safety issues, such as rear-end collisions.
The following checklist outlines some key operational criteria that can be used to evaluate how well your intersections are running.
- Efficient Recall
This ensures that there’s no wasted time in light cycle operation, so that light times are always serving a vehicle, pedestrian, or pre-emptive purpose.
- Cycle Length Consistency
In coordinated operations, cycle length consistency is key. Ensure the controller keeps cycle length consistent to avoid offsets that can cause traffic issues.
- Proper Phase Termination
This element ensures light cycle lengths suit the situation, so that phases don’t terminate too quickly if there’s traffic demand or extend unnecessarily for random vehicles.
- Consistent Coordination
If a clock on a controller has shifted at one or more intersections, it can create a cycle offset in the traffic network. Coordination of green light times synchronizes intersections to promote efficient traffic flow but it’s important to check the coordination in the field to ensure the timing is operating as intended.
- Efficient Minimum Green
This element controls green light times so that they’re long enough to ensure the safe passage and clearance of vehicles at intersections, without wasting time at minor streets.
- Correct Timing Plan Implementation
ATSPMs can verify the programming of controllers to ensure timing plans have been implemented correctly and are operating as intended.
- Common Cycle Lengths (Coordination)
This element ensures that intersections on a dedicated Time of Day (TOD) plan are operating on the same cycle length to keep traffic flow consistent.
Optimize to achieve goals
Once traffic signal operations are functioning effectively, traffic engineers can start looking at how ATSPMs can optimize the traffic network to fulfill other priorities. For example, a timing plan can be customized to achieve a safer environment for vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians or cyclists. Another goal could be to balance minor roads and major roads, rather than giving priority to major road movements. In short, ATSPMs can play an integral role in the strategic planning and optimization of the traffic network to achieve city objectives.
Choose an all-in-one solution
Miovision TrafficLink is an all-in-one solution that scans the road network to help you understand the cause of a particular issue and not just the time of a problem – such as morning rush hour traffic, for example. Data is collected efficiently and displayed in a user-friendly format, so that traffic engineers can remotely manage and implement effective changes to their traffic signals.
Time and again, Miovision products are helping cities create positive transportation experiences with proven results.
Take a look for yourself – get in touch for a demo!