Since it's inception in 2004 the Traffic Signal Optimization Program (TSOP) has successfully completed ONE-HUNDRED AND TWELVE (112) projects that involved more than 1100 signalized intersections all across the region. The program continues to be highly supported and appreciated by member agencies. The program receives regional funds for executing new projects.  Projects launched through this program provide technical assistance to member agencies for improving traffic signal coordination, optimization and review of operations through simulation modeling. Assistance is provided by consultants hired by MAG through an on-call services contract.

What is signal coordination and optimization? This involves the implementation of the best possible timing settings to govern the operation of a traffic signal. The objective is to respond to the demands of motor vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians in a safe and optimum manner.  Signal optimization leads to the minimization of stops and delays, fuel consumption and air pollution emissions and maximizing the progression along an arterial.

Why is it necessary to optimize signals?  Traffic signal optimization is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve traffic movement and make our streets safer and efficient.  Signal optimization is performed for any or all of the following reasons:

  • To adjust signal timing to account for changes in traffic patterns due to new developments and traffic growth
  • To reduce motorist frustration and unsafe driving by reducing stops and delay
  • To improve traffic flow through a group of signals, thereby reducing emissions and fuel consumption
  • To postpone the need for costly long-term road capacity improvement by improving traffic flow with existing resources 

Signal optimization projects have been found to produce benefit to cost ratios as high as 40 to 1.
The TSOP has been championed by the MAG Intelligent Transportation Systems Program to provide traffic engineering assistance for refining signal operations across the MAG region. Typical TSOP projects cost about $30,000, with projects involving multiple agencies or coordination with freeways costing as much as $50,000.

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