PennDOT creates new web application for managing traffic signals

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Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has taken another step toward its goal of improved management of traffic signals with the creation of a new web application with a pre-populated database that consolidates information from approximately 8,700 traffic signals located on state routes.

The one-stop electronic information warehouse will make it easier for PennDOT, municipalities and planning partners to oversee operations and improvements to the signals, a key factor in traffic flow around Pennsylvania. The system is available to municipalities, planning partners, and contractors or consultants working on their behalf. Users will have access to the web application using their existing engineering and construction management system (ECMS) account, or by requesting a new ECMS account.

The database was supported through the Green Light-Go program, which was made possible by the state transportation funding plan Act 89, and was created to help underwrite signal enhancements across the state. More than three-quarters of PennDOT’s annual budget is invested in Pennsylvania’s approximately 120,000 miles (193,120km) of state and local highways and 32,000 state and local bridges, although PennDOT only has direct responsibility for nearly 40,000 miles (64,373km) of highway and roughly 25,000 bridges.

Prior to the creation of the new web application, also known as the Traffic Signals Asset Management System (TSAMS), traffic signal information was scattered among paper records at a variety of locations, making it difficult to know the basis on which improvements could be developed and delivered. PennDOT traffic operations staff worked with local partners to gather information on signal equipment, locations and connections to populate the database. It includes a GIS mapping interface and will have the ability to accept additional data over time on signals at intersections that are located on state routes and local roads. In addition to signals, other assets such as electronic signs, flashing warning devices and school zone speed limit signs can also be added to the database.

“Our traffic operations team has worked incredibly long and hard with our district staff and local partners to assemble the best available traffic signal data for this database,” said PennDOT secretary Leslie S Richards. “This free tool puts this information in one easily accessible spot and will make a huge difference as we and our partners make ongoing improvements to signals and traffic flow. We offer this web application at no cost to municipalities or planning partners. This important new tool will help us identify traffic signal needs and better plan for future improvements. Properly maintained and operated signals make a huge difference in traffic flow, and this is one way we can effectively address congestion short of adding expensive new capacity.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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