ITE Journal - March 2020 - 41

and core capacities under development, but limited internal
accountability and uneven alignment with external partners.
ƒƒ Level 3: Measured - Standardized strategy applications
implemented in priority contexts and managed for performance;
technical and business processes developed, documented, and
integrated into DOT; partnerships aligned.
ƒƒ Level 4: Managed - Full, sustainable core DOT program
priority, established on the basis of continuous improvement
with top level management status and formal partnerships.
The grades from F to A are distributed among the levels to
provide a connection to prior traffic signal report card efforts.
Previous traffic signal report cards, completed in 2005, 2007,
and 2012, assigned incrementally increasing national scores of
D-, D and D+, respectively.2,3,4 These prior assessments focused
primarily on evaluating individual agency practices, relative to best
practice(s). The outcome of the prior process was a national traffic
signal management and operations score based on an aggregate
response to all self assessment questions. The 2018 Traffic Signal
Benchmarking Self Assessment approached creating a grade from
a capability maturity basis; the equivalent 2019 National Traffic
Signal Report Card score has improved to a national grade of C+.
This is a meaningful improvement. It demonstrates that
agencies are using established processes to support management
and operations of traffic signals to meet their own stated goals and
objectives rather than relying on ad hoc methods. The letter grade
represents a snapshot of national traffic signal program capability
and maturity, and represents the risk to these programs of not consistently meeting their core operations and maintenance objectives.

Benchmarking

An Approach to Improve Traffic Signal Programs
More than 3,000 agencies are involved in traffic signal management
and operations. The systems managed by these organizations are
diverse, ranging in size from as few as two traffic signals to more
than 10,000. The contexts surrounding these signals are equally

FHWA

The 2019 Traffic Signal Benchmarking and State of the Practice
Report is more than a scorecard of organizational capability.
The second part of the report is benchmarking which covers

demographic information about infrastructure, systems, and
organizations. Data from the U.S. Department of Transportation
Joint Program Office 2019 deployment tracking survey were
combined with data collected from the 2018 traffic signal self-assessment to highlight trends and provide a national benchmark in
the areas of traffic signal infrastructure, organizational characteristics, and systems and technology.5
Benchmarking traffic signal infrastructure, current practices,
and technology implementation is an essential tool to informing
the investment decisions of policymakers, department managers,
and transportation professionals, both now and into the future. The
2019 Traffic Signal Benchmarking and State of the Practice Report
explores the current state of these topics for agencies across the
United States. Benchmarking describes the current complexity,
extent, and processes that support traffic signal assets, and is
integral to informing investment decisions. This report captures
how these agencies are organized, as well as workforce trends,
technology implementation, and business processes involved in the
planning, design, operation, and maintenance of traffic signals. The
analysis methods examine if agencies are articulating goals and
objectives, and how they support their attainment by structuring
and organizing the areas of the program to manage risks.
At the beginning of this effort, the project team held a
structured interview process with a dozen selected representatives
of the target audiences from local, regional, and state agencies
known for their leadership in traffic signal program management.
The structure and focus of the resulting report is an outcome of
information collected and feedback from the interviews.

Figure 3. Traffic Signal Program Model.
w w w .i t e.or g

M a rch 2020

41


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