ITE Journal - March 2020 - 42

diverse, covering areas from rural to urban; vehicle traffic conditions
that range from light to congested; and users including pedestrians,
bicycles, transit, freight, and rail. The agencies involved vary in terms
of their understanding and knowledge of their own capabilities and
organizational maturity. As a consequence, the practical method to
improve traffic signal programs is to develop strategies that can be
implemented on an incremental basis from different starting points.
By following a structured process, agencies can identify their current
and desired levels of capability within program area.
To meet the purpose and intent of improving organizational
capability to manage transportation on the nation's roadways, a
programmatic approach to traffic signal management and operations
ensures that transportation goals such as safety, mobility, reliability,
and state-of-good-repair are attained within the organization's
capability and resource constraints. The maturity of each area of the
program can be assessed to determine the level of risks to sustained
attainment of the programs objectives. The recommended approach
is to organize as an agency service delivery for traffic signal systems
around the Traffic Signal Program Model, as shown in Figure 3.
The model simplifies and illustrates the relationships between
the four core areas of a traffic signal program:
ƒƒ Infrastructure, Systems, and Technology, shown as hierarchal
triangle on the left
ƒƒ Workforce, shown as rectangle at the bottom
ƒƒ Tasks and Business Processes, shown as a rectangle at the top
ƒƒ Management and Administration, shown as a rectangle
on the right

FHWA

Traffic signal program objectives, shown at the center of the
model, are the output of a process that continually evaluates context to
extract attainable objectives from goals (shown in detail in Figure 4).

Figure 4. Traffic Signal Program Model Goals, Context, Objectives,
Strategies, and Tactics.
Goals are the high-level, broad expressions of the desired
outcomes experienced by stakeholders. Context is the dynamic
42

Ma rch 2020

ite j o u rn al

physical, operational, and organizational influence that determines
the priority of the goals and leads to a selection of attainable
objectives. The process of evaluating context is ongoing, and the
program should be able to attain all identified objectives. Objectives
are what the program must do to make progress towards one or
more goals. Within each area of the program areas are the activities
(strategies) and the methods (tactics) that must be applied to attain
objectives. The reliability of the program to consistently deliver
activities and methods that attain objectives is assessed through
evaluation of the program process using the Self Assessment.
The infrastructure, systems, and technology shown in Figure
2 are an outcome of the program; the arrows shown between each
area of the program and objectives illustrate the close relationship
between all program areas. The application of the Self Assessment
provides an evaluation of how reliably the programs processes will
sustain attainment of the objectives. The Self Assessment is a tool used
in the traffic signal program plan to identify gaps in capability to
support the development of an action plan for program improvement.
A successful program effectively balances the activities of the four
program areas to ensure objectives are persistently attained.

Making Your Case - Actions to Take Now
A well-crafted Traffic Signal Management Plan (TSMP) provides
a mechanism for all program stakeholders to clearly articulate the
relationship between the activities of the traffic signal program and
the goals of the transportation agency and larger transportation
system management and operations (TSMO) context. Relating
the activities of the program to agency and TSMO goals with the
support of objectives and performance measures is fundamental
to gaining the support of stakeholders for the program and critical
to successfully competing for resources. A TSMP does the work of
demonstrating the connection between traffic signal operations and
maintenance activities and organizational and TSMO goals, such
as safety, mobility, reliability, resilience, and efficiency. The TSMP
development process is show in Figure 5.
The following are recommended steps for agencies in defining
key objectives around a TSMP:
ƒƒ Identify and champion a committee to discuss the need for and
approach to developing the TSMP.
ƒƒ Agencies can jump-start traffic signal program planning by
routinely completing the Traffic Signal Benchmarking and Self
Assessment Survey and include meaningful measures that are
directly connected to the programs objectives.
ƒƒ Kick-off a development process for the TSMP.
ƒƒ Create an action plan developed as an outcome of completing
the Self Assessment and subsequent TSMP development process
to provide a number of steps an organization might consider
implementing to address risks related to a particular dimension
and level of capability.



ITE Journal - March 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ITE Journal - March 2020

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