CATS Transportation Seminar Series & CAEM Graduate Seminar: Place of Adaptive Traffic Control Systems in the US Traffic Signals Market – Where are we and where shall we go?

Dr. Aleksandar Stevanovic Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Pittsburgh


noon to 1 p.m., Feb. 25, 2022




Adaptive Traffic Control Systems have been in use since late ‘70s. In the US, they have been having a “rocky road” for a good part of their existence. However, during the last decade we have witnessed many ATCS deployments in the US. One would expect that such a deployment boom is accompanied by a clear and unquestioned consensus, among the US traffic signal stakeholders, that the ATCSs are a ‘way to go’ in our attempts to improve efficiency, safety, and environmental impacts of urban traffic operations. However, the real picture of ATCS’s acceptance is far from clear and simple. While installed at much higher numbers than before, these systems are also much more often (almost always silently, though) turned off and decommissioned. As often revered as feared, these systems are still poorly understood, both from their technological perspectives as well as from perspective of their business and institutional requirements. This presentation will try to demystify some of the common myths about the ATCSs. It will address some of the lessons learned from previous NCHRP studies on this subject, but it will also discuss why we have such an unclear state about position, benefits, and significance of the ATCS in the US traffic signals market. Finally, the presentation will conclude with some future opportunities to improve ATCS operations and our collective understanding of them.


Abolfazl Karimpour