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5.2 Case Study 2 Key lessons learned – Baltimore Traffic Management

System Description

The City of Baltimore Integrated Traffic Management System is a major upgrade of the City of Baltimore's street traffic management system.  It involved replacement of all traffic signal controllers and cabinets, installation of additional closed circuit television cameras, upgrading and expansion of center-to-field communications infrastructure, video exchange with CHART, a new traffic management center, new central computer hardware and software for remote management of field devices, and updated traffic signal timings.

The Key Lessons Learned from the Baltimore Integrated TMS Project

Use of an experienced program manager and the systems engineering process enabled a complex project to be successful.


Flexible contracts with the program manager and system integrator enabled the contracts to be changed midstream to accommodate unforeseen or changed conditions.

Use of the NTCIP communications standard was key to enabling integration of central software and field equipment from different manufacturers, and in giving the City the option to purchase future field equipment from different manufacturers.

Thorough and realistic testing at every stage of system implementation, involving the owning agency in testing, and testing every change no matter how small and seemingly inconsequential, helps with progress monitoring and avoids expensive and time consuming field retrofits. 

Contractor submittals should include a signatures page that all concerned personnel must sign before work can proceed.  This ensures the document has been reviewed and approved by all interested parties. 

Use of old equipment can lead to unforeseen problems that need to be accommodated.  Facilities that work fine with an existing system may not be adequate for the new system with its different characteristics.

Contracts should clearly delineate boundaries of responsibilities between the involved parties.

Adequate training of all involved personnel is important, especially when new technology is being used or existing technology is being used in a new way.

A carefully planned and methodical cut-over plan can add to the efficiency of changing over from old to new equipment.


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