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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-17-007    Date:  June 2018
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-17-007
Date: June 2018


Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology Evaluation Final Report: Adaptive Signal Control

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The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Research and Technology (R&T) Program furthers the FHWA Office of Research, Development, and Technology’s goal of ensuring transparency, accessibility, and responsiveness of R&T for all stakeholders.

This report examines how FHWA’s investment in adaptive signal control (ASC) research and increasing awareness of ASC technologies has affected the development and deployment of
these technologies. This report should be of interest to engineers, practitioners, researchers, and decisionmakers involved with the research, design, performance, and management of traffic signals.

Hari Kalla, P.E.
Associate Administrator, Office of Research,
Development, and Technology


This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers’ names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

Quality Assurance Statement

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.


Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.


2. Government Accession No.


3 Recipient's Catalog No.


4. Title and Subtitle

Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology Evaluation Final Report: Adaptive Signal Control

5. Report Date

June 2018

6. Performing Organization Code

OST-R V-321

7. Author(s)

Sari Radin, Lora Chajka-Cadin, Emily Futcher, Jonathan Badgley, and Jacob Mittleman

8. Performing Organization Report No.


9. Performing Organization Name and Address

John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
55 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02142–1001

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)


11. Contract or Grant No.


12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Office of Corporate Research, Technology, and Innovation Management
Federal Highway Administration
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101–2296

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Final Report; June 2014–January 2016

14. Sponsoring Agency Code


15. Supplementary Notes

The Research and Technology Program Manager and the Contracting Officer’s Representative for this report was John Moulden (HRTM-10).

16. Abstract

As part of the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Research and Technology Program evaluation, this report documents the findings of a summative evaluation of various adaptive signal control technology (ASCT) research and outreach activities conducted by FHWA over the course of more than 20 yr. The evaluation considers the ways in which FHWA’s investment in ASCT research and related outreach activities have influenced the development and deployment of these technologies. The evaluation also addresses the short-term impacts of ASCT deployments, including reduced traffic congestion and delays. Due to the extended timeline of the program, the research and outreach activities were chronologically categorized into three distinct phases, and each was evaluated on its influence on ASCT development and deployment. This report also identifies challenges and lessons learned that may be applied to further intelligent transportation systems research.

17. Key Words

Research, Technology, Evaluation, Adaptive signal control, Congestion management

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161.

19. Security Classification
(of this report)


20. Security Classification
(of this page)


21. No. of Pages


22. Price


Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72) Reproduction of completed page authorized




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Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center | 6300 Georgetown Pike | McLean, VA | 22101