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Traffic Signal Control System

The City of Scottsdale employs a centrally located computerized traffic signal system to monitor and control the nearly 300 traffic signals within the city. This system communicates with each signalized intersection once every second to monitor their operational status, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, using dedicated data quality phone lines and also some city-owned fiber optic lines.

The primary tasks of this system include: implementing pre-scheduled signal timing plans designed to handle normal daily shifts in traffic patterns, monitoring signals for nominal operation, allowing operators to make changes to signal timing when unexpected traffic incidents occur, and collect traffic data such as vehicle counts and average travel speeds.

The central computer is located in the Traffic Management Center (TMC) in the One Civic Center building. From this center, city staff can graphically view the operation of each intersection to determine if it is operating in the best possible timing plan. The amount of green time can also be adjusted from the TMC to reduce driver delays. During special events, operators working together with Police officers in the TMC, can adjust the green time at traffic signals to aid in moving traffic through and around the special events or other incidents.

In addition to traffic signal control, the TMC also has over 40 traffic monitoring cameras throughout the city. These have proven to be invaluable tools in identifying and monitoring congested areas and allowing operators to take appropriate actions to clear them. In the near future, images from these cameras will be available to drivers over the internet so that they can make informed decisions as to what routes they should take. The city also has over 20 permanently mounted electronic Dynamic Message Boards. These also provide drivers with critical routing information.

Tours of the Traffic Management Center are available upon request.

For more information, please contact:
Steve Ramsey, P.E., Senior Intelligent Transportation Systems Engineer
City of Scottsdale Transportation Department
Phone: 480-312-7935, Fax 480-312-4000
or e-mail Traffic Engineering