Traffic Signals can and do affect our lives each and every day, with commuters in Houston encountering traffic signals in nearly every route they travel. Although signalized intersections are in place for increased safety, they are often a source of delay and frustration. Outdated/ poor signal timing and equipment make your commute even more hectic and unpredictable.
Improving timing and equipment performance at signalized intersections is a very cost effective way to facilitate traffic flow along a specific corridor. By retiming existing traffic signals to current traffic patterns and assuring signal equipment is up-to-date, the efficiency of each intersection increases dramatically. Improved traffic flow equates to reduced intersection delays, lower air pollution/vehicular emissions, and reduced gasoline consumption. These positive benefits mean commuters save time and money!
City of Houston's Solution - Signal Performance Improvement
Houston has over 2,300 signalized intersections maintained and operated by the City of Houston. The Department of Public Works and Engineering's Traffic Signal Performance Improvement Program (TSPIP) is an effort to ensure the city's traffic signals are using the latest traffic data and equipment, while taking advantage of the most recent technologies to produce new, customized signal timings. The central approach of TSPIP is to provide an optimized level of traffic signal operation on Houston's most heavily traveled corridors and throughout some of its most densely populated employment areas.
The Signal Timing and Operations Section, housed at Houston TranStar, is the program management group for TSPIP. Program management functions:
- Initial plan development - defining the scope/corridors/zones/time schedules, etc.
- Ensuring the adherence of all implementation "roll outs" to the program schedule.
- Ensuring proper quality assurance/quality control measures.
In addition to providing the program management for TSPIP, the Signal Timing and Operations Section is responsible for developing signal optimization plans for all of the selected zones. Their role in this process consists of field timing and equipment inventory data collection, timing plan design, signal timing implementation, and results validation.
This program has been an effort to proactively address traffic signal synchronization issues in the City of Houston. Initially a 2-phase program beginning in January, 2004 (Phase 1) and concluding in December, 2005 (Phase 2), it was previously known as TSTOP (Traffic Signal Timing Optimization Program). The program is designed to address an average of 800 traffic signals per year, assuring every signalized intersection is reevaluated every three years.
TSPIP - 2011/2012 and Future TSPIP's
The Signal Timing and Operations Section continues to improve the operation of all Houston signalized intersections on a 3-year rotational program. This means that each signal within the City of Houston is retimed every three years. Between 800-900 traffic signals are evaluated and optimized each year. All traffic signals are continuously monitored in order to assure quality and control throughout the city.
In TSPIP 2011-2012, signal performance improvements continue with the following areas:
- West Area – 190 Traffic Signals
- Southwest Area – 180 Traffic Signals
- South Area – 90 Traffic Signals
- Southeast Area – 360 Traffic Signals
All these zones will be optimized, integrating adjacent intersections in order to establish a network operation model that works well with the major corridors in each zone. Each year the City of Houston rotates various zones to cover all areas on a continual basis. TSPIP 2012-2013 will include mostly central business zones such as Spur 527, Texas Medical Center and Downtown, and Kingwood area. Traffic congestion is a major issue for Houstonians and traffic signal performance improvements are an excellent investment with significant benefits to our city's future traffic operations.
Houston TranStar - Transportation and Emergency Management Center.
Traffic Signal Performance Improvement Program Map - 2011 - 2012.
Traffic Signal Performance Improvement Program Overall Map - 2010-2013.
If you have any questions or comments about the City of Houston's Traffic Signal Performance Improvement Program (TSPIP), please contact Houston TranStar at 713-881-3172.