T3 Webinar Overview

Virtual Intersections: Using Simulated Traffic Signals in Mobile Signal Timing (MOST) Training

View Webinar: link to this webinar's archive materials

Originally presented under the title: A New Approach to Traffic Signal Timing Education and Training: Mobile Signal Timing Training (MOST) Webinar

Date:   April 15, 2009
Time:  1:00 PM – 2:30 PM ET
Cost:  All T3 webinars are free of charge
PDH:  1.5   View PDH Policy

T3 Webinars are brought to you by the ITS Professional Capacity Building Program (ITS PCB) at the U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) ITS Joint Program Office, Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA). Reference in this webinar to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public, and does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by U.S. Department of Transportation.


This T3 webinar introduces Mobile Signal Timing (MOST) training, an exciting new approach to learning traffic signal timing. MOST uses a simulated traffic signal environment to provide traffic engineers with immediate visual feedback on how changes to signal timing parameters affect the quality of traffic operations at a signalized intersection. This T3 webinar will provide an overview of the tools and concepts used in the MOST training, and will include demonstrations of the laboratories and the simulation software as it responds to real-world signal timing scenarios. The MOST training is currently being developed and is geared toward practicing traffic engineers in state or local transportation agencies, as well as toward new engineers embarking on their career. This webinar is an overview of the simulations and tools used in MOST training. Itís intended to highlight the unique delivery of MOST training. It is not the full MOST training course.

The approach used in the MOST course is based on seven laboratories and nearly forty separate experiments in which students are (1) presented with a clear learning objective, (2) given one or more tasks that involve intensive observation of and/or data collection at a signalized intersection, and (3) taken through a thoughtful and guided analysis and interpretation of the results of the observation and data collection within the framework of the learning objective. The students learn by observation, by doing, and by reflection on what they observed and did. This active learning process is more difficult than simply listening to a lecture or slide presentation but it nearly always guarantees a deeper learning and understanding of the subject matter than those that result from more passive learning environments.

The MOST training course, currently being developed, will expand significantly on the concepts presented in the webinar. You can learn more about the MOST course at the following web site: http://www.webs1.uidaho.edu/most/.

More about MOST Training

The MOST training course includes seven separate laboratories, with nearly forty individual experiments. Each experiment has one or more learning objectives that guide the student's work during that experiment. Five of the laboratories cover isolated actuated intersection operations, while two cover coordinated signal systems.

Students use the MOST simulation environment to directly see the results of their phasing plan and timing parameters that they set. Using VISSIM's animation and movie files, combined with the phasing and timing plans, students visually experience the duration of a green interval, the length of a queue, or the delay experienced by vehicles traveling through a signalized intersection. Students use this information to make judgments about the quality of intersection performance, and whether further adjustments to the signal timing are needed to improve intersection operations. Students will find that MOST training is nearly as good as standing out at an intersection, with one eye on the traffic and the other on the controller cabinet.

It should be noted that the MOST course is not about learning to use a specific simulation model or a specific traffic signal controller, even though experiments are conducted using the VISSIM microsimulation model and Econolite's ASC/3 controller emulator, respectively. Furthermore, the training does not recommend guidelines or standards (the newly-released Traffic Signal Timing Manual produced by the Federal Highway Administration will provide you with this type of information). The focus of MOST training is on experimenting with simulated environments, analyzing data, drawing conclusions about what makes good signal timing practice, and implementing those practices in the field.

MOST Training Developers

The developers of this new tool include the University of Idaho, Purdue University, the University of Tennessee, Pline Engineering, PTV America, and Econolite Control Products.

Target Audience

The audience for this webinar includes transportation professionals who are responsible for traffic signal systems, university faculty who teach or conduct research in the traffic signal system area, and professional development staff who are responsible for instruction in the area of traffic operations.

Learning Objectives

Once the webinar is completed, a participant will understand:


The following members of the MOST project team will present information on the MOST course, including demonstrations of the simulation environment and experiments that have been developed.


Paul Olson, FHWA Resource Center, Lakewood, CO


Michael Kyte, University of Idaho
Michael Kyte is the director of the University of Idaho's National Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology. His interests include traffic signal operations, highway capacity, and transportation education.

Tom Urbanik, Econolite Control Products, Inc.
Tom Urbanik is the Goodrich Chair of Excellence in Transportation at the University of Tennessee. His research interests include advanced transportation management systems, traffic engineering, transportation planning, evacuation planning, and public transportation.

Darcy Bullock, Purdue University
Darcy Bullock is faculty member in the School of Civil Engineering at Purdue University. His teaching and research are in the area of traffic signal operations and traffic signal performance measures.

Kiel Ova, P.E., PTOE, PTV America
Kiel Ova is a Principal at PTV America Inc. Ova received his Bachelor and Masters of Science degrees in Civil Engineering from North Dakota State University.