T3 Webinar Overview

Adaptive Signal Control Initiatives and Validation Program

View Webinar: link to this webinar's archive materials

Date:   September 18, 2012
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 webinar will introduce a generic validation process and tools to evaluate the effectiveness of traffic signal operation. Validation is an element of the systems engineering process that confirms the system implemented meets defined agency needs and objectives. The FHWA Model Systems Engineering Documents for Adaptive Signal Control Technology (ASCT) provides guidance and model documentation that agencies can use to articulate needs and requirements to facilitate the design, implementation, and procurement of Adaptive Signal Control Technology. The link to these documents can be found at the following website: http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/fhwahop11027/index.htm.

Uncertainty about the benefits of adaptive control has frequently been identified as a deployment barrier. The validation process was developed and tested as part of the FHWA Every Day Counts initiative to address this barrier by creating traceability between agency needs and objectives and the performance measures used to validate their achievement. While travel time and delay studies frequently demonstrate operational improvements after deployment of ASCT, they do little to connect system functionality to actions that produced the measured improvements. The speakers will provide an overview of the theoretical foundation, methodology, and field test of the validation process.


The goal of the Every Day Counts ASCT initiative is to mainstream the use of adaptive control where traffic conditions and agency capability support its implementation. FHWA has developed a model systems engineering process for the implementation of ASCT. The systems engineering (SE) process helps an agency develop objectives, a concept of operations, and system requirements to guide the design and implementation of ASCT. The validation technique completes the systems engineering cycle by introducing new generic process and tools to address the challenges in verifying impact of Adaptive Signal Control. These process and tools will allow agencies to determine if a selected system has met its stated requirement after implementation, including the validation of the system's performance objectives and goals. In addition, the process and tools can be applied to normal signal timing as well.

To engage in a national discussion about adaptive control or any aspect of traffic signal management, operation, or maintenance, join the National Transportation Operations Coalition (NTOC) Traffic Signal Library and User Forum by visiting https://ntoctsl.groupsite.com/.

Webinar presenters are Dr. Douglas Gettman, Kimley-Horn & Associates (Phoenix, Arizona) and Edward Smaglik, Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff, AZ).

The webinar will be hosted by Ed Fok of the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Office of Technical Service/Resource Center.

Target Audience

Agencies involved in the management and operation of traffic signal systems.

Learning Objectives



Ed Fok, FHWA Resource Center

photograph of Ed Fok

Edward Fok is a Transportation Technology Specialist with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Technical Service/Resource Center. His current role is to support agencies around the country in deploying state of the art systems and processes while helping researchers to advance the state of the art. Ed came to FHWA with 11 years of experience from City of Los Angeles Dept of Transportation. His experience includes: arterial operations, urban transportation management, integrated corridor operations, application and development of adaptive control systems, development of advanced field devices, and development of online applications. Mr. Fok has B.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering. He is licensed in electrical engineering, traffic engineering, and professional traffic operations engineering.


Dr. Douglas Gettman, Kimley-Horn & Associates

photograph of Dr. Douglas Gettman

Dr. Douglas Gettman has 19 years of experience in adaptive traffic control, intelligent transportation systems management software (central and field controller), and transportation system modeling and simulation. Dr. Gettman has developed, deployed, integrated, and supported Advanced Traffic Management Systems (ATMS) for Cities, Counties, and State DOTs across North America including Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, Texas, Ontario, Ohio, and Nevada. Dr. Gettman has been principal investigator for ACSLITE, Surrogate Safety Assessment Methodology, and National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) 03-90 operation of traffic signal systems in oversaturated conditions. Currently, Dr. Gettman is leading the development of tools and implementation of a methodology for validation that adaptive traffic control systems meet their operational objectives as part of the Every Day Counts program. Dr. Gettman is currently an associate of the ITS software technology team of Kimley-Horn & Associates in Phoenix, Arizona. Dr. Gettman has Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorate degrees in systems engineering from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona.

Edward Smaglik, Northern Arizona University

photograph of Edward Smaglik

Edward Smaglik is currently an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering in the Department of Civil Engineering, Construction Management, and Environmental Engineering at Northern Arizona University. He has over 5 years of academic research and teaching experience, preceded by 2 years of experience as a post-doctoral research associate. He currently serves as a member of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) AHB25 Traffic Signal Systems Committee as well as the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Streets and Highway Operations Committee.