The $106 million capital cost for CommuterLink - the Salt Lake City, Utah advanced transportation management system - includes numerous components such as a signal system, ramp metering, traveler information dissemination, traffic surveillance and monitoring, and fiber optic network.

Capital Cost of TMC in Salt Lake City, UT

March 2004
Salt Lake City; Utah; United States

Summary Information

The Utah CommuterLink Advanced Transportation Management System (ATMS) was developed so that operators in the Utah DOT Traffic Operations Center (TOC) could monitor and manage freeway and arterial traffic flow in the Salt Lake Valley. The ATMS consists of numerous components: a signal system, incident management team (IMT), variable message signs (VMS), ramp metering stations, highway advisory radio (HAR) system, closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, traffic monitoring stations (TMS), and road weather information systems (RWIS). The TOC is connected to a Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County traffic control center. The field devices and centers are connected via a fiber optic network which was installed as part of the ATMS deployment.

In 2003, an evaluation of the Utah CommuterLink Advanced Transportation Management System (ATMS) was conducted to assess the benefits and costs of the system. The capital cost of the ATMS was approximately $106 million. Annual maintenance cost was $377,800 and annual operational cost was $2.3 million. Based on the capital cost and estimated life of the system, the annual capital cost was estimated at $8 million. Including annual maintenance and operational costs, a total of $10.7 million is the estimated amount for the relative annual costs. Annual benefits of the system were estimated at $179 million yielding a benefit-to-cost ratio of 16.7.

ATMS component costs excerpted from the report are provided in the table below.

Cycle Life (Years)
Total Capital Cost
Annual Maintenance Cost
Annual Operational Cost
Ramp Metering
Fiber Optic Conduit/Cable
Electronic Equip
Design Costs
Additional Personnel Costs
State TOC
City TOC
County TOC
Total System Costs

Over 600 of the 900 signals in the Salt Lake Valley are connected to the traffic operations center (TOC). With the installation of the communication system and central traffic control system, monitoring and adjusting the signal system for special events is performed at the TOC. In addition, UDOT has implemented over 50 coordinated corridors in the Salt Lake Valley. The cost of the signal system includes only the communication capability. The signals were already in place prior to the ATMS implementation.

The Utah ATMS includes over 230 cameras to observe incidents and congested areas. Camera coverage is primarily on freeways and grade-separated facilities; however, there are some deployments at key intersections on surface streets. The capital cost of the cameras includes the cameras and installation.

Utah DOT operates and maintains over 69 permanently mounted variable message signs (VMS) on freeways and surface streets as part of the ATMS. Portable message signs are also used along roadsides where there is no permanent VMS. The annual operating cost is based on power consumption.

The Utah DOT employs traffic monitoring stations (TMS) at approximately ½ mile intervals along Salt Lake Valley freeways. The in-pavement congestion sensors allow CommuterLink operators to monitor traffic conditions. The sensors provide operators with information on traffic volume, speed, and congestion. Annual operational cost is based on power consumption.

The Utah DOT employs 24 freeway ramp meters as part of the ATMS. Ramp metering consists of sensors and traffic signals at freeway entrances to control the number and frequency of vehicles entering the freeway. The capital cost of ramp metering is the full cost to implement, including the design, equipment, and installation.

See Also:
Utah Department of Transportation CommuterLink Website -

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Advanced Transportation Management System Elemental Cost Benefit Assessment

Author: Perrin, Joseph, Rodrigo Disegni, and Bhargava Rama

Published By: The Utah DOT and U.S. DOT

Prepared by the University of Utah

Source Date: March 2004

System Cost

Capital cost: $106 million.

Annual maintenance cost: $377,800.

Annual operational cost: $2.3 million.


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DMS, CMS, VMS, Changeable Message Signs, Variable Message Signs, CCTV, closed circuit television cameras, road monitoring, sensors, vehicle detector, traffic detection, traffic monitoring, congestion monitoring, coordinated signals, signal coordination, centralized signal control, signal synchronization, traffic signals, advanced signal control, signal timing optimization, coordinated signal control, advanced signal controller, traffic signal retiming, retiming, ramp meters, planned special events, camera imaging, freeway service patrol, courtesy patrols, highway helpers, freeway service patrols

Cost ID: 2004-00086