From The National Traffic Signal Report Card: costs to update signal timing is $3,000 per intersection.

Nationwide,United States

Summary Information

Optimizing signal timing is considered a low-cost approach to reducing congestion. Based on data from six separate studies, the costs range from $2,500 to $3,100 per signal per update. While this range is reasonable, costs could be slightly more or less. A cost summary from the National Transportation Operations Coalition (NTOC) study is presented below; links to cost summaries from the other five studies as well as the synthesized costs summary are also provided.

The National Traffic Signal Report Card: Technical Report developed by the National Transportation Operations Coalition (NTOC) used three key components to estimate the costs of traffic signal operations:

1.) Appropriate traffic signal hardware
2.) Routine traffic signal timing updates; and
3.) Maintenance performed by well-trained technicians

Traffic signal hardware consists of several primary components: the signal heads, sensors to detect vehicular traffic, and the signal controller. Having up-to-date equipment is important to sound traffic signal operations. The signal controller should be upgraded, at a cost of approximately $10,000 each, minimally every 10 years.

Routine traffic signal timing updates cost $3,000 or less per intersection. Signal timing plans should be updated every three to five years, or more frequently depending on growth and changes in traffic patterns.

Well-trained technicians are needed to maintain traffic signal hardware so that the signal system is operating in good order and according to the timing updates. A current assumption is one traffic signal technician can maintain 30-40 signals. The average costs of a technician is $56,000 per year which includes salary, benefits (approximately 30-35% of salary), vehicles, parts/supplies, and other required items.

Given the cost data above and assuming the U.S. has 265,000 signals, the annual costs associated with signal timing can be calculated.

Each year 1/10 of the controllers are replaced
265,000/10 = 26,500 controllers per year
Total cost is $256 million per year

Timing updates:
Signal retiming interval is every four years
265,000/4 = 66,250
$3,000 per signal
Total cost is roughly $200 million per year

One technician maintains 30 signals
265,000/30 = 8,822 technicians
$56,000 per technician
Total cost is roughly $500 million per year

Grand total cost for signal timing per year across the U.S. is $965 million.

Related links:

Synthesized Costs of Traffic Signal Retiming
Cost range for retiming traffic signals: $2,500 to $3,100 per signal per update.

Millenia Mall Signal Retiming Project
Cost of retiming signals: $3,100 per intersection.

Regional Signal Timing Program - 2005 Cycle Program Performance
Average cost to retime signals under the MTC program: $2,400 per intersection.

Benefits of Retiming Traffic Signals: A Reference for Practitioners and Decision Makers About the Benefits of Traffic Signal Retiming
Cost range for signal retiming: $2,000 - $2,500 per intersection.

The Benefits of Retiming Traffic Signals
Costs of retiming traffic signals is roughly $2,500 per intersection.
Costs of retiming traffic signals in the Washington, DC area is about $3,500 per intersection.

Denver Regional Council of Governments Costs of Retiming Traffic Signals
Cost to retime each signal ranges from $1,800 to $2,000 which includes consultant time and DRCOG staff review time.

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National Traffic Signal Report Card: Technical Report 2005

Published By: Prepared for the National Transportation Operations Coalition

Source Date: 2005


System Cost

Costs to update signal timing: $3,000 per intersection.


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Cost ID: 2007-00114