Traffic light monitoring systems are irreplaceable tools in the modern urban engineer’s arsenal, but they’re not a cure to all solution. It’s up to you to use yours effectively.
Competent traffic monitoring relies on many factors. Your oversight has to be all-encompassing, but it must also integrate seamlessly with existing systems. The following tips may help you learn to achieve this subtle balance.
What Should Traffic Light Monitoring System Do?
Traffic light monitoring tools use a wide array of contemporary technology to fulfil different roles. For instance, many employ induction loop traffic light sensors to detect the presence and relative sizes of vehicles waiting at red lights. A more comprehensive red light running, or RLR, system may also incorporate cameras that catch drivers who violate the law and transmit photographic evidence to authorities for further analysis. 
Other systems are designed to heighten the capabilities of transit managers by providing feedback from remote locations or traffic intersections. Fault monitoring traffic light technology and intelligent transportation systems can notify stakeholders like repair technicians, police, regional council authorities and news services of malfunctions that might lead to unsafe conditions.
Traffic light monitoring tools also make it possible for users to:
- Remotely diagnose and troubleshoot traffic signals,
- Control signals in emergency situations,
- Reroute traffic on demand,
- Program and automate adaptive street signal control patterns,
- Implement ISO-compliant quality systems,
- Manage traffic in and around facilities, and
- Define custom hardware, communication protocols and preferences.
What’s at Stake?
The risks of ineffectual traffic light monitoring go beyond congestion. Insufficient oversight makes it much harder to control signals and traffic. This can easily cause serious accidents and liabilities for system operators.
Consider the case of an RLR system that fails to format and organise image data properly before sending it to law enforcement officials. Such an implementation might increase the workload burden on an already understaffed police force and lead to mistakes that ultimately result in costly litigation for municipalities.
In short, the less smoothly a system operates, the more costly it is to run. Stakeholders and planners who want to optimise their use of time, material resources and funding would do well to choose traffic light monitoring systems that provide verifiable results.
Quantifying the Impact of Traffic Light Monitoring With Data
One other critical aspect of an effective traffic light monitoring tool is its ability to organise and learn from data. Suppose that your system monitors progressively drooping power levels in an LED signal’s current supply. If it also lets you plot this information against the frequency of maintenance calls, it could allow you to schedule your repair activities for maximum efficiency.
Transit managers are under constant pressure to refine their techniques and deliver more services with continually decreasing budgets. Traffic light tools that let you define your own custom hardware parameters and preferences make it much simpler to distinguish how critical performance indicators vary with different hardware and control programs. Programmable customisation features also play vital roles in ensuring that the data you gather is statistically valid.
Above all, remember that data is useless without the appropriate context. Whether your preferred frame of reference is a live traffic flow map, a scheduling timetable or a spreadsheet of historical events, your traffic light monitoring implementation should produce well-formatted output that meshes seamlessly. By choosing a system that’s compatible with your chosen workflows, you can forego the headaches traditionally associated with deployment and get right down to achieving your traffic management goals.
Could better traffic light monitoring systems help you improve the world around you? Find out by contacting Advance Access UK today.