Signal Spotlights: New Britain Citywide Traffic Signal Modernization

traffic_signal_spotlights_logoWith the opening of the CTfastrak Downtown New Britain Station and various developments throughout New Britain, the City recognized the need to update its traffic signal equipment and had implemented a Citywide Traffic Signal Modernization program.

Phase I


Photo Credit: City of New Britain

Under Phase I of the $3 million CMAQ-funded project, the City of New Britain evaluated existing equipment and selected new standard equipment for all future installations. ATC traffic controllers and video detection capable of detecting bicycles were among the equipment selected. Loop detection at many of the city’s intersections failed, causing unnecessary delay. The proposed controller and vehicle detector upgrades to video detection will allow for bicycle detection while increasing reliability.

Also under Phase I, the City reestablished an abandoned closed loop system along Main Street in the city’s downtown center and created the start of a centralized transportation management system.

Phase II

Phase II, which is currently underway, includes improvements to traffic signals on the following corridors:

  • West Main Street
  • Columbus Boulevard
  • Myrtle Street
  • East Main Street
  • Broad Street
  • Main Street

The work will include six full intersection replacements along with controller and communication equipment upgrades, ADA and audible pedestrian signal improvements, vehicle and bicycle detection, timing and phasing improvements and consideration of an adaptive signal control system on West Main Street.


Downtown New Britain, Photo Credit: City of New Britain

Currently the city’s centralized system consists of only four intersections, and the Public Works Department relies primarily on motorists and public works staff to identify and report issues with traffic signal control equipment. Expanding the centralized system to a total of 23 intersections will allow the City to manage the timing of traffic signals within the downtown by communicating directly with field equipment to modify traffic signal programs in real time. Controller and vehicle detection upgrades will be made under Phase II to reduce congestion.

Traffic Signal Management Plan (TSMP)

As part of the systems engineering process for CMAQ funding, the City of New Britain developed a Traffic Signal Management Plan for the operations and maintenance of its traffic signals. The plan outlines the City’s goals and objectives, strategies for design, operations and maintenance, as well as a set of performance measures to evaluate how well operations are meeting objectives. This plan ensured that the City was purchasing the appropriate equipment and that the City had adequate resources to operate and maintain the equipment.

“It was a pleasure to work with the T2 Center to prepare the City of New Britain’s Traffic Signal Management and Operations Plan. The Traffic Signal Systems Circuit Rider was critical in the preparation of this important document.”

– Carl J. Gandza, Engineering Project Manager, City of New Britain

To view the City of New Britain’s TSMP, click here.

About Connecticut T2 Center

The Training & Technical Assistance Center at UCONN provides education and technical assistance to members of Connecticut's Transportation and Public Safety Community, including municipal public works directors, street and road maintenance superintendents and staff, city and town engineers, Connecticut Department of Transportation employees, transportation planners and law enforcement professionals serving as legal traffic authorities. We are Connecticut's LTAP Center
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