Signal Spotlight: Traffic Signals 101


Signal Spotlight: Traffic Signals 101

On April 22, 2021 and April 23, 2021, participants from fifteen municipalities and the Connecticut Department of Transportation gathered for Signals 101, held at Firehouse 1 in Monroe. This class was the introductory workshop for Level One of the Connecticut Traffic Signal Technician Certificate Program. Though class sizes were limited due to social distancing restrictions, we were able to accommodate the participants over two days.

A total of 31 participants discussed the “anatomy” of a traffic signal, including the major components inside and outside the signal cabinet. Joe Balskus, PE, PTOE explained the history of traffic signals and the various models of traffic signal controllers, as well as other aspects of signal systems. Mark Zampini of the CT DOT Traffic Signal Lab loaned a controller cabinet to the program, allowing for a hands-on demonstration of the electronic equipment and features within the cabinet.

One of the most rewarding aspects of offering this new certificate program is seeing professionals from across the state come together to share their knowledge and experience. Lee Brow, from the Town of East Hartford, was recently promoted into the Alarms Division of the Fire Department where his duties will include providing maintenance to the town’s traffic signals. With a background as an FAA certified Airframe and Power plant Mechanic he knew the basics of electronics. He told me, “The Signals 101 workshop gave me a base to start to build from. I now have a basic idea of what’s going on inside the cabinet and how to start the troubleshooting process. The workshop has taken the intimidation factor down for me and I am excited to receive more training and education on traffic control devices.”

Dale Wadowski, of the Bristol Police Department, has maintained the city’s signals for a number of years. This was the first time he had the opportunity to attend formal classroom instruction of this kind and was happy to discuss his experiences with others. Stephen Frycz, Traffic Signal Supervisor for the City of Stamford, serves on the advisory committee for the Traffic Signal Circuit Rider program and was among the more experienced technicians participating in the workshop. Throughout the two days, he and other veterans in the field compared notes on the parts and equipment their municipalities are using and how they have solved various issues in the field. CT DOT engineers and technicians of varying levels of experience were also in attendance, sharing insights from their knowledge of the State’s infrastructure and traffic signals projects.

The schedule for the three remaining workshops is provided below:

Traffic Signal Operations and Reading Signal Plans

5/25/2021 – South Windsor

5/26/2021 – Farmington

Operational Safety and Basic Electricity

6/22/2021 – Southbury

6/23/2021 – Wethersfield

Traffic Signal Construction

Fall Date(s) TBD

Completion of all four workshops is required to earn the Traffic Signal Technician Certificate. Classes may also be taken individually, if desired. To sign up, visit the T2 Center’s website where registration is now open for all scheduled sessions. We look forward to hosting these future workshops and seeing our first graduates from Level One of the program!

Do you have a traffic signal-related question? Would you like to share a signal project you’ve been working on? If so, email and your town may be featured in a future Signal Spotlight!

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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