Signal Spotlight: The Role of Traffic Signals in Traffic Incident Management


Signal Spotlight: The Role of Traffic Signals in Traffic Incident Management

What Is Traffic Incident Management (TIM)?

A traffic incident is a non-recurring event that creates a reduction in highway capacity and/or an increase in demand. Incidents can include traffic crashes, disabled vehicles, spilled cargo, highway maintenance or construction, non-emergency planned events, emergencies and major weather events.

In Best Practices in Traffic Incident Management published in September of 2010, FHWA defines Traffic Incident Management (TIM) as “a planned and coordinated multidisciplinary process to detect, respond to, and clear traffic incidents so that traffic flow may be restored as safely and quickly as possible.” As such, Traffic Incident Management requires extensive coordination between many stakeholders including law enforcement, fire and rescue, emergency medical services (EMS), transportation agencies, towing and recovery personnel, and communications specialists.

According to the National Traffic Incident Management Coalition (NTIMC), which was established in 2004, the National Unified Goal for traffic incident management is:

  • Responder safety;
  • Safe, quick clearance; and
  • Prompt, reliable, interoperable communications.

Why Is TIM Important?

Traffic incidents account for approximately 25% of non-recurring congestion on America’s roadways. This congestion has economic impacts to road users in the form of increased fuel costs and vehicle emissions. These costs are often compounded when additional crashes occur.

Secondary crashes, or crashes that occur as a result of distraction or congestion from a prior incident, are responsible for 18% of all fatal traffic crashes in the United States according to FHWA. Incident scenes place first responders in a vulnerable position on an active roadway. The National Traffic Incident Management Coalition (NTIMC) has found that traffic crashes and struck-by incidents are leading causes of on-duty injuries and deaths for law enforcement, firefighters, and towing and recovery personnel.

Traffic incidents follow a typical timeline, beginning when the incident occurs and ending when traffic flow returns to normal. The NTIMC has found that after an incident has cleared, four minutes of travel delay are created for every minute a freeway travel lane was blocked during the peak period. The longer the incident, the greater the cost and risk of injury or death to responders.

The Role of Traffic Signals in TIM

As you can see in the diagram above, providing traffic management and motorist information plays an important role throughout the timeline of a traffic incident. While traffic signal timings on a detour route may not significantly impact the overall duration for shorter incidents, a longer-lasting incident with significant impact may be shortened by implementing optimized traffic signal timing along the detour route.

TIM operations are managed using a structured Incident Command framework that is often led by law enforcement officials with support from various other stakeholders including fire and rescue personnel, emergency medical services (EMS), transportation agencies, towing and recovery personnel, and communications specialists. As noted in the Simplified Guide to the Incident Command System

for Transportation Professionals, Command considers the following three priorities:

  • Life Safety – protecting emergency responders, any incident victim, and the general public.
  • Incident Stability – Minimizing an incident’s impact on the surrounding area, maximize response efforts, and ensure efficiencies in using resources.
  • Property Conservation – Minimizing damage to property while still achieving established incident response objectives.

The role of transportation professionals in TIM includes modifying traffic signal timings to reduce congestion, providing information to Incident Command using data available through a Traffic Management Center, and advising motorists using variable message boards, highway advisory radio and internet resources like online mapping and social media.

Modifying the signal timings at intersections along a detour route allows agencies to give priority to a specified movement to increase throughput by increasing the green times on those approaches. This may be effective for “flushing” traffic from a freeway or allowing faster evacuation from an affected area. Information on using signal timings for evacuation operations may be found in the FHWA publication Using Highways During Evacuation Operations for Events with Advance Notice.

Transportation professionals operate Traffic Management Centers (TMCs) in metropolitan areas, monitoring real-time traffic conditions to help identify incidents quickly and assess the impact of traffic signal timing changes. Providing this information requires communications to a central operations center, central software, detection to measure traffic volumes, and cameras for detection and monitoring of events. Municipalities operating the same central software can improve regional operations by sharing data between agencies.

TIM Efforts in Connecticut

Traffic Incident Management is currently one of seven emphasis areas within the Connecticut Strategic Highway Safety Plan. At a regional level, the Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) oversees the Greater Hartford TIM Coalition that includes both public and private stakeholders. Recent activities undertaken by the coalition include development of a TIM Field Pocket Guide for use by practitioners in the field, updates to the Greater Hartford Region Unified Response Manual, and updates to regional diversion plans for freeway incidents. The Greater Hartford TIM Coalition also publishes several newsletters each year which may be accessed from the Coalition’s website.

In collaboration with CTDOT and the Greater Hartford TIM Coalition, the T2 Center will be hosting TIM Training on September 29th and September 30th with Aidan Neely of CTDOT as the instructor. To register, visit the Workshop Calendar on the T2 Center website.

If you have traffic signal systems questions, please contact:
Theresa Schwartz, P.E., P.T.O.E. – Traffic Signal Circuit Rider

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Safety Matters: Speed Management Tools and Tips


Speed Management Tools and Tips

Speeding is one of the most common concerns faced by local agencies. It seems that people are always in a hurry, possibly distracted and not paying attention to posted speed limits. Regardless of whether it’s in a rural neighborhood or an urban downtown, speeding has become the “norm.” Unfortunately speeding can be deadly.The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) cites speeding as a factor in 26 percent of all fatalities.

So how do we solve this issue? Many people think enforcement is the only solution. Enforcement can certainly help, but most police departments have limited resources and can’t have an officer on every street all the time. However, there are several tools and tips available to slow people down and make our roads safer for everyone.

Although it would be great if we could control every driver’s behavior behind the wheel, we just can’t. What we can do is affect their behavior by providing them environmental guidance on how they should be driving. This could be in the form of additional signage on a roadway, the use of speed feedback signs as a reinforcement of the speed limit or in restriping a road so speeding feels less comfortable. Connecticut has also recently passed legislation to address speeds in pedestrian zones and allow municipalities to set local speed limits. For more information on that legislation, register to attend the T2 Center’s September Coffee and Conversation here.

Many local agencies also employ more extensive measures to reduce speeds by making physical changes to a roadway. This may include installation of devices such as speed humps/tables/cushions, chicanes, road diets and roundabouts. Many of these can be installed on a temporary basis to evaluate their effectiveness. Several communities in Connecticut have installed these types of devices, examples of which can be found on the T2 Center’s website. Also, there are several tools available to help you decide which measures might work in your community. FHWA has a website dedicated to speed management which includes useful tools including a traffic calming e-primer,

An important and often overlooked tool is being a good example on the road. When driving, obey the speed limit on all roads. It can be easy to drive slowly in our neighborhood but then speed elsewhere in town. By paying attention to how we drive everywhere, we can set the pace for other drivers and help slow speeds in our community.

For more information and assistance with local road safety in your community, contact Melissa Evans, Safety Circuit Rider, at


Federal Highway Administration,

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Signal Spotlight: New Haven’s Edgewood Cycle Track


Signal Spotlight: New Haven’s Edgewood Cycle Track

In a city where 20% of residents commute via walking or biking, safe routes to schools and places of work are essential. Four kindergarten-through-eighth-grade schools are situated along the Edgewood Avenue corridor, which connects the Westville neighborhoods to the job centers in the Elm City’s central business district. Edgewood Avenue was designed to be a local road but has become a main thoroughfare consisting of two-way boulevard sections and one-way sections between the Westville neighborhood and the city center. Nine signalized intersections along the corridor lack pedestrian accommodation, and there are no existing accommodations for bicyclists.

The City of New Haven initiated a project to construct a 2.5-mile cycle track along the Edgewood Avenue Corridor that is the first protected cycle track of its kind in Connecticut. The City applied for and received $1.2 Million in Community Connectivity Grant funds from the CTDOT to install the two-way, parking-protected cycle track. The cycle track will begin at Forest Road in Westville and continue to Park Street in downtown New Haven and is designed to provide safe access for all users along the route, including pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers. Construction is underway and is expected to be completed in 2021.

The cycle track is protected from vehicular traffic with paint and reflective bollards and uses a parking lane as a buffer to allow for safer routes to local schools, employment centers and Edgewood Park. The additional paint and bollards are expected to calm traffic along the corridor, improving safety and reducing emissions by reducing vehicular speeds.

Traffic Signal Innovations

The Edgewood Cycle Track project includes eleven signalized intersections and incorporates several innovative traffic signal technologies, including an adaptive system, bicycle detection, and connected vehicle technology. The intersection of Winthrop at Edgewood was a two-way stop-controlled intersection and will be converted to a signalized intersection as part of the project. At the west end of the corridor, there are four newer 2070-type controllers installed seven or eight years ago. The remaining signals have older NEMA controllers that are 20 to 25 years old.

At the intersections with older controllers, GridSmart video detection cameras will be connected to the central system via existing telephone lines. At the newer intersections with Econolite 2070 controllers, the video detection is connected via fiber. Upgrades at the signalized intersections include new conduit for the wiring to the bicycle and pedestrian signal heads as well as upgrades to the sidewalks and physical infrastructure to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.

RSUs (RoadSide Units) transmit SPaT (signal phasing and timing) information that drivers and bicyclists can see using a GPS-enabled app. The City contracted with Traffic Systems, Inc. to offer the free mobile app for users to download. At the signals connected to the central system, SPaT data will be broadcast to drivers and bicyclists. At isolated intersections, the GPS feature will allow bicyclists to be alerted to the presence of approaching vehicles. The RSUs come with five years of wireless service, so the phone lines at the intersections with RSUs will be disconnected to save the city taxpayers money.

In addition to vehicle detection, the GridSmart cameras installed at the intersections will be used for bicycle detection. When riding a bicycle down a corridor, there is typically what Doug Hausladen, the City’s Transportation, Traffic and Parking Director, calls an “effort curve.” If a bicyclist is forced to stop at a signalized intersection, it takes great effort for them to go from zero to one mile per hour, but once the bicyclist is traveling at a steady speed, bicycling is generally quite easy. With SPaT information, bicyclists may adjust their speed to avoid stopping and smooth out their effort curve.

At the intersection of Edgewood Avenue at Route 10 (Ella T Grasso Boulevard), exclusive bicycle phasing will be provided. To prevent conflicts between bicycle movements and left- and right-turning vehicular movements, the bicycles traveling along the Edgewood Avenue cycle track will have a protected signal phase during which all motor vehicles are stopped.

CTtransit operates the 246 Route along Edgewood Avenue, and it is also a priority route for emergency vehicles. Emergency vehicle pre-emption equipment will be installed to give transit and emergency vehicles the right of way along Edgewood Avenue.

Design Challenges

The design process for the traffic signals was completed in-house by the City and took two years, with several rounds of CTDOT comments and design revisions. One of the major design challenges faced by the City’s engineers was working within the limited structural capacity of the existing traffic signal supports. Ideally, the bicycle signal heads would be placed at the far side of the intersection on the mast arm. The City hired a structural engineering consultant to examine the adequacy of each of the existing structures to support the weight of the additional equipment. The consultant found that the pedestrian and bicycle signals could not safely be added to the 30-year-old mast arm supports.

City engineers were forced to change the design to provide side-mounted bicycle signals on aluminum pedestals to achieve far-side placement of pedestrian signal indications. In 2015, the City submitted 36 individual submissions for each signalized intersection and responded to four rounds of comments. In the end, the traffic signals were not perfect FHWA model designs, but the City was entrepreneurial and came up with an acceptable solution that accommodates all users at the intersection. In addition to coordination with FHWA in the design of the bicycle signals, the City got interim approval to paint what are nicknamed “elephant tracks,” the wide green painted stripes used to guide bicyclists through an intersection.

The roadway and traffic signal improvements were originally to be bid as one project, but ultimately the project was divided up to prevent the traffic signal portion of the project from holding up construction on the other components of the cycle track.

Future Opportunities

Vulnerable road users are killed on New Haven’s streets every year, including twelve in the year 2020, but the City is working hard to reduce that number. In 2009, the City conducted a planning study to identify gaps in the bicycle network and to identify short-, medium- and long-range improvements that would make travel safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. The City continues to use the plan to guide investment in infrastructure for vulnerable road users with the goal of having a citywide network of protected bicycle routes.

If you have traffic signal systems questions, please contact:
Theresa Schwartz, P.E., P.T.O.E. – Traffic Signal Circuit Rider

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Signal Spotlight: Bicyclists at Signalized Intersections


Signal Spotlight: Bicyclists at Signalized Intersections

As towns develop multimodal transportation plans, signalized intersections should be considered. According to the 2021 Traffic Safety Facts published annually by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 27% of bicyclist fatalities and 55% of bicyclist injuries occur at intersections. Signalized intersections are typically designed to accommodate motorized vehicles and pedestrians, but accommodations for bicyclists are rare. There are several ways signalized intersections can be designed to facilitate bicycle travel.

Bike Boxes
According to the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), a bike box is a “designated area at the head of a traffic lane at a signalized intersection that provides bicyclists with a safe and visible way to get ahead of queuing traffic during the red signal phase.”

A bike box is typically painted with an image of a bicyclist in white, sometimes with a green background, and places the rider in a conspicuous place in the intersection where drivers can see him or her.

Bicycle Detection
When intersections experience high vehicular volumes or speeds, they can sometimes be difficult for even experienced bicyclists to navigate. Bicyclists typically move slower than motorized vehicles and take longer to clear an intersection. Bicycle detection can be used to indicate when there is demand from a bicyclist to enter the intersection or to extend the green time on an approach to accommodate the slower speed of a bicycle. Vehicular loop detectors are calibrated to detect larger vehicles and do not always detect the presence of a motorcycle or bicycle, so bicyclists are detected using separate detectors.

Bicycle detectors are typically indicated using pavement markings, as discussed and illustrated in Part 9 of the MUTCD, to indicate the optimal position for the bicyclist to actuate the signal. Sometimes sign R10-22 is used to supplement these markings. Push buttons that bicyclists can press without dismounting are used in some cases, including some bike trail crossings in Connecticut where Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFB’s) are provided.

Bicycle Signal Faces
The current 2009 edition of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) requires that traffic signal indications are arrow or circular. The MUTCD further states in Section 4D.07-F that, optionally, an 8” circular indication may be used for “a signal face installed for the sole purpose of controlling a bikeway or a bicycle movement.” Though they are not included in the current version of the MUTCD, bicycle-shaped indications are allowed under  Interim Approval IA-16.

This interim approval outlines the meaning of steady green, steady yellow and steady red bicycle indications; the allowable size, layout, placement and mounting height of the faces; and the allowable timing of the intervals associated with the bicycle faces. Under the Interim Approval, if an agency chooses to implement bicycle signal faces, they shall only be used where bicycles moving on a green or yellow signal indication in a bicycle signal face are not in conflict with any simultaneous motor vehicle movements, including right turns on red. Additionally, sign R10-10b is required for use with any bicycle signal face that is intended to control bicycles only, to reduce driver confusion.

Be sure to check next month’s Connecticut Crossroads for a Connecticut case study on bicycle signals from the City of New Haven.

If you have traffic signal systems questions, please contact:
Theresa Schwartz, P.E., P.T.O.E. – Traffic Signal Circuit Rider
(860) 486-4535 or

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Safety Matters: All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Safety


All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Safety

All-terrain vehicles, or ATVs, are a popular mode of recreation across the country and here in Connecticut. Similar to other recreational activities, following safety procedures can keep a fun outing from turning into a tragedy. In 2019, according to the US Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), 259 people nationwide died in ATV crashes. That same year in Connecticut, there were four fatal ATV crashes and an additional twenty-nine injury crashes. So far in 2021, there have already been three reported serious injury or fatal ATV crashes in Connecticut. These crashes and the resulting injuries and deaths are preventable.

The ATV Safety Institute’s website has valuable information for parents of children who want to ride ATVS and for adults who want to ride as well. Learning how to properly handle the vehicle, the safety precautions one should take prior to and while riding it, and knowing the relevant state laws about ATVs are essential tools to keep the activity safe and fun.

As the summer approaches, outdoor recreation, including ATV riding, will increase. Proper training, following the above Golden Rules as well as the state laws, and keeping safety the number one priority will help ensure that all ATV riders and passengers make it home.

For more information and assistance with local road safety in your community, contact Melissa Evans, Safety Circuit Rider, at


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Safety Matters: The Safe System Approach: How to Achieve Zero Deaths


The Safe System Approach: How to Achieve Zero Deaths

Everyone is familiar with the terms “Towards Zero Deaths,” “Road to Zero,” “Vision Zero” – but what do those terms really mean? They all imagine a world where our family, friends and neighbors don’t have to die on the roadways. In 2019 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that there were over 36,000 traffic fatalities and over 6,200 pedestrian fatalities across the country. Here in Connecticut, the preliminary estimate for 2020 fatalities is 308. Although it may seem daunting to reduce those numbers to zero, it can be done. One of the ways we can accomplish this is by implementing the Safe System Approach.

The Safe System Approach has six basic principles as its foundation. It starts with the simple belief that death and serious injury on our roadways is unacceptable and that humans will make mistakes. These are statements that I think we can all agree on. Nobody should die or be seriously injured simply trying to get to work or school or home to their family. Humans are fallible and often make poor decisions; driving while distracted, while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, speeding and reckless driving can all lead to a serious or fatal crash. The reason crashes result in serious injuries or death is because humans are vulnerable, which is the third principle of the Safe System Approach. People have a limited ability to withstand and survive the impacts of a severe crash.

The fourth principle of the Safe System Approach recognizes that responsibility for safety is shared by many. Vehicle manufacturers, law enforcement, those who plan, design, build and maintain the roadways, emergency service personnel and the users of the system – each plays an important part in safety, but none of them can achieve it alone. Principle five is that safety is proactive. In order to achieve zero deaths and reduce serious injuries, we cannot wait for crashes to occur before we figure out why and how we could have avoided them. There are many tools available to help identify risk factors and mitigate them before a crash occurs.

Finally, the last principle of the Safe System Approach is that redundancy is crucial. This means that all the elements of a safe system work together but if there is a weakness in one, the others may be enhanced to compensate for that weakness. An example would be if a driver speeds (weakness), the roadway is designed in such a way that would reduce that driver’s potential for a serious crash (compensation).

In conjunction with these principles are the five elements of a safe system. These are directly related to the principles but target the specific areas listed below.

  • Safe Road Users – Users are all those who drive, walk, cycle, ride mass transit or use an alternative mode. Educating them and encouraging them to do so safely reduces the potential for crashes.
  • Safe Vehicles – Advancements in vehicle technology assist drivers to reduce crashes and protect drivers if a crash occurs.
  • Safe Speeds – Humans are no match for high-speed crashes. This is especially true for pedestrians and cyclists. Reduction in speed directly correlates to less severe crashes and fewer fatalities.
  • Safe Roads – Roads designed and built to account for human error result in fewer crashes and when they do occur, they are less severe.
  • Post-Crash Care – Emergency personnel responding quickly and efficiently reduces the possibility of a crash resulting in a fatality. This element also includes traffic incident management and crash investigation.

These principles and related elements of a Safe System Approach create a holistic approach of addressing safety by making it everyone’s responsibility and not placing the burden on one part of the system. Many of us are already implementing certain elements of this approach, but all of us should be using the Safe System Approach in order to get every one of Connecticut’s road users to their destination safely.

For more information and assistance with local road safety in your community, contact Melissa Evans, Safety Circuit Rider, at


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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!

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Sustainable CT: Fostering Cleaner and More Diverse Transportation

Sustainable CT: Foster Cleaner and More Diverse Transportation

What do the City of New Britain’s Beehive Bridge, shared parking in the Town of Killingly, and the Town of North Stonington’s walkability audit all have in common?  They are all thoughtful local initiatives that earned recognition in Sustainable CT.

Sustainable CT is a statewide initiative that inspires and supports communities in becoming more efficient, resilient and inclusive. It also recognizes those communities  for their sustainability achievements. Using a broad definition of sustainability, the program provides a menu of coordinated actions across thirteen sustainable impact areas, ranging from inclusive community building to clean and diverse transportation.  

Sustainable CT’s menu of actions build local economies, social justice and respect the finite capacity of the environment. Here is a list of those actions that fall within Sustainable CT’s transportation category, with an inspiring municipal success story accompanying each.

  • Action 6.1: Implement Complete Streets — The City of New Britain’s Beehive Bridge is a $7.5 million project completed in the Fall of 2019 to renovate its Main Street overpass over Route 72 and thereby reconnect the two sides of downtown New Britain. Complete Streets improvements for this project include: placemaking efforts through the addition of large, historically inspired sculptures; creating architectural pedestrian enclosures; widening sidewalks on both sides of the overpass; adding bicycle lanes; and adding two pocket parks on the East Main Street side of the bridge. The project also improved pedestrian access to the downtown New Britain CTfastrak Station. 
  • Action 6.2: Promote Effective Parking Management — The Town of Killingly implemented a parking allowance permitting contiguous parcels to share parking and or utilize public parking options within 200 ft of the property. This allows more space to be left as pervious surface for green space or future development.   
  • Action 6.3: Encourage Smart Commuting — The Town of Greenwich has implemented several incentives and amenities to encourage municipal employees to engage in alternative commuting strategies. Aligned with the Transportation Leaders Program, the Town designated an on-site point of contact for employee commute inquiries, made alternative commute information available, and provided municipal vehicles for offsite meetings and deliveries to employees who do not commute by personal vehicle. Additionally, the Town provided a designated bicycle parking area, pre-tax payroll deductions for employee commuting costs, and shuttle services for employees.
  • Action 6.4: Support Zero Emission Vehicle Deployment — The City of Hartford provides several electric vehicle charging stations in public locations. The city’s zoning regulations mandate that all new development provide for electric vehicle charging stations designed in accordance with 4.20.7.B, with varying requirements for percentage of total parking spaces with Level 1 or Level 2 charging stations for different building types. 
  • Action 6.5: Promote Public Transit and Other Mobility Strategies — The Town of North Stonington conducted a walk audit in the greater village area. Residents walked 4 routes that included community hallmarks such as schools, the library, a farm stand, and the recreation center. The audit sparked conversation about the walkability of the town and will inform decisions around community walkability moving forward.
  • Action 6.6: Manage Municipal Fleets — The Town of East Hartford implemented a municipal fleet management strategy that will enforce an anti-idling policy, modernize the town fleet by retiring aged vehicles, and improve equipment specifications focusing on reducing emissions, fuel efficiency and more durable/sustainable replacements. Other strategies include ensuring vehicles are operating in the most fuel efficient manner, implementing a fleet vehicle replacement plan that adheres to upgraded efficiency standards, and right-sizing town fleet with the intention of using the least amount of equipment possible. 

For additional inspiration, visit Sustainable CT’s searchable database of transportation initiatives and other local sustainability projects.  There, you can view the progress of the one-hundred twenty-one municipalities that have registered for the program, representing 83% of the state’s population. Collectively, sixty-one municipalities, over 36% of the state’s communities, have earned Sustainable CT certification since 2018. Certification lasts for 3 years.

Sustainable CT is managed by the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University and independently funded, with strong support from its three founding funders: the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the Common Sense Fund, and the Smart Seed Fund.  

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Safety Matters: May is National Bike Month


May is National Bike Month

With spring’s warm weather finally upon us, more people can be seen enjoying it by walking, running and biking. Biking is much more than just a recreational activity; it is a means for people to commute for work, access mass transit, get to school and move around their community. Cycling is also good for the environment, as it reduces vehicle congestion and emissions and provides health benefits. To celebrate and recognize all that bicycling offers, the League of American Bicyclists has designated May as National Bike Month.

In Connecticut, there are ten communities recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as Bicycle Friendly, the list of which can be found on the League’s website here. What does it mean to be a designated Bicycle Friendly Community? It means that these municipalities have focused on making cycling better by way of bicycle laws and ordinances, education, bicycle infrastructure and active bicycle advocacy in their community.

As cycling becomes more prevalent and communities strive to keep up with the demand, safety must be at the forefront. Educating both cyclists and drivers on safe behavior and the rules of the road can go a long way in improving safety on our roads. Watch for Me CT has many resources and valuable tips to assist communities with bicycle education. You can find these on their website at

Another way to ensure safety is through bicycle infrastructure. Of the over 840 fatal cyclist crashes in 2019, sixty-five percent occurred on major roads other than interstates and freeways. By providing bicycle infrastructure such as bike lanes, shared-use paths, applicable pavement markings such as sharrows, signage and bike signals, towns and cities improve bicycle safety. These measures improve safety for other users as well. When a designated bike lane is present, cyclists are less likely to ride on the sidewalk and impact pedestrians. Where proper signage and pavement markings are installed, vehicle drivers are made aware of the presence of cyclists and can adjust their driving behavior accordingly rather than being surprised by the presence of a cyclist.

Now is the time to start to think about where improvements can be made on your roads. In 2019, the highest percentage of bicycle fatalities occurred in July and August. As municipalities repave roads, consideration can be given to decreasing lane widths to add bike lanes, adjusting pavement markings or adding sharrows. To see some local examples of bicycle infrastructure and get some ideas of what you can do in your community, visit the T2 Center’s website.

For more information and assistance with local road safety in your community, contact Melissa Evans, Safety Circuit Rider, at


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Signal Spotlight: Bristol Evaluation and Retiming of City-Owned Traffic Signals


Signal Spotlight: Bristol Evaluation and Retiming of City-Owned Traffic Signals

The City of Bristol Public Works Department recently undertook a project to inventory and retime each of the city’s 36 signalized intersections. The goal of the project, which took approximately six months to complete (during the pandemic), was to create an inventory of the City’s traffic signal assets and to retime the signals to improve efficiency and reduce delay. Additionally, the project included training Public Works personnel to program the new signal timings into the controllers.

Much of the City’s traffic signal stock is over 20 years old, driving an increase in requests for maintenance. In recent years, the City worked to fully replace two signals in the downtown area. A few years ago, City staff noticed areas of congestion where the traffic signals were not operating as designed. The Public Works Department improved operations by installing video detection at 17 of the 36 signalized intersections to replace damaged, non-functioning loop detectors. The signal retiming project was the next logical step toward providing low-cost improvements to traffic signal operations and maintenance.

Public Works Director Ray Rogozinski notes that traffic signal retiming is one of the most cost-effective methods to improve traffic flow throughout a municipal roadway network. Indeed, according to NCHRP Synthesis 409: Traffic Signal Retiming Practices in the United States published in 2010, for most agencies traffic signal retiming costs $3,700 or less per intersection. A study of 26 projects in Texas showed an overall benefit/cost ratio of 38:1. A total of $1.7 million was spent among the projects, which resulted in average delay reductions of 19.4 percent, an 8.8 percent reduction in number of stops, and a 13.3 percent reduction in fuel consumption.

In the case of Bristol’s signals, the cost for the retiming study was $65,500 for 36 traffic signals, or $1,819 per intersection. This does not include the labor to reprogram each controller, which is expected to be performed by in-house forces. The Department plans to conduct spot evaluations after the retiming work is complete to assess the improvements in performance.

One recommendation of the inventory report produced as part of the project was a phased replacement of older traffic signals in the city’s downtown.  In February, the City submitted a CMAQ application for a downtown signal system modernization project. The primary objective will be to improve traffic operations at six intersections in the downtown area to accommodate anticipated future developments and increased traffic due to a recent Bristol Hospital project.

The report also includes a list of necessary short-term improvements. These include securing access covers, replacing pedestrian push buttons and signage, applying sealant, replacing a malfunctioning pedestrian signal head, trimming vegetation to improve sight lines, and replacing a damaged controller unit. The Department of Public Works will be requesting funding this year to address these recommended improvements. Armed with information gained through the signal retiming project, City staff and leadership can plan future investments and improvements that will undoubtedly benefit residents and visitors to the city for years to come.

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!

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