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# TRAFFIC SIGNALS DESIGN PROCEDURE

Example
The basic steps of the procedure involve the critical movement identification (Steps 1 to 4) as well
as the capacity and timing calculations (Steps 5 to 10). Steps 8 and 10 provide various checks using
the calculated signal timings.

The intersection plan and phasing diagram shown on the next page will be used to illustrate the
concepts involved in the critical movement identification.

## STEP 1: Prepare a Critical Movement Search Table

i. Determine the required movement times (t) using the provided critical movement search table.
Table 1 comprises the data for the intersection. You will be provided with most of the columns
in that table but would be required to fill in:

the starting and terminating phase columns (determined from the provided phasing diagram)
the minimum effective green column

gm =Gm + I l

ii. For each movement, calculate y = q/s, u = y/xp, (100u + l ) and provide the (g m + l) values in
Table 2. It is sufficient to calculate y and u with two digit accuracy and (100u + l ) as a whole
number. Determine the required movement time (t) as (100u + l ) or (g m + l) whichever is
greater.

## reset the lost time to (g m + l)

cross out the flow ratio (y) and the green ratio (u)

iv. For pedestrian values, set the (y) and (u) values to zero and set (t) = (g m + l)

## STEP 2: Prepare a Critical Movement Search Diagram

Draw a critical movement search diagram from the phasing diagram. The diagram can be prepared
as follows:

## i. Draw nodes from phase A to phase A in order, eg. A, B, C, A.

ii. Connect the nodes by links (movements) according to the start and end phase data. For
example, movement 1 connects to A to C (overlap), movement 2 connects A to B (non-overlap).

iii. If all movements are not exhausted using nodes A to A, extend the diagram by adding node B, C
etc. as required. Note that in most cases, it is possible to draw a search diagram with no
movements intersecting each other.

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STEP 3: Non-overlap Movements Reduce the Critical Movement Search Diagram

i. Compare (t) values of the non-overlap movements in each phase, choose the movement with the
largest (t) value and eliminate others.

## ii. Prepare a reduced search diagram comprising the remaining links.

iii. If the phasing system does not comprise any overlap movements, the critical movements are
simply those left in the reduced diagram (one movement per phase). Go to step 5 in this case.

## STEP 4: Overlap Movements Calculate Required Movements Times

i. Compare (t) values of the overlap movements which receive ROW during the same phases, i.e.
have the same starting and terminating phases numbers. Choose the movement with the largest
(t) value and eliminate others.

ii. Identify possible movement combinations (paths) which complete one cycle in the reduced
search diagram. For example, (1 and 7) or (2, 3 and &) from node A (A-C-A or A-B-C-A) and
(3 and 4) from node B to node B (B-C-B). The critical movements are the ones which
correspond to the longest (critical) path. For example,

T1, 7 = t1 + t7 = 27 + 22 = 49
T2, 3, 7 = t2 + t3 + t7 = 22 + 37 + 22 =81
T3, 4 = t3 + t4 = 37 + 60 = 97*

## STEP 5: Calculate Intersection Parameters (L, Y, U)

Calculate the intersection parameters (L) lost time), Y (flow ratio) and U (green time ratio) as the
sum of the corresponding critical movement parameters.

## In the present example, L = l 3 + l 4 = 12

Y = y3 + y4 = 0.75
U = u3 + u4 = 0.85

STEP 6: Calculate the Practical and Approximate Optimum Cycle Times (Cp, Co)

These are calculated using the values of L, Y and U determined in Step 5 above.

## For our example, using a stop penalty parameter of k = 0.2

1.6 L + 6
Co = = 101 sec
1 Y

L
Cp = = 80 sec
1 U

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STEP 7: Choose a Cycle Time

Choose a cycle time (c) between Cp and Co which also satisfies the condition that a maximum
acceptable cycle time Cmax (normally 120 seconds) is not exceeded.

For all practical purposes, it is sufficient to choose a cycle time rounded up to the nearest multiple of
5 or 10 seconds. For the present example, choose c = 90 seconds.

## STEP 8: Check Critical Movements

Check if the critical movements are still valid under the chosen cycle time. To do this, calculate
(uc + l ) values and determine the new required movement times t, as (uc + l ) or (g m + l) ,
whichever is larger.

## Calculate new total required times, as in Step 4. For example,

T1, 7 = t1 + t7 = 25 + 22 = 47
T2, 3, 7 = t2 + t3 + t7 = 20 + 34 + 22 = 76
T3, 4 = t3 + t4 = 34 + 55 = 89*

Movements 3 and 4 are still the critical ones, and hence there is not change. If the critical
movements change at this stage, repeat the procedure from Step 5.

## STEP 9: Calculate Movement and Phase Green Times

Calculate the movement and phase green times in addition to the phase change times. For practical
reasons, round the green times to the nearest second.

The critical movement green times are found using the equation:

cL
g = u
U

This, however, does not hold for a movement whose time was determined by the minimum green
time gm. In this case, g = gm.

## For the present example, L = 12, U = 0.85.

g3 = [(90-12)/0.85]*0.33= 30 sec
g4 = [(90-12)/0.85]*0.52= 48 sec

## Note that the sum g3 + g4 = 78 = c - L

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STEP 10: Calculate Movement Degrees of Saturation

As a final check, calculate movement degrees of saturation, x, using the allocated green times to
make sure that x does not exceed xp for all movements. This condition will be satisfied unless the
practical cycle time is found to be larger than the maximum cycle time in which case the chosen
cycle time should be equal to Cmax. If x > 1 and the cycle time equals Cmax then this indicates that
over-saturation is inevitable unless steps are taken to improve intersection conditions.

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Critical Movement Search Table

Table 1: Data

Movement Start End Intergreen Minimum Arrival Saturation Lost Time Minimum Practical
Phase Phase Time Display Flow Flow l Effective Degree of
Green (q) (s) Green Saturation
(I) (Gm) (gm)

## Seconds Seconds Veh/hr Veh/hr Seconds Seconds (xp)

1 A C 6 8 650 3480 6 8 .90
2 A B 6 6 240 1510 5 7 .92
3 B C 5 8 920 3260 4 9 .85
4 C B 5 8 580 1240 8 5 .90
5 C A 5 6 170 1490 3 8 .92
6 B C 5 14 Pedestrians 4 15 ---
7 C A 5 17 Pedestrians 4 18 ---

Table 2: Calculations

## Movement y = q/s u = y/xp 100 u + l t m = Gm + I t (sec) Check for c =

= gm + l uc + l t' g x = (c/g) y
*
1 0.19 0.21 27 14 27 25 25 SIDRA SIDRA
2 0.16 0.17 22 12 22 20 20 SIDRA SIDRA
3 0.28 0.33 37 13 37 34 34 30 0.84
4 0.47 0.52 60 13 60 55 55 48 0.88
5 0.11 0.12 15 11 15 14 14 SIDRA SIDRA
6 --- --- --- 19 19 --- 19 SIDRA SIDRA
7 --- --- --- 22 22 --- 22 SIDRA SIDRA

## The following equations are needed in your calculations.

gm =Gm + I l

(1.4 + k) L + 6
Co = Assume k = 0.2
1 Y
L
Cp =
1 U
c L
g = u
U

*: Entries denoted by SIDRA indicate that these values will be obtained using the SIDRA software.
The manual method described in this document enables students to find the corresponding values
only for the critical movements (e.g. movements 3 and 4 in the example).