Dover Traffic Signal System

Dover, New Hampshire

Dover Signal Systems

Dover, NH develops Northern New England’s Most Advanced Centrally Managed Traffic Signal System: 2010 – present. Northern New England’s traffic signals are operating on out-of-date technology and in most cases suffer from a lack of regular maintenance like much of the rest of the region’s infrastructure due to budgetary constraints. The City of Dover, NH, a City with a population of 30,000 and 34 traffic signals in the Seacoast area of the state, is tackling this issue head-on with a combination of local funds and grants from NHDOT and FHWA.

What began in 2010 as a focused effort to improve traffic signal maintenance and incident response times, reduce motorist delays and customer complaints, and improve air quality within the community, has become all that and much more. Working with the City’s Public Works staff, IT staff, and the City’s traffic signal maintenance contractor, Sebago’s engineers are creating a wireless-based communications system connecting all 34 signals to a local Traffic Management Center for use by not only those responsible for traffic signal operations, but also emergency response personnel as part of their incident management program.

The technology platform that is being used is McCain’s ATC controllers operated by Transparity central management software. A total of five coordinated signal systems (consisting of 17 signals) have been identified along major arterials across the City. To date, four of these corridors (14 signals in total) have been connected to the City’s central server. Existing copper interconnections are being upgraded to fiber optic cabling or wireless communications using unlicensed 5.8 GHz ethernet radios. The communications backbone is licensed, microwave-based technology that serves not only the traffic signals, but also police, fire, water, and sewer department communications.

Real-time data collection has been achieved at a number of key locations using Gridsmart video detection. These cameras not only provide stop bar detection, but enable engineers and emergency response personnel to view intersection operations live, and continuously collect traffic movement information, which is fundamental to keeping intersections optimized.
More recently, Dover and NHDOT received a $812,000 grant from FHWA to deploy and test Automatic Traffic Signal Performance Measures.

These system enhancements will include the deployment of Bluetooth recording devices for measuring real-time corridor travel times, the additional advanced vehicle detection for determining “arrivals on green”, the testing of adaptive traffic signal operations, and the testing of Purdue University and UDOT signal performance methodologies for optimizing corridor traffic flow.

With the advances made in Dover’s traffic signal infrastructure, the City has truly become a “test bed” for research and testing of new innovative technologies in the traffic signal industry – a position the City is quite proud of.

Curtis Thompson, PE, Sebago Technics Transportation Engineer describing the project and process.

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Project Details

City of Dover
Dover, NH
Project Status:
Electric Light Company and McCain, Inc.