Safety Benefits of Adaptive Traffic Control Systems: A Case Study of Oakland County, MI

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering


Civil and Construction Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Valerian Kwigizile

Second Advisor

Dr. Jun-Seok Oh

Third Advisor

Dr. Abiola Akanmu

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Abstract Only


Despite seeing widespread usage worldwide, adaptive traffic control systems have experienced relatively little use in the United States. Of the systems used, the Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System (SCATS) is the most popular in America. Safety benefits of these systems are not as well understood nor as commonly documented due to the challenges in acquiring safety statistics out of common microsimulation processes. This study investigates the safety benefits of adaptive traffic control systems by using the large SCATS-based system in Oakland County, MI known as FAST-TRAC. This study uses data from FAST-TRAC-controlled intersections in Oakland County and compares a wide variety of geometric, traffic, and crash characteristics to similar intersections in metropolitan areas elsewhere in Michigan. Data from 498 intersections are used to conduct a cross-sectional analysis. Negative binomial models are used to estimate models for three dependent crash variables. Multinomial logit and ordered probit models are used to estimate models for an injury severity dependent model. A variable tracking the presence of FAST-TRAC controllers at intersections is used in all modeling to determine if a SCATS-based system has an impact on crash occurrences or crash severity. It is found to be statistically significant in 8 models. Estimates show angle crashes could be reduced by up to 19.3% at intersections with SCATS-based controllers.


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