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Adaptive Traffic Signal Technology


The installation of adaptive signal control technology on the Route 29 corridor will allow traffic to move more efficiently. This will decrease congestion and travel times for motorists using Route 29. The technology will also provide a safety benefit since there will be fewer stops for vehicles, thus reducing traffic crashes.

It will also provide an environmental benefit since fewer stops and starts and reduced idling time will reduce emissions and fuel consumption.

The ability to control the signals remotely from the Traffic Operations Center also allows operations staff to monitor the corridor and make adjustments to the signals during situations that result in unusual traffic patterns, such as significant traffic from a large public event or an emergency incident.

What is Proposed?

This project includes numerous improvements to the existing traffic signals along the Route 29 corridor, from Hydraulic Road at the Charlottesville city limits north to Airport Road. The project includes 18 intersections on Route 29 and three intersections close to Route 29 with heavy turn volumes.

The current traffic signal system has limited ability to react to changing conditions, particularly at times of peak volume. The adaptive signal technology adjusts signal cycles to traffic conditions in real time. This provides several advantages:

  • Increases the efficiency of traffic flow through the corridor, improving travel times and reducing congestion.
  • Enables the Northwestern Regional Operations signals staff to monitor traffic conditions at each intersection in real time.
  • Includes state-of-the-art data communications links between all intersections and the signals operations staff. This enhances both current operations and the ability to upgrade the corridor for future technologies.

The project will advance in two phases.

Phase one, which was completed in June 2015, involved installation of the network infrastructure to interconnect the signals and the Northwestern Regional Traffic Operations Center in Staunton. These network upgrades, combined with additional improvements at the TOC, allows VDOT's signals engineers to remotely manage traffic flow on the corridor, make real-time adjustments to the signal timing and react to conditions caused by weather, traffic volumes, special events and emergency incidents.

Phase two will include installation of the adaptive signal controllers and associated hardware. Phase two will be implemented in the late fall of 2017, after the Route 29 Solutions projects are completed to ensure the system is optimized to function with the Route 29 corridor improvement projects.

A similar adaptive signal control project is being developed by Charlottesville for the section of Route 29 (Emmet Street) within the city limits and will be coordinated with VDOT’s signals to ensure that travel is optimized along the entire corridor.

Information and Resources

Presentation to the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, Aug. 6, 2014, 263 KB

News Releases

Oct. 3, 2014
Signal technology upgrades planned for intersections between Hydraulic Road and Rio Road


Preliminary engineering was completed in the fall of 2014.

Phase one construction, involving the installation of the infrastructure to support the signal control technology, began on Oct. 6, 2014 was finished in June 2015.

Phase two, including installation of the adaptive signal control hardware, will be done after construction of the Route 29 Solutions projects is complete.


Preliminary Engineering: $300,000

No right of way will be required for this project

Construction: $3,420,000

At a Glance

Begin Date

Fall 2014 (Phase One)

Late Fall 2017 (Phase Two)

Estimated Completion

June 2015 (Phase One)

Fall-Winter 2017 (Phase Two)


$3.7 million

Lengths and Limits

3.5 miles, from Charlottesville north city limits to Route 649 (Airport Road)






Joel DeNunzio