City of Omaha Traffic Signal Systems On-Call Design

Omaha, Nebraska

Ongoing concerns with traffic congestion and outdated signal technology led the City of Omaha to initiate a planning effort to upgrade traffic signals and communication infrastructure in the city. The amount of vehicle miles driven continues to increase in Omaha and a solution was needed to keep traffic moving efficiently.

In response, city officials created The City of Omaha Traffic Signal System Master Plan, which detailed multiphase signal and communication system upgrades to enhance the metro’s roadway infrastructure.

When it was time to design and deploy these upgrades, the city turned to Olsson, one of its most trusted Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) engineering partners and one of three firms selected to participate in the project. Our firm’s knowledge of existing communications infrastructure in Omaha and our expertise in traffic signal systems made Olsson the ideal choice to help Omaha realize its goal of implementing an appropriately sized, interconnected traffic signal system.

When the project kicked off, the city’s infrastructure included nearly 1,000 signalized intersections that primarily had Type 170 controllers operating on an outdated management software platform. In addition, the communication system consisted of dial-up modems and twisted pair copper cabling.

With our help, the city has started to connect every signal in Omaha to the new operations center through an intricate fiber optic network. This plan requires that almost every signal in the city be updated with new controllers, larger cabinets, current technology, and improved vehicle detection.

First, we designed a combination of traffic signal controller and cabinet upgrades, conduit routing, and fiber optic communications for 72 intersections along 72nd, Dodge, and Farnam streets. This work included the following:

  • Replacing all controllers with type 2070 ATC controllers
  • Replacing all but four cabinets in the project area with Type 336L and Type 332L cabinets
  • Installing battery back-up systems for critical intersections
  • Designing new radar detection upgrades at more than 30 intersections
  • Installing CCTV monitoring cameras at high traffic intersections

In addition to upgrading signal hardware, we evaluated left-turn phasing and flashing yellow arrows implementation throughout the project corridor. We started by collecting and analyzing traffic data, then came up with an implementation plan that followed industry best practices and locally developed criteria. We also examined vehicle and pedestrian clearance interval requirements and existing reversible lane technology on Dodge and Farnam streets. We then provided survey and right-of-way design for conduit routing and coordinated all work with utility providers and government agencies. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2020.

We’re also working with the City of Omaha to design Adaptive Signal Control Technology (ASCT) corridor along 132nd Street from Farnam to Cuming streets.


Justin Petersen

Lincoln, Nebraska


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