Smart Traffic Signal Control System

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Bringing Intelligence to Intersections for smart management of city traffic.


The Problem

From many years most of the road traffic problems solved with Traditional Road Traffic Signal System. Traffic problems increased in major cities due to urbanization, increase in use of automobile on road. Current signal system cannot respond to the real-time traffic demand because of fixed signal timings. Other side of the coin maintenance of these systems very complex due to absence of improper device health monitoring which leads poor to MTBF (mean time between failures) & MTTR (Mean time to repair).


The major challenges in India

  • Low level of lane discipline on roads while driving
  • High mix of traffic
  • Poor junction geometry

The Solution

Adaptive Traffic Control System is a new idea that is used to synchronize traffic signals according to the traffic scenario with real-time information. with this smart traffic signal control system, we achieve smooth and safer journeys at one of the smart cities in India.

My Role
Project Manager, UX Designer
8 Weeks

Research & Define

Requirements Analysis

In this stage overall team (Hardware/Firmware/Software/Mechanical/Testing/QA Engineers, Domain/Technology Experts) discuss about requirements mentioned in RFP (Request for proposal) given by Smart City Body. Based on those requirements analysis Project Manager & Management define scope and areas of work (H/W, S/W, F/W, Mech.). in each area first we understand requirements clearly and confirmed by client. List out compliance’s and international standards mentioned in RFP. The main challenge here is to clearly understand proposal requirements before design system. Because various levels of experts and departments in smart cities done this RFP. So, to know exactly what they expect, we interact with them and clarify every doubt in detail to maintain smooth work flow within deadline. Otherwise we can’t deliver a perfect solution to citizens of smart city.

Site visits & observations

For real-time systems we most often make site visits to know the site conditions. Observation plays vital role in this stage. Lots of ambiguities and conclusion completed here. We craft answers in site observations for questions like

  • Whether proposed junctions really need for Traffic Signal System?
  • How much vehicle density flows per day via each junction?
  • What are the peak timings of Traffic?
  • Is there any safe place to install system hardware?
  • Which spots of junction best suited for the placement of Signal poles?
  • What are the weather conditions in site?
  • What are the paint points of commuters and pedestrians?

User interviews

After gathering few insights from site visits & observations, we interact with users. In this type of projects another main challenging task is understand all levels of user’s goals and needs. We have various persona categories like commuters, pedestrians, citizens, traffic police, traffic planners, municipal officers, smart city inspection bodies etc., So, in this stage we interact with every one with predefined questions raised from observations. Through this interview we cover elicit requirements which were not covered in RFP.

User Persona

Ideate & Design

Domain Knowledge

Most talented developers do not have much interest in learning about the specific domain in which they are working, much less making a major commitment to expand their domain-modeling skills. When we work with real-time systems we must know about the domain where we solving the real problems. For example, if your team involved to design any health app you know the basic terminology in that relevant field otherwise, we can’t deliver a right solution for right problem. Before we deal with ITS (Intelligent Transportation System) based solutions, our whole team learn the basic terminology of traffic engineering.

  • What are the common standard Road Traffic Signal Indications?
  • How to define standard Signal Timings for each phase?
  • What is Phase, Cycle and Offset?
  • What is Signal group, combination, stage?
  • What it means PCU and how we calculate it?

Technology Exploration

With emerging growth of IoT and Smart Solution Technologies, Industry need to update to build innovative things with available technology in less time. In this project we deal with sensors, technology stack and physical environment setup. For that we explore, test and validate various things, technologies which were suitable for our solution. Is the selected technology viable and withstand for our requirements or not? We conclude final decision with DAR (Decision Analysis and Resolution) technique.

System Architecture

Its not an easy job for UX designer in IoT sector because as a UX designer you think in multi-dimensional way to deliver system which creates value to customer otherwise it leads to failure. After understanding the real problem and goals, we sketch big picture of overall system. Big picture gives lots of insights. Every team member needs to understand the whole system with this. Without big picture in mind we can’t deliver connected products/services. Big picture shows how things are connected to each other, working flow of system.

System Workflow

Software Design

Another major part of system is Software. With previous web experience I take UI/UX responsibility for software design along with technical experts and software developers. we design web interface screens for traffic monitoring, configuration and controlling. Analytics dashboards for traffic forecasting and reports. Separate mobile app for junction controlling.

User Journey Map

Create & Assign Signal Plans to Junction


Value Deliverables

  • Dynamically adapts to changing traffic conditions in real time.
  • Interactive & Secure Mobile App to monitor junctions status, equipment health status and operate police panel.
  • Interactive reports for quick decision making.
  • Ensure system availability & reduce MTTR (Mean Time to Repair).
  • Integration to share the predicted forecasts to different dissemination systems.
  • Support simulated insights to re-design traffic movements to improve efficiencies.
  • Proactively respond to failures to ensure system availability & performance.
  • Configure & update signal plans from centrally to any junction.

Key Learnings

  • Know the importance of domain knowledge.
  • When we deal with Connected products, we must consider external dependencies like network failure, power failures, physical damages.
  • Following well defined standards & security practices like EN 12368, EN 12966, ISO 27001 etc., enables us to design a great system.
  • Learn from Failures with cause-and-effect analysis.

Disclaimer: Most of the products/projects I am involved as a UX Designer/Project Manager/Jr. IoT Solution Architect are Government Smart City and Industrial IoT related. So, due to NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) polices so much of information not revealed. Information is fully confidential.