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Tickle College of Engineering

Federal Highway Administration Recommends UT CTR Program to National Audience

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has listed the University of Tennessee’s Traffic Signal Academy as one of its recommended training programs. The FHWA website says, “Developed by the University of Tennessee's Center for Transportation Research (CTR), this course offers a comprehensive discussion on standards, warrants, installation and maintenance guidelines, liability issues, design, operations and maintenance of traffic signal systems.”

Transportation workforce development is a major activity for CTR, and its Traffic Signal Academy, established in 2010, is one of the highlights of this effort. Headed by Dr. Airton Kohls, the academy helps transportation agencies optimize their existing traffic signal operations, improve benefit-to-cost ratios, maintain signal hardware, and stay abreast of changes in technology.

Traffic signal operations play an important safety role on our roadway systems; however, according to the 2012 National Traffic Signal Report Card, the overall quality of traffic signal operations in the US is poor and may soon fail to keep pace with changes in population growth and traffic patterns. Academy instructors apply innovative concepts resulting from academic research and established best practices to help agencies develop improved signal timing policies and procedures.

Transportation professionals and workers from across the US have participated in the academy's continuing education program. Kohl developed the academy's program and curriculum, and can customize the five-day series of workshops to suit an agency's requirements and bring the training to locations across the US. Locally, workshops are conducted at the CTR Traffic Signal Laboratory, located at the National Transportation Research Center in West Knoxville. The lab is a fully functioning, closed-loop traffic control system that demonstrates the complexities involved in setting up and maintaining traffic signal cabinets, detection, and communication systems.


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