Ames Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Traffic Signal Master Plan + Implementation


  • Local Governments
  • Public Sector
  • State Agencies


  • Engineering
  • Intelligent Transportation Systems
  • Planning
  • Traffic + Safety
  • Transportation
  • Transportation Planning


  • Ames, Iowa

Challenge: The City of Ames, Iowa, did not have any fiber optic cables for traffic signal communications. The City was looking for partners to help in the creation of a phased plan to evaluate and update its existing traffic signal systems, including traffic signal controllers and cabinets, detection of all modes of transportation, video observation, central management software, and hardware and an overall traffic data management strategy. The plan also included deploying a complete city-wide traffic signal fiber optic communications system.

Solution: The communication firm gbaSI and HR Green partnered to assist the city with the master plan for an improved communications system. As the foundation of the master plan, the existing City of Ames traffic signal and communications infrastructure was inventoried and evaluated to determine the existing components currently deployed and their applicability/compatibility moving forward. Completion of the inventory consisted of opening over 92 traffic signal cabinets to document the cabinet’s components, including controller type, cabinet type, vehicle detection type, communications, uninterruptable power supplies, emergency vehicle preemption sensors, and traffic sensors.

ITS Master Plan

The master plan also developed a Needs Assessment document and a High-Level Alternatives Evaluation, which defined the system’s needs and expectations from a stakeholder perspective. Ultimately, the master plan prepared a Strategic Deployment Plan which details the phased deployment of the recommended infrastructure solutions, including the traffic signal management system, communications system, and related ITS field devices, strategies, and technologies, as appropriate. The ITS Traffic Signal Master Plan provided a full deployment schedule for the recommended system, with a focus on the initial 6-year phasing plan and associated costs. Utilizing Iowa Clean Air Attainment Program (ICAAP) funding from the Iowa Department of Transportation, the gbaSI/HR Green team has moved into the implementation phase with the City of Ames.

ITS Implementation

The team assisted the City in further evaluation of Advanced Traffic Management Software (ATMS) and advanced through the stages of PS&E package development and the Phase 1 and 2 plan set packages have been let to the Contracting community. PS&E package preparation included fieldwork at all 30 intersections as part of the Phase 1 and Phase 2 package for the design of; replacement of traffic signal controllers, installation of uninterruptable power supply systems, installation of traffic monitoring cameras and replacement of vehicle detection systems, and installation of ethernet switches at all project intersections. To connect the traffic signal cabinets, over eleven miles of conduit and fiber optic cable and over eighty handholes were installed. The project included coordination with multiple City Departments, utility companies, and the Iowa Department of Transportation.

Benefit: Through the partnership with gbaSI and HR Green, the City of Ames has overcome the absence of fiber optic cables for traffic signal communications, embarking on a comprehensive modernization journey. The collaborative effort has resulted in a well-crafted master plan, facilitating the phased deployment of cutting-edge solutions to enhance traffic management efficiency.

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