Traffic Eng & Safety

Travel safety, complete streets, advanced signal tech, and VMT as a metric for environmental analysis in California

Traffic Signal Operations: Isolated Intersections

This course covers the concepts, practical applications, and operations of isolated traffic signals and engages students through hands-on exercises and real-world examples of signal timing and operations. Class exercises and demonstrations are taught in a computer lab; a basic knowledge of EXCEL is needed to complete the exercises.

NOTE: This is an introductory course in a series of courses on traffic signal operations offered by the Technology Transfer Program. It is strongly recommended that students complete this course before taking:

What this class is not: attendees will not learn how to coordinate signals, how to use Synchro, how to program controllers and equipment (except partial instruction on timing sheets and detector settings), or how to design signals (except how to define specifications like detector setbacks, turn lane lengths, etc.).

Additional course detail is provided in the sections below.

  • Course Topics
    • Types of traffic signals
    • Principles of signal timing
    • Timing of fixed and actuated signals
    • Pedestrian considerations
    • Introduction to signal coordination
    • Detector logic
    • Gap settings
    • Recall and other features
    • Signal timing using Excel Spreadsheet (PlanSig)
    • When to change timing settings
    • Synchro input
    • Understanding Synchro output
    • Hands-on problems and filling timing sheets
  • Course Outline
    MODULE A: Definitions & Capacity Concepts
    • Introduction
    • Basic Definitions
    • Characteristics affecting signal timing
    • Capacity and critical volume analysis
    • Define basic signal timing variables of cycle length, split, and offset
    • Understand manner in which they are calculated based on traffic characteristics
    • Capacity and critical movement analysis (spreadsheet examples)
    • Traffic volume analysis (spreadsheet example)
    MODULE B: Traffic Signal Design (signal timing consideration), Part 1
    • Physical component of a traffic signal system
    • Identify three types of controllers including their functional capabilities, applications, and limitations
    • Phasing overview: ring-and-barrier diagrams/designs
    • Class exercise: ring-and-barrier design
    MODULE C: Basic Signal Controller Parameters, Part 1
    • Settings that define the duration of a vehicle phase
    • Pedestrian timing
    • Clearance intervals (yellow and all-red)
    MODULE D: Traffic Signal Design (signal timing consideration), Part 2
    • Detector logic and extension setting
    • Traffic signal controllers
    MODULE E: Basic Signal Controller Parameters, Part 2
    • Introduction to signal timing sheets (e.g. Caltrans, BiTran and Naztec)
    • Recall and other controller features
    • Density timing
  • What you will learn

    Students learn how to time isolated signalized intersections focusing on how to apply basic principles in real-world situations.

  • Who should attend

    The class is for traffic engineers, planners, consultants, and technicians who are new to traffic signal timing.

    Experienced practitioners who desire a "refresher" course might also benefit from this course.

  • Course Prerequisites

      A basic knowledge of EXCEL is needed to complete the exercises.

  • Course Instructors

      Gordon Lum, PE, Project Manager, Willdan Engineering

      Mr. Lum has been a registered traffic engineer in California for over 25 years, splitting time equally between the private and public sectors. He has been directly involved in many aspects of traffic engineering, including reducing correctable collisions, conducting speed surveys, implementing parking restrictions, relieving congestion, making public presentations, coordinating signals, and analyzing future traffic impacts. Gordon is an ITE Fellow.

      Joy Bhattacharya, PE, PTOE, Vice President, Advanced Mobility Group

      Mr. Bhattacharya serves as the Director of Innovative Transportation Solutions at Advanced Mobility Group's (AMG). He provides innovative Traffic Engineering, Transportation Planning, and ITS solutions for the Global Market. He has expertise in traffic engineering, traffic simulation, traffic signal systems with traffic simulation, traffic signal timing, traffic operations, ITS, Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, and Smart Cities. He is an ITE fellow and has approximately 25 years of transportation engineering experience.

  • Registration Information

      Registration for this course occurs at the TechTransfer training host site. Use the button to the right to directly access the course page and registration portal. You will be asked to create a user account as part of the registration process.

      A confirmation email will be sent to you within two business days of TechTransfer receiving your paid registration.

      If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact the TechTransfer Registrar at (510) 643-4393 or

  • For more information

      To learn more about TechTransfer courses and credits, see their FAQ (

      To learn more about TechTransfer's cancellation, refund, and substitution policies, see How to Enroll (

      Cancellation Policy:

      The cancellation fee for this course is $75. At TechTransfer, there are no refunds for classes with registration fees of $75 or less. For all other classes, you may cancel your enrollment and receive a refund of your registration fee less $75, provided they receive your written request to cancel at least 5 full working days before the class is scheduled to begin. In lieu of canceling your registration, you may (1) transfer your registration to another TechTransfer class, (2) receive a tuition credit for the full amount, useable toward a future class, or (3) send a substitute in your place.

      Note: TechTransfer recommends you discuss any possible problems or online security issues with your IT person before you register for any online classes. If you are worried about connectivity issues, please contact the online training coordinator the week before the class to schedule a time to test your system. If you do not test your system and you have technical issues during a live online class, we will not provide a refund.

LTAP Subsidized

This class is offered at a reduced fee to employees of California's city, county, regional, and tribal public agencies

Course Fee

Standard Rate:

Public Agency Rate:



Course Credit

This course grants:

1.60 CEUs

Upcoming Sessions (0)

[not currently scheduled]


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California LTAP Center

Phone: (562) 985-2872