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Functional requirements for traffic collection systems relating to traffic lights (VSS2007/303)

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Geo-spatial type
Project website
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Transport mode
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Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

A correct registration of traffic conditions with the help of traffic monitoring systems is of utmost importance for optimal traffic control.  Although today’s traffic monitoring systems are widely used for the traffic-dependent control of light-signal systems, there is still a need for research and information.


The objective of the project is a development of scientific fundamentals for standardization; development of proposals concerning a possible revision of existing standards.


Literature research, collecting and compiling the technical data of the different systems
The ollowing steps will be completed during the project:

  • Poll perform with the operators and evaluate compilation of practical experience
  • Definition and explanation
  • The system catalogue creation and the corresponding example
  • Create research report


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
Swiss Government: State Secretariat for Education and Research
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)


Today available traffic collection systems on the market contain various different technologies, which are qualified to influence a traffic light directly (micro-control). Inductive loops, magnetic field sensors, radar, laser and video coverage are just a few traffic collection systems which were analysed in functionality, detection area, installation and alignment as well as in advantages and disadvantages.

On no account, a single collection system covers all the requirements, nevertheless possesses the ability to detect specific traffic participants, such as pedestrians, in particular disabled persons, two-wheelers, motor vehicles, ambulance vehicles and public transportation, in various traffic situations. It turned out that every traffic collection technology has its typical operational area, where their strengths become important.

In order to search an optimal traffic collection system, so called system selection matrices were developed. Each collection system was examined on the versatility for different traffic participants, whose function of collection such as detection respectively registration, prolongation respectively dimensioning of the green phases, jam and event detection as well as limitations of utilization. Out of these perceptions the selection matrices were derivated.

Next to conventional traffic monitoring systems, which influence the micro-control of traffic lights, in the future mobile and external monitoring systems for macro-control will be applied. Together with special data evaluation systems, they lead to new dimensions in traffic and flow detection. Floating phone data, flotation car data as well as additional research and development projects were annotated and their future areas of application were discussed.

Based on a survey at the operators of traffic lights in Switzerland, the current situation of appointed traffic collection systems was analysed. In spite of various alternative technologies, inductive loops are still appointed in most cases (98%). Alternatives to it were used just for special applications. For the detection of pedestrians, mainly pressing buttons and buttons for particular disabled persons were appointed. The survey showed that the operators prefer the established traffic collection systems compared to new ones.

The experiments in the area of the traffic lights showed, that the alternative collection systems as video and laser exhibits a reliability of over 99.5% and fault detections occur only rarely.

In the de


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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