Siemens real-time adaptive traffic control technology reduces travel times in Ann Arbor, MI


Friday, March 3, 2017 11:00 am EST


Austin, TX
  • SCOOT adaptive traffic signal control system reduces weekday travel times by 12 percent and weekend travel time by 21 percent
  • Findings mark first anniversary of Ann Arbor being chosen as Siemens’ first Center of Excellence for Intelligent Traffic Technology

Siemens real-time traffic control system called SCOOT (Split Cycle Offset Optimization Technique) has reduced Ann Arbor, Michigan’s weekday travel times along the Ellsworth Corridor, south of Michigan Stadium on a route that runs alongside Interstate 94, by 12 percent and weekend travel time by 21 percent. The technology has allowed Ann Arbor to improve its traffic flow to make it easier for its 115,000 residents, which swells to 185,000 when school is in session, to move in and around the city. Last December, Ann Arbor was also the first to be named a Siemens Center of Excellence for Intelligent Traffic Technology, a partnership that brings the latest technologies to help the city improve commute, game day, and the overall travel experience. Based on these results, the city has decided to operate all downtown intersections with SCOOT technology in the upcoming year.

“Often when cities like Ann Arbor are faced with a growing population and increased congestion, the first place many look is in expanding physical infrastructure. But, this isn’t always an option and that’s where technology comes in,” said Marcus Welz, CEO of Siemens Intelligent Traffic Systems in the U.S. “Our system takes the guesswork out of managing traffic by monitoring flow as it’s happening and automating and adjusting signal timings. As we see in Ann Arbor, the city is certainly leading the way in making tangible reductions in congestion through intelligent technologies.”

Traditionally, traffic patterns are pre-programmed to manage flow. The Siemens SCOOT technology takes an adaptive approach, allowing sensors at an intersection to detect vehicle volumes and communicate with the city’s control center and signals to change traffic patterns in real-time.  For example, the system tallies vehicles approaching the light and makes signal adjustments before a line forms. This insight is especially valuable for special events that can draw thousands and increase the number of expected vehicles on the roads. Before implementing the SCOOT system in 2005, a driver had a 15 percent chance of navigating the corridor in less than three minutes. With SCOOT, the likelihood increased to more than 70 percent.

In addition to improving traffic flow, the SCOOT system also helps Ann Arbor enhance its operations. According to officials, the system optimizes traffic flow and does so reliably utilizing automatic monitoring systems.

The system has been rolled out along many of Ann Arbor’s major arteries and its most recent deployment was along the Ellsworth Corridor. Ann Arbor began the major data collection on SCOOT in December 2015 via a partnership with mobile analytics provider StreetLight Data. 

The SCOOT project and Center of Excellence expands further on Siemens over 10-year technology partnership with Ann Arbor of providing intelligent traffic management software and hardware to provide insight into the city-wide system and help mitigate congestion for hundreds of thousands of drivers. In 2012, Siemens specialized traffic controllers were included as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation Ann Arbor Test Bed for Connected Vehicles. The specialized controllers transmit critical information to the ‘connected vehicles’ so they can make decisions in real-time to avoid crashes. Siemens has also provided versions of its SEPAC controller firmware and TACTICS advanced traffic management system (ATMS) that help the city’s traffic department plan, manage and control hundreds of signalized traffic intersections.

For more information on the Ann Arbor project, please visit

Siemens’ Mobility Portfolio: Siemens Intelligent Traffic Systems (ITS) business is part of the Siemens Mobility Division which provides efficient and integrated transportation of people and goods by rail and road – including all products, solutions and services regarding mobility.  With over 90 years of experience in traffic management since the installation of the first traffic signal in Berlin, Germany, in 1924, Siemens has a long history of providing ITS design and integration services to cities and agencies throughout the U.S. and worldwide.  Today, over one-third all traffic controllers in the United States are manufactured in our Marion, Kentucky facility and over the past 40 years, Siemens has delivered more than 300 fully operational traffic signal control systems in the U.S.

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Siemens Corporation is a U.S. subsidiary of Siemens AG, a global powerhouse focusing on the areas of electrification, automation and digitalization. One of the world’s largest producers of energy-efficient, resource-saving technologies, Siemens is a leading supplier of systems for power generation and transmission as well as medical diagnosis. With approximately 351,000 employees in 190 countries, Siemens reported worldwide revenue of $88.1 billion in fiscal 2016. Siemens in the USA reported revenue of $23.7 billion, including $5.4 billion in exports, and employs approximately 50,000 people throughout all 50 states and Puerto Rico.