Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)

monitors with traffic displays for the ITS room

Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) is the usage of sensor, computer, electronics and communication technologies and management strategies in a cohesive way. The goal is to improve transportation-related safety and mobility issues and to enhance operational efficiency. ITS devices and applications can include many different things, from advanced traffic signal controllers to weather stations, pan-tilt-zoom cameras for monitoring traffic conditions, real-time adaptive traffic signal operations, and more. These are often joined by a communications network and in that case can be linked to Traffic Management Centers (TMCs) where ITS professionals can monitor or operate the system using real-time information and traffic management plans. ITS is a key part of Smart City/Smart Community efforts, which take data from these and many other sources beyond transportation to manage City assets and resources more efficiently, resulting ideally in an improved quality of life for constituents as well as a stronger and more connected community.

ITS and the City of Centennial

Starting in 2017, the cities of Centennial, Greenwood Village and Lone Tree began collaborating on a pilot project to manage and reduce traffic congestion across jurisdictional boundaries. The cities partnered on Yosemite Street between Lincoln Avenue and Belleview Avenue to install a new adaptive signal system and sensors that enable the timing of signals to be adjusted in real time by the system as traffic patterns and volumes change throughout the day.

The Yosemite Street pilot project was successfully completed in October 2020. This Yosemite Street pilot was identified as the first step in the City’s ITS Master Plan implementation.

View the City's ITS Master Plan(PDF, 5MB)

Adaptive traffic signal operations remain active within Centennial on the Yosemite Street corridor – since modifications to signal timing are based on traffic conditions across the corridor, changes or modifications may or may not be noticeable to drivers on the corridor. Ideally any ongoing adjustments are seamless and invisible to the user they are benefiting.

Next Steps

Centennial is currently in process with installing additional necessary components and connections to enable deployment of adaptive traffic signal operations on other City corridors beyond Yosemite Street. Adaptive traffic signal operations are anticipated to be able to be fully deployed within the City at the following City-owned and operated traffic signals on the following arterial corridors by the end of 2023:

  • Arapahoe Road,
  • Dry Creek Road,
  • Jordan Road,
  • Smoky Hill Road, and
  • Himalaya Street

View a map of upcoming ITS project locations(PDF, 928KB).

In addition, the City will be working to develop and evolve metrics for the adaptive traffic signal timing corridors as additional corridors are deployed. Travel time may be part of those metrics but that metric alone does not capture the potential full benefits of the added flexibility in operations that adaptive operations can provide when compared to time-based operations.