June 11


Traffic Adaptive System Is Having Growing Pains

By Mike Spack

June 11, 2015

InSync, Rhythm Engineering, Traffic Control

InSync SystemTwo years ago I wrote a very positive post about Rhythm Engineering’s InSync Traffic Adaptive signal control system.  I still believe traffic adaptive signal control is the future and that traffic engineers should not be doing signal timing plans in 20 years.

I’ve talked to several people in the industry with knowledge about the InSync System and there appears to be two technical issues with the current system:

  1. They switched to a Samsung camera detection system that is not working consistently.
  2. The new firmware update screwed up the part of the algorithm that uses historical detector data as a backup to run the system if something is off with the real-time detection.

Two years ago I met Reggie Chandra, the founder and visionary of Rhythm Engineering.  I’m a believer in Reggie and I think he will get these issues resolved.  I’d still be looking at adaptive control, including InSync, if I was in control of a traffic signal system around a mall, college campus, or sport’s stadium.  I’d also be looking at installing adaptive control if I was rebuilding the signals along an entire corridor.

But since I wrote positively about the InSync System in the past, it’s my responsibility to give you the inside scoop so you can ask questions if you’re considering the InSync System. I am confident that Reggie Chandra’s team will eventually resolve these issues.

  • Doesn’t work here in Florida from my experience. They are being sued also because of non-delivery of promised results.
    They seem to keep blaming others for the system not working as promised.
    I drive through multiple Insync coordiors daily and get stopped almost at every intersection I drive through. That is basic coordination synchronization of traffic signals not being done. VMS displays frequently drive times through these areas like ” 3.5 miles – 7 to 9 mins” on 40 mph roads non rush hour traffic through their adaptive controlled intersections.
    Why Reggie Chandra is heard saying in a video “synchronized traffic signals save lives”. Too bad his system doesn’t seen to deliver that concern!

  • I dont believe the ROI is worth it. I’ve read some of the studies produced and looked at them on a hands on level and haven’t seen the benefit. Especially not for millions of dollars.

  • I’m working on a few adaptive systems and have yet to be sold on them.

    1) Our first system took two corridors of uncoordinated signals, coordinated them, then applied the adaptive software. The consultants touted success, but our electricians and I believe the vast majority of the improvements were due to coordination NOT the adaptive system. Furthermore, when looking at our central control settings, i actually cant figure out what the adaptive system does or when it kicks in…

    2) Our next system is currently being deployed. That system is facing huge setbacks as the advanced detection units are not meeting the range of detection they sold us on. If this isn’t fixed, that means we spent a half million dollars on a system that will not do anything. Even worse i think, is if it does work, we’ll all pat ourselves on the back but still have a system that theoretically kicks in in very rare instances, and even then will not solve the congestion problem as the problem will not be the offsets, but the cycle length and lack of capacity (which we do not/can not increase).

    3) The next project we’re working on is a million dollar adaptive corridor. Based on the previous corridor, i believe this system to be an absolute sham sold to us by snake oil salesmen in the technology world.

    And again…at best we’re spending millions of dollars to potentially shave a minute or two off your commute…and only during emergency events such as crashes, trains, emergencies, etc. Pretty poor ROI if you ask me.

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    Mike Spack

    My mission is to help traffic engineers, transportation planners, and other transportation professionals improve our world.

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