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Synchro Studio 7

Examples

Examples

Synchro Studio 7

Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1 - INTRODUCTION............................................................................................................................. 1
CHAPTER 2 - BASIC ISOLATED INTERSECTIONS ......................................................................................... 2
BASIC TWO-STAGE ISOLATED INTERSECTION ........................................................................................................... 2
Modeling with Synchro ......................................................................................................................................... 3
DUAL RING, EIGHT-PHASE CONTROLLER .................................................................................................................. 7
Modeling with Synchro ......................................................................................................................................... 8
SINGLE RING CONTROLLER WITH MORE THAN FOUR PHASES ................................................................................ 11
Modeling with Synchro ....................................................................................................................................... 11
CHAPTER 3 - CODING INTERCHANGES AND CLOSELY SPACED INTERSECTIONS......................... 14
SETTING UP A TIMING PLAN .................................................................................................................................... 14
SETTING UP LEADING ALTERNATING TIMING .......................................................................................................... 16
CODING OVERLAPS ................................................................................................................................................. 16
DIAMOND WITH LEADING ALTERNATING ................................................................................................................ 17
DIAMOND-LAGGING SIMULTANEOUS ...................................................................................................................... 24
DIAMOND INTERCHANGE WITH FRONTAGE ROADS ................................................................................................. 30
SINGLE POINT URBAN INTERCHANGE ...................................................................................................................... 35
MULTIPLE INTERSECTIONS ON ONE CONTROLLER................................................................................................... 38
GROUP CONTROL EXAMPLE TWO ............................................................................................................................ 43
CHAPTER 4 - SPECIAL CASES ........................................................................................................................... 46
SIX LEG INTERSECTION ........................................................................................................................................... 46
Modeling with Synchro ....................................................................................................................................... 46
CONTROLLER WITH MORE THAN NINE PHASES ....................................................................................................... 49
Modeling with Synchro ....................................................................................................................................... 49
T-INTERSECTION WITH NON-CONFLICTING PEDESTRIAN MOVEMENT..................................................................... 52
Modeling with Synchro ....................................................................................................................................... 53
FLORIDA T-INTERSECTION ...................................................................................................................................... 55
Modeling with Synchro ....................................................................................................................................... 55
ARTERIAL WITH WIDE MEDIAN EXAMPLE .............................................................................................................. 58
FIXED CYCLE COORDINATED SYSTEM..................................................................................................................... 62
TWO WAY TRAFFIC CONTROL................................................................................................................................. 65
Modeling with Synchro ....................................................................................................................................... 65
ROUNDABOUTS (SIMULATED) ................................................................................................................................. 67
Modeling with Synchro ....................................................................................................................................... 67
CHANNELIZED RIGHT TURNS .................................................................................................................................. 69
Modeling with Synchro ....................................................................................................................................... 69

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Synchro Studio 7

Examples

Chapter 1 - Introduction
The following sections include examples on coding Synchro and SimTraffic. They have been designed to start with
basic coding of isolated intersections. A special section on coding interchanges is included for assistance with these
complex types of coding problems. A section of special cases has also been included to provide guidance on some of
Synchro and SimTraffic's more complex features.
Each of the examples includes a sample Synchro file that is included in your Trafficware installation directory when
you install the software. New users are encouraged to attempt the basic coding problems from scratch. In the Basic
Lessons, you will learn how to create the network, input lane geometry, traffic volumes and signal timing, and on
some of the important measures of effectiveness that are included within Synchro.
In the latter examples, special illustrations of how to use the Ring-and-Barrier-Designer, the Cluster Editor, creating
curved links, modeling a roundabout, coding a channelized right turn (pork chop) island and more will be discussed.

Examples

Synchro Studio 7

Chapter 2 - Basic Isolated Intersections


Basic Two-Stage Isolated Intersection
The most basic type of intersection to analyze is the two-stage, pretimed isolated intersection. The figure below
shows the lane configuration and phase assignments for a typical four-leg signalized intersection.

Phase 2 is the main street eastbound movement for the left, through and right.
Phase 4 is the side street southbound movement for the left through and right.
Phase 6 is the main street westbound movement for the left, through and right.
Phase 8 is the side street northbound movement for the left, through and right.
As the name of the example implies, there are two-stages of operation (east-west and northsouth). However, there are 4 phases that are actually designated within the controller. This is an
example of dual ring control where phase 2/6 (east-west) operate concurrently as well as do
phase 4/8 (north-south).

The resulting dual ring structure is as follows:

Synchro Studio 7

Examples

For dual ring controllers, only one phase per ring can be active and the active phase(s) must be on the same side of
the barrier. For the example above, phase 2 and 4 are in ring A and phase 6 and 8 are in ring B. Phase 2 and 6 are in
barrier 1 (left side) and phase 4 and 8 are in barrier 2 (right side). This dictates that phase 2 and 6 can operate
simultaneously and phase 4 and 8 can operate simultaneously. For controller setting, these phases would normally
have dual entry set.
For this example, single ring sequential phasing could also be used. In
that case, phase 1 could operate the eastbound and westbound
movements and phase 2 could operate the northbound and southbound
movements as shown below.

Modeling with Synchro


Filename: Basic 2-Stage.syn

Step 1. Create the Network


To begin a new network, open Synchro and select the command FileNew. From the MAP view (press [F2] if not
already in the MAP view), create the network shown below (see the topic on Mapping out Links and Intersections in
the Synchro Plus User Guide). Use a link length of 1000 feet.

To add a link to the map:


1A. Select the Add Link button

or press the [A] key.

1B. Position the mouse cursor on the MAP view where you want the link to start, and click the left mouse button.
The status indicators, at the lower-right corner of the view show the X and Y coordinates in feet (meters). Note:
To cancel adding a link, press [Esc].
1C. Release the mouse button and move the cursor to the position on the window where you want the link to end.
Click the left mouse button again. Refer to the status bar at the bottom of the window to see the length and
direction of the link
To create the intersection, simply create another link that crosses the link created in steps A through C above. The
intersection will be placed where the links cross.
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Synchro Studio 7

If you do not want an intersection to be placed where the links cross, hold the [Ctrl]
key while drawing the link that crosses. This would be an overpass (or underpass).
The elevation is set in the Node settings for each node on the end of the link.

Step 2. Enter Lane and Volume Data


From the MAP view, click on the intersection created in step 1 and activate the LANE settings by pressing the Lane
View button

or the [F3] key. Enter the lane data that is shown below:

See the appropriate LANE settings topics in the Synchro Plus User Guide. The values show in blue are calculated.
Generally, these values are not overridden.
To add lanes, enter the number of lanes for that lane group. For each lane group, enter the number of lanes as a value
from 0 to 8, or select the lane configuration from the drop down list.
For the through lane group, specify whether it shares with left or right traffic by pressing [R] or [L] or by selecting
the appropriate configuration from the list.

Switch to the VOLUME settings by pressing the Volume View button


shown below:

or the [F4] key. Enter the volume data

Synchro Studio 7

Examples

See the appropriate VOLUME settings topics in the Synchro Plus User Guide.

Step 3. Enter the Timing Data


Since this is a basic intersection, you can use Phase Templates to quickly set up the timing for this intersection. In
this example, the major street is east/west, therefore click on the [Options] button and then select Set to East-West
Template Phases to set phases for an east-west arterial. This will automatically set the phase numbers as shown
below:

To edit the phase templates to match local standards, use the command
OptionsEdit-Template-Phases.

For this example, the left and right turn phases are permitted. The controller type is pretimed. Use the default values
for the remaining fields shown on the TIMING settings.
The basic information required to perform an analysis of a basic two-phase intersection is now entered. To set phase
specific parameters, such as the minimum split, yellow and red times, and pedestrian interval settings, see the
PHASING settings, in the Synchro Studio 7 User Guide. For this example, use the default values assigned in the
PHASING options.

Step 4. Optimize Intersection Cycle Length


Now that the basic data is entered, the next step is to find the best timing plan for this isolated pretimed intersection.
Use the OptimizeIntersection-Cycle-Length command to set the intersection to the Natural Cycle Length. The
Natural Cycle length is the lowest acceptable cycle length for an intersection operating independently. Synchro will
automatically optimize the intersection splits when you perform this step. The resulting cycle length is shown in the
Current Cycle Length field show on the left of the TIMING settings.

Step 5. Interpreting Results


The final step is to interpret the measures of effectiveness (MOE) for the example. The most common MOEs are
shown in the TIMING settings rows for each lane group.
The intersection wide MOE's for volume to capacity (v/c) ratio, delay and level of service (LOS) are shown in the
left side of the TIMING settings.
The most commonly reported MOEs are the v/c ratio, the delay and the level of service.

Examples

Synchro Studio 7

The v/c Ratio is the v/c ratio using actuated green times and cycle lengths. The v/c ratio indicates the amount of
congestion for each lane group. Any v/c Ratio greater than or equal to 1 indicates that the approach is operating at
above capacity.
The delay is a measure of the total delay, in seconds per vehicle, experienced for the given lane group. Version 6
introduced two new delay measurements. In addition to the traditional Control Delay, Synchro also includes a
Queue Delay. The Total Delay is the combination of the two types of delay.
The LOS is a means of describing the operational efficiency of a given intersection based on the calculated delay.
The range of service quality has been defined in terms of six LOS ranges (A to F). LOS A represents free flowing
conditions with insignificant delays. LOS F represents forced flows (jammed conditions) with excessive delays.
Under LOS F, queues may block upstream intersections.
To quickly print these results, use the command FilePrint-Window.

Synchro Studio 7

Examples

Dual Ring, Eight-Phase Controller


A common, yet more complex example than the Basic Two-Stage Isolated Controller, is a dual ring, eight-phase
controller. The following figure shows a sample lane configuration and phase assignments for a typical four-leg
eight-phase signalized intersection.

Phase 1 is the main street protected westbound left (dual left turn lane).
Phase 2 is the main street eastbound movement for the through and right.
Phase 3 is the side street protected northbound left.
Phase 4 is the side street southbound movement for the through and right.
Phase 5 is the main street protected eastbound left (dual left turn lane).
Phase 6 is the main street westbound movement for the through and right.
Phase 7 is the side street protected southbound left.
Phase 8 is the side street northbound movement for the left, through and right.
The resulting dual ring structure is as follows:

For dual ring controllers, only one phase per ring can be active and the active phase(s) must be on the same side of
the barrier. Notice that on the right side barrier, phase 4 leads phase 3. This is an example of a lagging left turn
phase. The sequence in which phase will occur in ring A is 1-2-4-3.

Examples

Synchro Studio 7

Modeling with Synchro


Filename: Dual Ring.syn

Step 1. Create the Network


To begin a new network, open Synchro and select the command File New. From the MAP view (press [F2] if not
already in the MAP view), create the network shown in below. The links are 1000' in length.

In the Link Settings, set a speed of 45 mph for both Main Street and 1st Street. Use the defaults for all other fields in
the LINK SETTINGS window.

Step 2. Enter Lane and Volume Data


From the MAP view, click on the intersection of Main Street & 1st Street and activate the LANE settings by
pressing the Lane View button

or the [F3] key. Enter the lane data that is shown below:
INTID EBL EBT EBR WBL WBT WBR NBL NBT NBR SBL SBT SBR

Lanes and Sharing

Shared Lanes *

Lane Width (ft)

12

12

12

12

12

12

12

12

1
0

12

12

12

Storage Length (ft)

250

150

250

150

100

100

Storage Lanes (#)

Grade (%)

Leading Detector (ft)

50

300

50

50

350

50

50

300

50

300

Trailing Detector (ft)

144

144

12

* For Shared Lanes, 0 = None, 1 = Left, 2 = Right, 3 = Both (Shared with Through)

To add lanes, enter the number of lanes for that lane group. For each lane group, enter the number of lanes as a value
between 0 and 5, or select the lane configuration from the drop down list.
For the through lane group, specify whether it shares with left or right traffic by pressing [R] or [L] selecting the
appropriate configuration from the list.

Switch to the VOLUME settings by pressing the Volume View button


shown below:

or the [F4] key. Enter the volume data

Synchro Studio 7

Examples

INTID

EBL

EBT

EBR

WBL

WBT

WBR

NBL

NBT

NBR

SBL

SBT

SBR

500

1500

100

100

500

100

100

200

50

100

200

50

Use the defaults for all other values in the VOLUME settings.

Step 3. Enter the Timing Data


To start, you can use the Phase Templates to set up the initial timing for this intersection. In this example, the major
street is east/west, therefore click on the [Options] button and select Set to East-West Template Phases to set phases
for an east-west arterial. This will automatically set the phase numbers as shown below:

Notice the Turn Type for the left turns is set to Perm, by default. For this example, all the left turns are protected.
Use the Turn Type setting drop down box and set all the left turn phases to Prot. If you prefer, you can set the phase
numbers in the Protected and Permitted Phase rows. The Turn Type and phase number rows will now look like this:

Also, notice the dual ring structure shown above has the northbound left (phase 3) as a lagging left turn. To change
this, set the phase 3 Lead/Lag row to lag. The Lead/Lag row is shown in the TIMING settings and the PHASING
settings.
For this example, we will be analyzing the exiting conditions, therefore it is necessary to enter some additional
information. For this example, we are using Actuated-Coordinated for the Controller Type field. For the Current
Cycle Length, enter a value of 100 seconds.

The Offset Settings will have no effect on the results of this example and do not
need to be modified since this is an isolated intersection. The reason for setting this
up as an Actuated-Coordinated controller would be for future system analysis.

The final step to setting up the timing data is to enter the existing split information. To do this, you can enter the
value in the Total Split row. The Total Splits for this example are shown below:

Examples

Synchro Studio 7

To adjust a split with the mouse, move the mouse to the right side of a yellow + all
red band on the current Splits and Phasing diagram shown at the bottom of the
TIMING settings.

The information required to perform an analysis of a dual ring, eight-phase intersection is now complete.
To set phase specific parameters, such as the minimum split, yellow and red times, and pedestrian interval
settings, see the PHASING settings.

Step 4. Interpreting Results


Now that the required data is entered, you can now interpret the existing condition measures of effectiveness (MOE)
for the example.
The intersection wide MOE's are shown on the left side of the TIMING settings.
The most commonly reported MOEs are the volume to capacity ratio (Intersection v/c Ratio or Volume to Capacity
Ratio) the delay (Total Delay, Control Delay and Queue Delay) and the Level of Service.
To quickly print these results, use the command FilePrint-Window. For other more detailed reports, see the topic
on Selecting Reports.

Step 5. Optimize Intersection Cycle Length


Now that the basic data is entered and analyzed, the final step is to find the best timing plan for this isolated
intersection. Use the OptimizeIntersection-Cycle-Length command to set the intersection to the Natural Cycle
Length. The Natural Cycle length is the lowest acceptable cycle length for an intersection operating independently.
Synchro will automatically optimize the intersection splits when you perform this step.
Prior to optimizing the file, perform a Save-As of the existing file and give this a new
name. That way you can maintain the existing conditions file and the proposed
optimized file for comparison purposes. The two files can be compared with the
Multi-File Alternative Comparison Report.

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Examples

Single Ring Controller with More Than Four Phases


Sometimes it is desirable to use a single ring and have the phases operate one at a time sequentially. The intersection
shown in the previous example, Dual Ring, Eight-Phase Controller, can be coded as a single ring controller. This
single ring configuration is how other software packages, such as TRANSYT, model signal timing.
To model the previous example as a single ring controller, the resulting ring structure is as follows (six stages):

Notice the phase number does not identify a single intersection movement, but a group of non-conflicting
movements arranged in an established order of preferred sequence (stages). Each phase is individually timed and can
be skipped if no demand is present for it. For the dual ring controller in the previous example, phase 1 identified the
westbound left turn movement. For this single ring example, phase 1 identifies the movement of the westbound and
eastbound left turns followed by phases 2 through 6, sequentially.

Modeling with Synchro


Filename: Single Ring.syn

Step 1. Create the Network


Creating the network is the same, whether using the dual-ring or single ring configuration. See Step 1 in the previous
example, Dual Ring, Eight-Phase Controller for information on creating this example network.

Step 2. Enter Lane and Volume Data


See Step 2 of the previous example, Dual Ring, Eight-Phase Controller for information on entering lane and volume
data.

Step 3. Enter the Timing Data


To enter single ring timing for a controller with more than 4 sequential phases, some set up is required. As you can
see from the Single Ring Structure show above, there are 6 stages for this example. The first step to creating a sixstage, single ring (sequential) controller is to set up the appropriate ring structure in the Ring-and-Barrier-Designer.

or the [F5]
Select the intersection and switch to the TIMING settings by pressing the TIMING settings button
key. Then activate the Ring-and-Barrier-Designer by selecting Options> Ring-and-Barrier-Designer. Within the
Ring-and-Barrier-Designer, select the option Non Standard Phasing from the Sequential Phasing box.

In the Ring-and-Barrier-Designer cells, enter the phases 1 through 6 sequentially in ring A as shown below:

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Examples

Synchro Studio 7

Select [OK].
Still within the TIMING settings [F5], proceed to set up the single ring timing. Keeping the single ring, six-stage
structure defined above in mind, the next step is to enter the phase numbers for the individual movements. Starting
in the Protected Phases row, enter the phase number(s) for the individual movements. For instance, the eastbound
left occurs as a protected left phase during phase 1 and also continues as a protected left during phase 2. To code
this, enter a 1 in the Protected Phases row for the EBL, then insert a space [space bar] and enter a 2. Notice the Turn
Type for the EBL automatically become Prot. Continuing with the EBT, enter a 2 and a 3 separated with a space in
the Protected Phases row. This codes the EBT movement to operate with phase 2 and 3. Continue entering the
appropriate phases for the remaining movements. The resulting rows will appear as follows:

The Detector Phases will be the first phase entered in the Protected Phases row. If no protected phases are entered, it
will be the first phase entered in the Permitted Phases row.
As in the previous example, set the Controller Type to Actuated-Coordinated and the Current Cycle Length to 100
seconds.

The final step to setting up the timing data is to enter the split information. To do this, you can enter the
value in the Total Split row. The Total Splits for this example are shown in the Total Split row in the above
graphic. The Total Split is the sum of all phases entered for the movement.
To adjust a split with the mouse, move the mouse to the right side of a yellow + all
red band on the current Splits and Phasing diagram shown at the bottom of the
TIMING settings.

The information required to perform an analysis of a single ring, six-phase intersection is now complete. To set
phase specific parameters, such as the minimum split, yellow and red times, and pedestrian interval settings, see the
PHASING settings.

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Synchro Studio 7

Examples

Step 4. Interpreting Results


Now that the required data is entered, you can now interpret the existing condition measures of effectiveness (MOE)
for this example.
The intersection wide MOE's are shown on the left side of the TIMING settings.
The most commonly reported MOEs are the volume to capacity ratio (Intersection v/c Ratio or v/c Ratio) the delay
and the Level of Service.
Notice the results for this single ring example are different from the dual ring example, even thought the same basic
data was used. This has to do with the inherent inflexibility of the single ring controller. Phases follow a fixed
sequence and cannot change phase pair order. With the dual ring controller, a phase is allowed to change which
concurrent phase it is operating with based on demand and the rules for dual ring control.
For instance, with the single ring controller shown above, the EBL movement is allowed to operate with 10 more
seconds than the WBL. If the WBL for any given cycle has more demand than the EBL, it is not allowed to be given
more green time than the EBL. With dual ring control, the WBL is allowed to have more green time if the demand is
greater than that of the EBL.
To quickly print these results, use the command FilePrint-Window. For other more detail reports, see the topic on
Selecting Reports.

Step 5. Optimize Intersection Cycle Length


Now that the basic data is entered and analyzed, the final optional step is to find the best timing plan for this isolated
intersection. Use the OptimizeIntersection-Cycle-Length command to set the intersection to the Natural Cycle
Length. The Natural Cycle length is the lowest acceptable cycle length for an intersection operating independently.
Synchro will automatically optimize the intersection splits when you perform this step.

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Examples

Synchro Studio 7

Chapter 3 - Coding Interchanges and Closely Spaced


Intersections
Setting up a Timing Plan
Setting up a timing plan for an interchange or closely spaced intersections can be a difficult and confusing task.
There are many options to consider. Here is a step-by-step plan for setting up timing plans for these situations.

Step 1
Enter lane and volume data. See the LANE settings and the VOLUME settings.

Step 2
Select a controller scheme. Choose between Local and Group control, and between fixed and floating cycle length.

Step 3
Set up phasing for each intersection using Local Control. Even if Group control will be used, to start assume Local
control.
Each intersection should use sequential phasing from a single ring. In most cases one intersection will use phases 12-3-4, and the other intersection will use phases 5-6-7-8. If there is a third or fourth intersection in the group, they
can use additional phases 9-10-11-12 for example.
If necessary, use the Ring-and-Barrier-Designer to set up a phase sequences for each intersection.
If the intersections were previously set up under Group Control, use the Cluster Editor to return them to Local
control. All intersections must be set up using Local Control to perform Cycle Length, Offset, and Phase Sequence
Optimizations.
If this interchange has a movement with a high right turn volume, consider setting up a right turn phase as suggested
in the topic Diamond with Heavy Right Turns.
Do not include extra phases such as phases 12 and 16 as shown in the Leading Alternating plan. These will be added
later. If extra phases are part of the timing plan, remove them to aid in the optimization.
Make sure that phases are set up with Allow Lead/Lag Optimize set to 'Yes'. The Optimization will then be able to
consider both leading and lagging alternatives.

Step 4
Optimize the network using the OptimizeNetwork-Cycle-Length command then use the OptimizeNetworkOffsets command.
When choosing a cycle length pay careful attention to the queuing penalty MOE. This value is critical within an
interchange
If using Local control, you are now finished.
If using Group Control, continue with steps 5 to 8.

Step 5
Determine the phase sequence to use.
Record the Phasing Order. Visit the TIMING settings for each intersection and write down the phase sequence.

Step 6
Determine the barrier change point(s). Visit the TIME-SPACE DIAGRAM window with [Max] option and observe
the traffic band.
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The phase numbers listed here assume that you are using the same phase numbers as the examples.
If the internal left turn phases (1 and 5) are leading, and the through phases (2 and 6) do not coincide, the optimizer
has automatically selected Leading Alternating Timing, see Setting up Leading Alternating Timing for special
instructions.
Find a phase from each intersection that starts at about the same time. These phases will be listed first in the barrier
sequence. Normally, the beginning of phases 4 and/or 8 make a good time to start the barrier. When looking at a
time space diagram for the cross street, the red section indicates phases 4 and 8, the green sections indicates phases 2
and 6, and the hatched section represents phases 1 and 5.
If there are no pair of phases from each intersection that change within a few seconds of each other, it may be
necessary to create a supplementary phase. This phase is placed at the beginning of the barrier to insure the internal
offsets make good coordination. Normally this supplementary phase is equal to the travel time between
intersections. The Leading Alternating timing plan uses two supplementary phases.

Step 7
Go to Cluster Editor. Attach the intersections to one controller.

Step 8
Go to the Ring-and-Barrier-Designer. Enter the phasing sequence determined in Step 6.

Step 9
Optimize the Splits and or Cycle Length.
If any movement is served by two or more phases, insure the Detector Phases are set correctly.

Go to the PHASING settings. Make sure phases are not being skipped or unless they are low volume. If a phase is
being skipped, check the coding of the Detector Phases. It may be necessary in some cases to set the Recall to
Minimum.

Step 10
Check queue lengths of internal movements for blocking problems. The queue lengths can be seen in the TIMING
settings and in the Queue report. It is also helpful to observe queues using a microscopic simulation such as
SimTraffic. It may not be possible to eliminate blocking queues 100%, but it should be possible to minimize their
duration. If you encounter unacceptable internal queues, it may be necessary to consider an alternative timing plan.
Be sure to check the intersection coding, the recall or detector phases may need adjusting. SimTraffic can be used to
observe operation and to insure that auxiliary phases are being serviced when appropriate.

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Examples

Synchro Studio 7

Setting up Leading Alternating Timing


Setting up Leading Alternating Timing has a couple of tricks.
Perform steps 1 to 3 as described in Setting up a Timing Plan. In step 3 it is not necessary to set up for Local Control
since we already know the phase sequence and barriers.
Steps 4 to 6 are not necessary since we have already decided the phase sequence to use.
Perform step 7 shown in Setting up a Timing Plan.
Go to the Ring-and-Barrier-Designer.
Use these phases:

Go to the TIMING settings for both intersections. For the off ramp movements 4 and 8, change the phases to 4+12
and 8+16 (the phases are separated by a space).
For the off ramp movements 4 and 8, insure the Detector Phases are 4+12 or 8+16. Be sure that 4 and 8 are listed
first.
Set the Minimum Split and the Maximum Split for phases 12 and 16 as the travel time between the intersections.
Set Recall for phases 1, 5, 12 and 16 to Minimum.

Coding Overlaps
This section discusses special considerations for any movement served by two or more phases, also called an
overlap.
The listed phases will become the Detector Phases. The phase listed first will be used for split optimization.
For the heavy right turn example, the supplementary phase 7 should be listed before 8 so the split optimization for
this movement is phase 7. This will keep the optimized split for phase 8 short.
Pay careful attention to Detector Phases. They are key to controlling split optimization, as well as skipping and
gapping behavior with the actuated green times and in SimTraffic.
Normally the internal through movements will have overlaps of 1+2 and 5+6. Normally the first phase in the
sequence should be the first Detector Phase listed. With a leading left 1, phase 1 is entered first (1, 2), with a lagging
left 1, phase 2 is entered first (2, 1).
It may be necessary to code some phases with Minimum Recall to prevent skipping. An actual controller allows
complex handling of detector calls that depend on the current phase settings. For example, the detectors for phase 8
can be programmed to call phase 2, only while phase 8 is green. If you observe phase skips in the PHASING
settings or SimTraffic, it may be necessary to set the recall for some phases to Minimum. Pay close attention to
phases 1, 2, 5, 6, and any auxiliary phases.

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Synchro Studio 7

Examples

Diamond with Leading Alternating


This diamond interchange example is an example of how to code a diamond interchange with leading alternating
timing. For details on coding diamond interchanges, see the topic on Setting up a Timing Plan and on Setting up
Leading Alternating Timing in this chapter. The examples presented here will closely follow the steps identified in
these topics. Notice that if you follow the steps correctly, you do not know with certainty the actual best operation
for the interchange from the onset.
Filename: Diamond Leading Alt.syn

Step 1A. Create the Network


To begin a new network, open Synchro and select the command FileNew. From the MAP view (press [F2] if not
already in the MAP view), create the network shown below (see the topic on Mapping out Links and Intersections).
The distance between intersections for this example is 414 feet. Be sure to use the node numbers that are shown in
the graphic below.
To draw short links, use the OptionsMAP-Settings command to reduce the size
of the width of the links and the radius of the nodes. Also, zoom in on the area
where the network will be created to give more precision when creating links.

In the LINK SETTINGS window, set a speed of 40 mph for the Main Street and 30 mph for the ramps. Use the
defaults for all other fields in the LINK SETTINGS window.

Step 1B. Enter Lane and Volume Data


From the MAP view, click on the intersection of Main Street & SB Ramp and activate the LANE settings by
pressing the Lane View button

or the [F3] key. Enter the lane data that is shown below:
INTID EBL EBT EBR WBL WBT WBR NBL NBT NBR SBL SBT SBR

Lanes and Sharing

Shared Lanes *

Lane Width (ft)

12

12

Storage Length (ft)

Storage Lanes (#)

Grade (%)

Leading Detector (ft)

250

12

12

12

150

150

50

12

12

12

12

12

12

12
150
1

0
10

250

0
50

50

50

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Examples

Synchro Studio 7

INTID EBL EBT EBR WBL WBT WBR NBL NBT NBR SBL SBT SBR
Trailing Detector (ft)

244

244

Lanes and Sharing

Shared Lanes *

Lane Width (ft)

12

12

12

12

12

12

12

12

12

12

12

Storage Length (ft)

150

150

150

Storage Lanes (#)

Grade (%)

12

Leading Detector (ft)

50

250

250

10

50

50

50

Trailing Detector (ft)

244

244

* For Shared Lanes, 0 = None, 1 = Left, 2 = Right, 3 = Both (Shared with Through)

Next, switch to the VOLUME settings by pressing the Volume View button
or by pressing [F4]. At each
ramp, enter the volumes as shown in the map figure at the start of this example or see the table below. Use the
default values for Conflicting Peds, Peak Hour Factor, Growth Factor, Heavy Vehicles, Bus Blockages and Adj
Parking Lane.
INTID EBL EBT EBR

WBL WBT WBR NBL NBT NBR

SBL SBT

SBR

100

800

100

400 43
300

900

200
200 120

100

10

20

200

Since this is an example of two closely spaced intersections, it is important to specify the origin and destination of
the ramp left turns. This is done to prevent vehicles from unrealistically turning left twice (left from the ramp and
then immediately left again back onto the next ramp).
To do this, use the LINK ORIGIN-DESTINATION VOLUME settings. This window displays Movement
Weighting Factors that control how volume is allocated between input and output volumes.
The LINK ORIGIN-DESTINATION VOLUME settings is available from the VOLUME settings and the LINK
SETTINGS window. For this example, switch to the MAP view by pressing the MAP view button
or by
pressing [F2]. To activate the LINK ORIGIN-DESTINATION VOLUME settings, double click on the Main Street
for the westbound
link between the NB and SB ramps, then select the Link O-D Volumes button
direction. The Link O-D Volumes button for the westbound direction appears with a blue caption when all
Movement Weighting Factors are 1. The LINK ORIGIN-DESTINATION VOLUME settings will appear as shown
below.

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Notice that of the 109 vehicles turning left from the NB Ramp, 36 of these will immediately make another left turn
onto the SB Ramp by default calculation. To modify this, enter a reasonable weight factor in the From NBL Weight
row for the WBL column (the cell under the 36). For this example, enter a weight value of 0.10. This will change the
value of 36 vehicles making the immediate left turn to a value of 9 vehicles. No other values within this window
need to be modified. Synchro will automatically update the other fields in this window.
Select [Close].
Do the same for the EB direction by entering a 0.05 in the From SBL Weight row for the EBL column (the cell
under the 217). This will change the value of 217 to 63.
If one or more Movement Weighting factors have been changed, the Link O-D Volumes button appears with a red
caption.

Step 2. Select a Controller Scheme


At this point, the basic information is entered into Synchro for analysis and optimization. The next step is to choose
between Local and Group control and between fixed and floating cycle length. For more details, see the Signal
Timing Background chapter on the topics Group Control versus Local Control and on Fixed Cycle Length versus
Floating Cycle Length.
In many cases the decision whether to use Local or Group control will depend on the existing equipment. Unless
you are working on new construction or a major update, the timing plans must be generated to match the existing
equipment.
If coordination with adjacent signals is needed, a fixed cycle length is required.
For this example, we will assume that this is new construction and we can determine the control type after further
analysis.

Step 3. Set up Local Phasing


To start, each intersection should be set up to use Local Control. This is important so Synchro can perform the
appropriate Cycle Length, Offset, and Phase Sequence Optimizations. Each intersection should use sequential
phasing from a single ring. For this example, Main Street & SB ramp will use phases 1-2-4 and Main Street & NB
ramp will use phases 5-6-8. To do this, no changes are need to the default ring structure shown in the Ring-andBarrier-Designer.
The Local timing information for the SB ramp is as follows:

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Notice that the WBT phase is also active during the WBL phase (phase 1). Therefore, enter a 2 and a 1 separated by
a space in the Protected Phases row for the WBT movement. Notice that the 2 was entered first so Synchro uses this
in the split optimization. The appropriate Detector Phases are updated automatically according to the input for the
Phases rows.
The Local timing plan for the NB ramp is as follows:

Even though we know from the name of this example the ultimate timing plan that will be selected, it is important to
NOT include the extra phase 12 and 16 as shown in the Leading Alternating plan. These will be added later as
necessary based on the optimization step.

Step 4. Optimize the Network


The next step is to optimize the system as a network of two local intersections. Optimize the network using the
OptimizeNetwork-Cycle-Length command then use the OptimizeNetwork-Offsets command. For this example,
use a cycle length range from 50 seconds to 150 seconds at 10-second increments.
For this example, Synchro recommends a 60-second cycle length for the network. If this were an example for Local
control, the example would be finished.

Step 5. Determine the Phase Sequence


The next step is to determine the phase sequence determined by Synchro (if Allow Lead/Lag Optimize? was set to
"Yes" prior to optimization as recommended). The resulting phase sequence and optimized splits for Main St & SB
Ramp (node #1) are as follows:

Notice, Synchro has recommended that phase 1 leads phase 2.


The resulting phase sequence for Main St & NB Ramp is as follows:

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Step 6. Determine the Barrier Change Point


The next step is to determine the barrier change points. Go to the Time-Space diagram and observe the traffic bands
as shown in the following graphic:

Notice that phase 1 and 5 are leading, and phase 2 and 6 DO NOT coincide. This would suggest a Leading
Alternating Timing plan. Before setting up the leading alternating timing plan, first perform step 7, attaching the
intersections

Step 7. Attach the Intersections to One Controller


To start, set up the file for two intersections working with one controller. Use the Cluster Editor to select the two
intersections working with one controller. Select the intersection of Main Street & SB Ramp (node #1) and switch to
the PHASING settings (the Cluster Editor can also be accessed through the TIMING settings).
Activate the CLUSTER EDITOR window by selecting the [Options] button and then select Cluster Editor.
Click on the intersection of Main Street & NB Ramp to add this intersection to the cluster. The resulting CLUSTER
EDITOR window will appear as shown below.

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Notice that the color for node #2 (Main Street and NB Ramp) has changed. This color will be used in the TIMING
and PHASING settingss to clearly define which intersection data is being modified.
Select [OK].

Step 8. Setting up the Ring Structure


The next step to creating a Leading Alternating Timing plan is to set up the appropriate ring structure in the Ringand-Barrier-Designer. The key is to allow one movement to operate on both sides of the dual ring barrier. The ring
structure for a dual ring, Leading Alternating diamond controller is as follows:

Notice that the south bound and northbound ramp movements are allowed to cross the barrier by reassigning their
phase number (4+12, 8+16). For instance, The west ramp southbound movements are allowed to operate within the
right barrier as phase 4. It is then allowed to cross into the left side barrier and continue to operate as phase 12.
To set up this structure, switch to the PHASING settings or TIMING settings and activate the Ring-and-BarrierDesigner by selecting the [Options] button and then Ring-and-Barrier-Designer. Within the Ring-and-BarrierDesigner, select the button [Diamond 4].
The Ring-and-Barrier-Designer will automatically appear as shown below:

Select [OK].

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Switch back to the TIMING settings [F5], and proceed to set up the dual ring timing.
For the off ramp movements, change the southbound phase 4 to phase 4+12 and phase 8 to 8+16 (separate the phase
numbers with a space. The resulting rows are shown below.
Main St & SB Ramp:

Main St & NB Ramp:

In the PHASING settings, insure that no Pedestrian Phase is set for phase 12 and 16 and set the Minimum Split and
the Maximum Split as the travel time between the intersections. For this example, it is approximately 8 seconds. Set
the Recall for phases 1, 5, 12 and 16 to Minimum.

Step 9. Optimize Intersection Cycle Length


Now that the basic data is entered and analyzed, the next step is to find the best timing plan for this interchange. Use
the OptimizeIntersection-Cycle-Length command to set the intersection to the Natural Cycle Length. The Natural
Cycle length is the lowest acceptable cycle length for an intersection operating independently. Synchro will
automatically optimize the intersection splits when you perform this step.

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Diamond-Lagging Simultaneous
The following example will show how to code a diamond interchange with lagging simultaneous operation. For
details on coding diamond interchanges, see the topic on Setting up a Timing Plan in this chapter. The examples
presented here will closely follow the steps identified in these topics. Notice that if you follow the steps correctly,
you do not know with certainty the actual best operation for the interchange from the onset. That is, whether to use
leading alternating, lagging simultaneous or something else.
Filename: Diamond Lag Lag.syn

Step 1A. Create the Network


To begin a new network, open Synchro and select the command FileNew. From the MAP view (press [F2] if not
already in the MAP view), create the network shown below (see the topic on Mapping out Links and Intersections).
The distance between intersections for this example is 300 feet. The distance for links 2-8 and 1-5 is also 300 feet.
Node 5 and 8 are bend nodes used to create a lane taper (2 lanes to 1 lane). Be sure to use the node numbers that are
shown in the graphic below.
To draw short links, use the OptionsMAP-Settings command to reduce
the size of the links and the radius of the nodes. Also, zoom in on the area
where the network will be created to give more precision when creating
links.

In the LINK SETTINGS window, set a speed of 40 mph for the Main Street and 45 mph for the ramps. Use the
defaults for all other fields in the LINK SETTINGS window.
Notice that the ramps have a bend node (nodes 5 and 8) on the downstream portion of the ramps. This is a taper
point where the ramp changes from 2 lanes to 1. To create this taper, perform the steps identified in the figure shown
above. This is performed after entering the basic lane information.

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Step 1B. Enter Lane and Volume Data


From the MAP view, click on the intersection of Main Street & SB Ramp and activate the LANE settings by
pressing the Lane View button
or the [F3] key. The basic lane information was previously entered in step 1A.
Continue by entering the LANE settings data that is shown below:

Repeat the same steps for the intersection of Main Street & NB Ramp, entering the following lane data:

This is a special example of how turning lanes can continue through a downstream node. Consider the figure below
for this example:

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The EB left at node 2 (NB Ramp) has 2 lanes with one 100 storage lane (lane 5 shown in the figure). The outside
left lane (lane 4) begins 250 west of node 1 (SB Ramp). To code this at node 2 for the EBL column, enter 2 for
Lanes and Sharing, 100 for Storage Length and 1 for Storage Lanes. Then, switch to node 1 for the EBL column and
enter 250 for Storage Length and 1 for Storage Lanes. Do the same for the WB direction.

or by pressing [F4]. At each


Next, switch to the VOLUME settings by pressing the Volume View button
ramp, enter the volumes as shown in map figure at the start of this example. Use the default values for Conflicting
Peds, Peak Hour Factor, Growth Factor, Heavy Vehicles, Bus Blockages and Adj Parking Lane.
Since this is an example of two closely spaced intersections, it is important to specify the origin and destination of
the ramp left turns. This is done to prevent vehicles from unrealistically turning left twice (left from the ramp and
then immediately left again back onto the next ramp).
To do this, use the LINK ORIGIN-DESTINATION VOLUME settings. This window displays Movement
Weighting Factors that control how volume is allocated between input and output volumes.
For this example, use a weight factor of 0.10 in the From NBL Weight row for the WBL column and a 0.05 weight
factor in the From SBL Weight row for the EBL column.
Select [Close].

Step 2. Select a Controller Scheme


At this point, the basic information is entered into Synchro for analysis and optimization. The next step is to choose
between Local and Group control and between fixed and floating cycle length. For more details, see the Signal
Timing Background chapter on the topics Group Control versus Local Control and on Fixed Cycle Length versus
Floating Cycle Length.
In many cases the decision whether to use Local or Group control will depend on the existing equipment. Unless
you are working on new construction or a major update, the timing plans must be generated to match the existing
equipment.
If coordination with adjacent signals is needed, a fixed cycle length is required.
For this example, we will assume that this is new a new installation and we can determine the control type after
further analysis.

Step 3. Set up Local Phasing


To start, each intersection should be set up to use Local Control. This is important so Synchro can perform the
appropriate Cycle Length, Offset, and Phase Sequence Optimizations. Each intersection should use sequential

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phasing from a single ring. For this example, Main Street & SB ramp will use phases 1-2-4 and Main Street & NB
ramp will use phases 5-6-8. To do this, switch to the Ring-and-Barrier-Designer for each intersection. For the SB
Ramp, enter 4-2-1 in ring A of barrier 1. For the NB Ramp, enter 8-6-5 in ring B of barrier 1.
For this example, use an actuated coordinated controller and use the east/west direction as the offset reference phase.
The Local timing information for the SB ramp is as follows:

Notice that the WBT phase is also active during the WBL phase (phase 1). Therefore, enter a 2 and a 1 separated by
a space in the Protected Phases row for the WBT movement. Notice that the 2 is entered first so Synchro uses this in
the split optimization. The appropriate Detector Phases are updated automatically according to the input for the
Phases rows.
The Local timing plan for the NB ramp is as follows:

Step 4. Optimize the Network


The next step is to optimize the system as a network of two local intersections. Optimize the network using the
OptimizeNetwork-Cycle-Length command then use the OptimizeNetwork-Offsets command. For this example,
use a cycle length range from 50 seconds to 150 seconds at 10-second increments.
For this example, Synchro recommended a 70-second cycle length for the network. If this were an example for
Local control, the example would be finished.

Step 5. Determine the Phase Sequence


The next step is to determine the phase sequence determined by Synchro (if Allow Lead/Lag Optimize? was set to
"Yes" prior to optimization as recommended). The resulting phase sequence and optimized splits for Main St & SB
Ramp (node #1) are as follows:

Notice, Synchro has recommended that phase 2 leads phase 1.


The resulting phase sequence for Main St & NB Ramp is as follows:

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Step 6. Determine the Barrier Change Point


The next step is to determine the barrier change points. Go to the Time-Space diagram and observe the traffic bands
as shown in the following graphic:

Notice that phase 1 and 5 are lagging, and phase 2 and 6 DO coincide (within 2 seconds). This would suggest a
Lagging Simultaneous Timing plan.

Step 7. Attach the Intersections to One Controller


To start, set up the file for two intersections working with one controller. Use the Cluster Editor to select the two
intersections working with one controller. Select the intersection of Main Street & SB Ramp (node #1) and switch to
the PHASING settings (or the TIMING settings).
Activate the CLUSTER EDITOR window by clicking on the [Options] button and then select Cluster Editor.
Click on the intersection of Main Street & NB Ramp to add this intersection to the cluster.
Notice that the color for node #2 (Main Street and NB Ramp) has changed. This color will be used in the TIMING
and PHASING settingss to clearly define which intersection data is being modified.
Select [OK].

Step 8. Setting up the Ring Structure


The next step is to set up the appropriate ring structure in the Ring-and-Barrier-Designer.
Since each intersection was set up in a single ring in step 3, no additional modifications are required.

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Step 9. Optimize Intersection Cycle Length


Now that the basic data is entered and analyzed, the next step is to find the best timing plan for this interchange. Use
the OptimizeIntersection-Cycle-Length command to set the intersection to the Natural Cycle Length. The Natural
Cycle length is the lowest acceptable cycle length for an intersection operating independently. Synchro will
automatically optimize the intersection splits when you perform this step.

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Diamond Interchange with Frontage Roads


The following example will show how to code a diamond interchange with frontage roads as shown below.

For details on coding diamond interchanges, see the topic on Setting up a Timing Plan in this chapter. The examples
presented here will closely follow the steps identified in these topics. Notice that if you follow the steps correctly,
you do not know with certainty the actual best operation for the interchange from the onset.
Filename: Diamond w Front Roads.syn

Step 1A. Create the Network


To begin a new network, open Synchro and select the command FileNew. From the MAP view (press [F2] if not
already in the MAP view), create the network shown below (see the topic on Mapping out Links and Intersections).
Be sure to use the node numbers that are shown in the graphic below.
To draw short links, use the OptionsMAP-Settings command to reduce the size of
the width of the links and the radius of the nodes. Also, zoom in on the area where
the network will be created to give more precision when creating links.

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In the LINK SETTINGS window, set the speeds as shown in the figure above. Use the defaults for all other link
settings.

Step 1B. Enter Lane and Volume Data


From the MAP view, click on the intersection of Main Street & SB Frontage Road and activate the LANE settings
by pressing the Lane View button
or the [F3] key. The basic lane information was previously entered in step
1A. Continue by entering the LANE settings data that is shown below:
Lanes and Sharing

Node EBL

EBT

EBR

WBL WBT WBR NBL NBT


1

Storage Length (ft)

100

Storage Lanes (#)

NBR SBL
1

SBT SBR
2

Leading Detector (ft) 1

250

50

250

50

50

Trailing Detector (ft)

244

244

Lanes and Sharing

Storage Length (ft)

100

Storage Lanes (#)

Leading Detector (ft) 2

50

250

250

50

50

Trailing Detector (ft)

244

244

The Frontage Road and Ramp merge points (nodes 9, 11, 13 and 15) are unsignalized intersections without any turn
bays or detectors.

or by pressing [F4]. At each


Next, switch to the VOLUME settings by pressing the Volume View button
intersection, enter the volumes as shown in map figure at the start of this example. Use the default values for
Conflicting Peds, Peak Hour Factor, Growth Factor, Heavy Vehicles, Bus Blockages and Adj Parking Lane.

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For this example, we will use the default values determined within the LINK ORIGIN-DESTINATION VOLUME
settings. This is appropriate since U-turn movements will be more apparent in this example. An example would be a
vehicle traveling on the SB off ramp, turning left (EB) onto Main Street and turning left again to proceed north on
the NB Frontage Road.

Step 2. Select a Controller Scheme


At this point, the basic information is entered into Synchro for analysis and optimization. The next step is to choose
between Local and Group control and between fixed and floating cycle length. For more details, see the Signal
Timing Background chapter on the topics Group Control versus Local Control and on Fixed Cycle Length versus
Floating Cycle Length.
In many cases the decision whether to use Local or Group control will depend on the existing equipment. Unless
you are working on new construction or a major update, the timing plans must be generated to match the existing
equipment.
If coordination with adjacent signals is needed, a fixed cycle length is required.
For this example, we will assume that group control is to be used.

Step 3. Set up Local Phasing


To start, each signalized intersection should be set up to use Local Control. This is important so Synchro can
perform the appropriate Cycle Length, Offset, and Phase Sequence Optimizations. Each intersection should use
sequential phasing from a single ring. For this example, Main Street & SB Frontage Road will use phases 4-2-1 and
Main Street & NB Frontage Road will use phases 8-6-5. To do this, switch to the Ring-and-Barrier-Designer for
each intersection. For the SB Ramp, enter 4-2-1 in ring A of barrier 1. For the NB Ramp, enter 8-6-5 in ring B of
barrier 1.
For this example, use an actuated coordinated controller and use the east/west direction as the offset reference phase.
The Local timing information for the SB Frontage Road is as follows:

Notice that the WBT phase is also active during the WBL phase (phase 1). Therefore, enter a 2 and a 1 separated by
a space in the Protected Phases row for the WBT movement. Phase 2 is entered first so Synchro uses this in the split
optimization. The appropriate Detector Phases are updated automatically according to the input for the Phases rows.
The Local timing plan for the NB Frontage Road is as follows:

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Step 4. Optimize the Network


The next step is to optimize the system as a network of two local intersections. Optimize the network using the
OptimizeNetwork-Cycle-Length command then use the OptimizeNetwork-Offsets command. For this example,
use a cycle length range from 50 seconds to 100 seconds at 5-second increments.
For this example, Synchro recommended a 60-second cycle length for the network. If this were an example for
Local control, the example would be finished.

Step 5. Determine the Phase Sequence


The next step is to determine the phase sequence determined by Synchro (if Allow Lead/Lag Optimize? was set to
"Yes" prior to optimization as recommended). The resulting phase sequence and optimized splits for Main St & SB
Frontage Road (node #1) are as follows:

Notice, Synchro has recommended that phase 2 leads phase 1 (lagging left).
The resulting phase sequence for Main St & AB Frontage Road (node #2) is as follows:

Now, Synchro has recommended that phase 5 leads phase 6 (leading left)

Step 6. Determine the Barrier Change Point


The next step is to determine the barrier change points. Go to the Time-Space diagram and observe the traffic bands
as shown in the following graphic:

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Phase 1 is lagging, phase 5 is leading, and phase 2 and 6 DO coincide (within 2 second). This would suggest a LagLead Timing plan.

Step 7. Attach the Intersections to One Controller


To start, set up the file for two intersections working with one controller. Use the Cluster Editor to select the two
intersections working with one controller. Select the intersection of Main Street & SB Frontage Road (node #1) and
switch to the PHASING settings (the Cluster Editor can also be accessed through the TIMING settings).
Activate the CLUSTER EDITOR window by selecting the [Options] button and then select Cluster Editor.
Click on the intersection of Main Street & NB Frontage Road to add this intersection to the cluster.
The color for node #2 (Main Street and NB Frontage Road) has changed. This color will be used in the TIMING and
PHASING settingss to clearly define which intersection data is being modified.
Select [OK].

Step 8. Setting up the Ring Structure


The next step is to set up the appropriate ring structure in the Ring-and-Barrier-Designer. By combining the two
local timing plans, the phases 2 and 6 do not coincide. To do this, switch to the Ring-and-Barrier-Designer and
configure as shown below so that phase 2 and phase 6 are at the beginning of the barrier change point.

Phase 1 is still lagging phase 2 and phase 5 is still leading phase 6 (even though phase 5 appears at the end of the
ring).

Step 9. Optimize Intersection Cycle Length


Now that the basic data is entered and analyzed, the next step is to find the best timing plan for this interchange. Use
the OptimizeIntersection-Cycle-Length command to set the intersection to the Natural Cycle Length. The Natural
Cycle length is the lowest acceptable cycle length for an intersection operating independently. Synchro will
automatically optimize the intersection splits when you perform this step.

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Single Point Urban Interchange


The single point urban interchange (SPUI) is similar to a diamond interchange. The primary difference between the
two interchanges is that all four left turn movements are controlled by a single traffic signal in the SPUI. The SPUI
also requires less right-of-way than a diamond interchange. The following example will show how to code a SPUI.
Filename: Single Point.syn

Step 1A. Create the Network


To begin a new network, open Synchro and select the command FileNew. From the MAP view (press [F2] if not
already in the MAP view), create the network shown below (see the topic on Mapping out Links and Intersections).
Be sure to use the node numbers that are shown in the graphic below.
To draw short links, use the OptionsMAP-Settings command to reduce the width
of the links and the radius of the nodes. Also, zoom in on the area where the
network will be created to give more precision when creating links.

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In the LINK SETTINGS window, set the speeds as shown in the figure above. Set the turning speed for all left turns
at node 1 to 25 mph (see the topic on Turning Speed in the LANE settings). Also, one freeway merge is modeled in
this example at node 6.
Be sure to follow the instruction on how to code a freeway merge in the topic on Freeway Links.

Step 1B. Enter Lane and Volume Data


From the MAP view, click on node 1 and activate the LANE settings by pressing the Lane View button
the [F3] key and enter the lane data as shown in the image above.

or

The EB left turn bay at node 1 extends 250' beyond node 2 and the WB left turn bay extends 250 beyond node 3. All
other intersections (nodes 4, 5, 6, 11, and 12) are unsignalized intersections. Node 5 and Node 11 have 200' left turn
bays. The example Diamond-Lagging Simultaneous illustrates how to code a turn bay that extends through an
upstream node.

or by pressing [F4]. At each


Next, switch to the VOLUME settings by pressing the Volume View button
intersection, enter the volumes as shown in the table below. Use the default values for Conflicting Peds, Peak Hour
Factor, Growth Factor, Heavy Vehicles, Bus Blockages and Adj Parking Lane.
Hourly Volume
Node EBL EBT EBR WBL WBT WBR NBL NBT NBR SBL SBT SBR NEL NWL NWR SEL SWL
1

800

1000

800

700

1800 500

1300

1700

1500 1200

600
1000
600

1200

800
700

6
11

700

1000

3000
600

12

2000

600
500

800

A SPUI will have much higher lost times compared to a typical intersection due to the large paths through the
intersection. An urban interchange typically has left turn paths through the intersection of 160 feet or more. In this
example, the lost time for the left should be set to 8 seconds and 6 seconds for the through movements at node 1. For
node 2 and 3, a lost time of 4 seconds can be used for all movements since these intersection operate like a typical
intersection.

Step 2. Select a Controller Scheme


At this point, the basic information is entered into Synchro for analysis and optimization. The next step is to choose
between Local and Group control and between fixed and floating cycle length. For more details, see the Signal
Timing Background chapter on the topics Group Control versus Local Control and on Fixed Cycle Length versus
Floating Cycle Length.
In many cases the decision whether to use Local or Group control will depend on the existing equipment. Unless
you are working on new construction or a major update, the timing plans must be generated to match the existing
equipment.
If coordination with adjacent signals is needed, a fixed cycle length is required.

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For this example, node 1, 2 and 3 are signalized. It is assumed that group control (one controller) is used for these
intersections.

Step 3. Set up Group Control


As defined in Step 2, the three intersections will operate under group control. The NBR at node 3 will always
operate with the WBL at node 1 and the SBR at node 2 will always operate with the EBL at node 1.
To attach the three intersections, use the Cluster Editor.

Step 4. Entering the Timing Data


Switch to the TIMING settings [F5] for node 1 to proceed with coding the example. For this example, set the
Controller Type to Actuated-Uncoordinated.
The next step is to enter the phase numbers for the individual movements. Starting in the Protected Phases row, enter
the phase number(s) for the individual movements. All of the left turn movements are Protected phases. The listed
phases will become the Detector Phases. The phase listed first will be used for split optimization.
For node 1, the phase numbers for the appropriate movements are as follows:
EBL: Phase 5
EBT: Phase 2
WBL: Phase 1
WBT: Phase 6
SEL: Phase 7
NWL: Phase 3
For node 2, the phase numbers for the movements are as follows:
EBT/EBR: Free
WBT: Phase 6 and Phase 8 (enter a '6' and an '8' separated by a space)
SBR: Phase 5
For node 3, the phase numbers for the movements are as follows:
EBT: Phase 2 and Phase 4
WBT/WBR: Free
NBR: Phase 1
One of the key issues with a SPUI is the long yellow and all red times used due to the large intersection created. For
this example, use a Yellow of 5.0 seconds and an All Red time of 3.0 seconds in the PHASING settings.

Step 5. Optimize the Network


The final step is to optimize the intersection cycle length. To do this, use the command OptimizeIntersectionCycle-Length. The Splits will be automatically optimized with this step.
For this example, Synchro has recommended a 90-second cycle length for the group of intersections. The resulting
Splits and Phasing Diagram will appear as shown below:

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Multiple Intersections on One Controller


A common use of Group Control (multiple intersections on one controller) is for that of a dogleg intersection. The
figure below shows the lane configuration of a typical dogleg intersection in which one controller will operate both
intersections.

There are many potential timing plans that could be used for such an intersection; the limitation may be due to
controller features or other physical limitations. In general, setting up a timing plan for a dogleg intersection is
similar to setting up a timing plan for a diamond interchange. See the topic on Setting up a Timing Plan in the
Diamond Interchange examples for the steps that should be used to set up a timing plan with Synchro.
Filename: 2 Inter One Controller.syn

Step 1A. Create the Network


To begin a new network, open Synchro and select the command FileNew. From the MAP view (press [F2] if not
already in the MAP view), create the network shown below (see the topic on Mapping out Links and Intersections).

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The distance between 1st Street and 2nd Street is 320 feet.
Use the node numbers shown above.
Use the defaults for all the fields in the LINK SETTINGS window.

Step 1B. Enter Lane and Volume Data


From the MAP view, click on the intersection of Main Street & 1st Street and activate the TIMING settings by
pressing the TIMING settings button
or the [F5] key. Enter the lane and volume data that is shown below (or
see the Lane and Volume diagrams shown in Step 1A):

Repeat the same steps for the intersection of Main Street & 2nd Street, entering the following lane and volume data:

To add more detailed information, such as turn bay lengths and peak hour factors, switch to the LANE settings
and/or the VOLUME settings.

Step 2. Select a Controller Scheme


At this point, the basic information is entered into Synchro for analysis and optimization. The next step is to choose
between Local and Group control and between fixed and floating cycle length. For more details, see the Signal
Timing Background chapter on the topics Group Control versus Local Control and on Fixed Cycle Length versus
Floating Cycle Length.
In many cases the decision whether to use Local or Group control will depend on the existing equipment. Unless
you are working on new construction or a major update, the timing plans must be generated to match the existing
equipment.
If coordination with adjacent signals is needed, a fixed cycle length is required.
For this example, it is assumed that both intersections are working with one controller. The initial steps to
determining the best timing plan assume local phasing as shown in Step 3.

Step 3. Set up Local Phasing


To start, each intersection should be set up to use Local Control. This is important so Synchro can perform the
appropriate Cycle Length, Offset, and Phase Sequence Optimizations. Each intersection should use sequential
phasing from a single ring. For this example, Main Street & 1st Street will use phases 1-2-4 and Main Street & NB
ramp will use phases 5-6-8. To do this, switch to the Ring-and-Barrier-Designer for each intersection. For the 1st
Street, enter 1-2-4 in ring A of barrier 1. For the 2nd Street, enter 5-6-8 in ring B of barrier 1.
For this example, use an actuated coordinated controller and use the east/west direction as the offset reference phase.
The Local timing information for 1st Street is as follows:

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Notice that the WBT phase is also active during the WBL phase (phase 1). Therefore, enter a 2 and a 1 separated by
a space in the Protected Phases row for the WBT movement. Phase 2 is entered first so Synchro uses this in the split
optimization. The appropriate Detector Phases are updated automatically according to the input for the Phases rows.
The WBL movement is protected and permitted, therefore, the Permitted Phases row for the WBL should be a 1 and
a 2 (separated with a space). The NBR overlaps with the WBL, therefore a 1 should be entered in the Protected
Phases row for the NBR.
The Local timing plan for the 2nd Street is as follows:

Step 4. Optimize the Network


The next step is to optimize the system as a network of two local intersections. Optimize the network using the
OptimizeNetwork-Cycle-Length command then use the OptimizeNetwork-Offsets command. For this example,
use a cycle length range from 50 seconds to 150 seconds at 10-second increments.
For this example, Synchro recommended an 90-second cycle length for the network. If this were an example for
Local control, the example would be finished.

Step 5. Determine the Phase Sequence


The next step is to determine the phase sequence determined by Synchro (if Allow Lead/Lag Optimize? was set to
"Yes" prior to optimization as recommended). The resulting phase sequence and optimized splits for Main St & 1st
Street (node #1) are as follows:

Notice that Synchro has recommended that phase 1 leads phase 2.


The resulting phase sequence for Main St & 2nd Street is as follows:

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Step 6. Determine the Barrier Change Point


The next step is to determine the barrier change points. Go to the Time-Space diagram and observe the traffic bands
as shown in the following graphic:

Notice that phase 1 is leading, phase 5 is lagging, and phase 2 and 6 DO coincide (within 6 seconds). This would
suggest a Lead-Lag Timing plan.

Step 7. Attach the Intersections to One Controller


To start, set up the file for two intersections working with one controller. Switch to the Cluster Editor to select the
two intersections working with one controller.
Click on the intersection of Main Street & 2nd Street to add this intersection to the cluster.
Notice that the color for node #2 (Main Street and 2nd Street) has changed. This color will be used in the TIMING
and PHASING settingss to clearly define which intersection data is being modified.
Select [OK].

Step 8. Setting up the Ring Structure


The next step is to set up the appropriate ring structure in the Ring-and-Barrier-Designer. By combining the two
local timing plans, the phases 2 and 6 do not coincide. To do this, switch to the Ring-and-Barrier-Designer and
configure as shown below so that phase 2 and phase 6 are at the beginning of the barrier change point.

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Phase 1 is still leading phase 2 and phase 5 is still lagging phase 6 (even though phase 1 appears at the end of the
ring)

Step 9. Optimize Intersection Cycle Length


Now that the basic data is entered and analyzed, the next step is to find the best timing plan for this intersection. Use
the OptimizeIntersection-Cycle-Length command to set the intersection to the Natural Cycle Length. The Natural
Cycle length is the lowest acceptable cycle length for an intersection operating independently. Synchro will
automatically optimize the intersection splits when you perform this step.

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Group Control Example Two


This example is another example of modeling two intersections with one controller, or Group Control.
Filename: Group Control 2.syn

Step 1A. Create the Network


To begin a new network, open Synchro and select the command FileNew. From the MAP view (press [F2] if not
already in the MAP view), create the network shown below (see the topic on Mapping out Links and Intersections).
Be sure to use the node numbers that are shown in the graphic below.

To draw short links, use the OptionsMAP-Settings command to reduce


the size of the width of the links and the radius of the nodes. Also, zoom in
on the area where the network will be created to give more precision when
creating links.

Use the defaults for the values in the LINK SETTINGS window.

Step 1B. Enter Lane and Volume Data


From the MAP view, click on node 1 or 2 and activate the LANE settings by pressing the Lane View button
or the [F3] key. Enter the LANE settings data that is shown below for each of the intersections:

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Node NBL NBT NBR SBL SBT SBR EBL EBT EBR WBL WBT WBR
Lanes and Sharing

Storage Length (ft)

250

250

100

100

200

250

200

Storage Lanes (#)

Leading Detector (ft) 1

50

50

50

50

50

50

50

50

50

50

50

50

Trailing Detector (ft) 1

Lanes and Sharing

Storage Length (ft)

100

100

200

250

200

250

200

Storage Lanes (#)

Leading Detector (ft) 2

50

50

50

50

50

50

50

50

50

50

50

Trailing Detector (ft) 2

Next, switch to the VOLUME settings by pressing the Volume View button
or by pressing [F4]. At each
intersection, enter the volumes as shown in map figure at the start of this example. Use the default values for
Conflicting Peds, Peak Hour Factor, Growth Factor, Heavy Vehicles, Bus Blockages and Adj Parking Lane.

Step 2. Select a Controller Scheme


At this point, the basic information is entered into Synchro for analysis and optimization. The next step is to choose
between Local and Group control and between fixed and floating cycle length. For more details, see the Signal
Timing Background chapter on the topics Group Control versus Local Control and on Fixed Cycle Length versus
Floating Cycle Length.
In many cases the decision whether to use Local or Group control will depend on the existing equipment. Unless
you are working on new construction or a major update, the timing plans must be generated to match the existing
equipment.
If coordination with adjacent signals is needed, a fixed cycle length is required.
For this example, node 1 and 2 are signalized and that group control (one controller) is used for these intersections.

Step 3. Set up Group Control


As defined in Step 2, the two intersections will operate under group control. To attach the three intersections, use the
Cluster Editor. Select node #1 and switch to the PHASING settings (or the TIMING settings).
Activate the CLUSTER EDITOR window by clicking on the [Options] button and then select Cluster Editor.
Click on node #1 and then on node #2 to add these intersections to the cluster.
Notice that the color for node #1 has changed. This color will be used in the TIMING and PHASING settingss to
clearly define which intersection data is being modified.
Select [OK].

Step 4. Entering the Timing Data


The phase numbers used for this example are shown below:

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Shown at the bottom of the figure is the dual ring phase structure. This first step is to switch to the Ringand-Barrier-Designer and enter the phases as shown below in the above graphic.
Switch to the TIMING settings [F5] for node 1 to proceed with coding the example. For this example, set the
Controller Type to Actuated-Coordinated.
Enter the appropriate phase numbers in the Protected Phases and Permitted Phases rows. All left turn movements are
either Split or Protected.

Step 5. Optimize the Network


The final step is to optimize the intersection cycle length. To do this, use the command OptimizeIntersectionCycle-Length. The Splits will be automatically optimized with this step.
For this example, Synchro has recommended a 100-second cycle length for the group of intersections. The resulting
Splits and Phasing Diagram will appear as shown below:

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Chapter 4 - Special Cases


Six Leg Intersection
Synchro allows you to model intersections with five or more legs directly. Columns are included so up to six
movements per approach can be coded (L, L2, T, R, R2, U). Take the following six-leg intersection for example.

When drawing links, the movement headings are automatically labeled. All available turn movements can be
modeled for the above example. Columns are added in the data entry screens to model "hard" and "soft" left and
right turn movements when you add links. In addition, you can model U-turn movements (to activate U-turns, use
the keystrokes [Ctrl]+U.) In previous versions of Synchro, each approach was limited to 3 turning movements and in
some cases to 2 turning movements.

Modeling with Synchro


Filename: 6 Leg Intersection.syn

Step 1. Create the Network


To begin a new network, open Synchro and select the command FileNew. From the MAP view (press [F2] if not
already in the MAP view), create the network shown below (see the topic on Mapping out Links and Intersections).

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You can name the streets as show above. E/W Street is 45 MPH and N/S and Diag. Street are both 40 MPH. Use the
defaults for all other fields in the LINK SETTINGS window.

Step 2. Enter Lane and Volume Data


From the MAP view, click on the intersection E/W St. & Diag. St. and activate the LANE settings by pressing the
Lane View button or the [F3] key. Enter the lane data that is shown above.
In the LANE settings, the movement abbreviation followed by a "2" indicates the "hard" movement. For instance,
the EBL2 defines the hardest eastbound left turn movement (E/W St. left onto N/S St.).
To code the exclusive E/W St. left to N/S St., select the appropriate picture from the drop down list or enter a value
of 1.
The adjacent lane to the right is a shared "hard" and "soft" left turn movement. To code this, select the appropriate
picture from the drop down list or enter a value of 1 followed by pressing the [L] key to indicate a shared left
movement. Use the same steps to code the movements with only one lane for the shared left turn movements (such
as the NBL movement).
Right turns are entered in a similar fashion. For this example, the right turn movements are always shared with
another movement. For example, the EBR lane is used for the "hard" and "soft" right turn movements. For the right
turn movements shared with the through movement, such as the NB rights, the drop down picture only shows one
right turn movement shared with the through lane. Synchro assumes that both the "hard" and the "soft" right turn are
moving from this lane.
Additional items to be coded in the LANE settings:

Use the defaults for Ideal Saturated Flow, Lane Width, Grade, Area Type, Leading Detector and Trailing
Detector.

Storage Length: Set the EBL and WBL to 250', all other lefts to 200'. Set the EBR and WBR to 150', all
other rights leave as zero (no exclusive lane exists).

Storage Lanes: Use the default calculated value.


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Total Lost Time: In this case, the intersection created with six legs will be quite wide. This necessitates
longer yellow and all-red periods. Therefore, the lost time will be increased. It is assumed a field study
indicates that the Total Lost Time for the east-west is 5.5 seconds and 5.0 seconds for all other directions.

Turning Speed: This setting is only used by simulation. However, since the angle for some turns is sharp
and others are less then 90 degrees, these values should be updated. For all hard lefts, use 15 mph, 30 mph
for soft lefts, 9 mph for hard rights and 25 mph for soft rights.

Right Turn Channelized: For the EBR and WBR, set this field to 'Yield'. This will channelize the right turn
and it will operate under yield control.

Curb Radius, Add Lanes: Set the EBR and WBR Curb Radius to 20' and leave the Add Lanes as zero (0).

Change to the VOLUME settings and enter the hourly volumes shown above. Use defaults for all other values in the
VOLUME settings.
To continue coding the required timing information for this intersection, see the following example on a Controller
with More Than Nine Phases.

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Controller with More Than Nine Phases


This example is a continuation of the previous example and will detail the steps to coding the appropriate timing
information for a six-leg intersection with more than nine phases. To see the steps to create the network, see the
previous example Six Leg Intersection.

Modeling with Synchro


Filename: 6 Leg Intersection.syn

Step 3. Enter the Timing Data


To enter timing date for a controller with more than nine phases, we will utilize the additional phase numbers set up
(by default) in the Ring-and-Barrier-Designer. Phases 1 through 16 are available by default in the Ring-and-BarrierDesigner.
This example utilizes two rings (A and B) and three barriers (1, 2 and 3) for a total of twelve phases as shown in the
graphic below. We will use the default phase numbers, therefore no revisions are required within the Ring-andBarrier-Designer.

The phases in barrier 1 are the E/W Street movements, the phases in barrier 2 are the N/S Street movements, and the
phases in barrier 3 are the Diagonal Street movements. All left turn phases are protected only movements.
Keep in mind that the operation above has three distinct barriers. In other words, phases in barrier 1 cannot operate
with phases in barrier 2 or 3, phases in barrier 2 cannot operate with phases in barriers 1 or 3 and phases in barrier 3
cannot operate with phases in barrier 1 or 2. When all possible movement are allowed, as in the above example,
signal operations become very inefficient due to the amount of time required to service all of the phases.
Next, enter the appropriate timing data. From the MAP view, click on the intersection E/W St. & Diag. St. and
activate the TIMING settings by pressing the TIMING settings button
the Controller Type to Actuated-Uncoordinated.

or the [F5] key. For this example, set

The next step is to enter the phase numbers for the individual movements. Starting in the Protected Phases row, enter
the phase number(s) for the individual movements. For instance, the eastbound left movements (hard and soft lefts)
operate as protected only lefts during phase 5. To code this, enter a 5 in the Protected Phases row for the EBL2 and
EBL movements. The value in Turn Type will automatically update to Prot.
Continue entering the appropriate phases for the remaining movements. The resulting rows will appear as follows:

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Additional items to be coded in the PHASING settings are:

Minimum Initial: Use a minimum initial of 10 seconds for all through phases and 4 seconds for all left turn
phases.

Yellow and All-Red: Due to the width of the intersection, longer clearance periods are necessary. For all
east-west directions, use 4.5 seconds of Yellow and 2.0 seconds of All-Red. Use 4.0 seconds of Yellow and
2.0

seconds of All-Red for all other directions.

Walk and FDW: Pedestrians are allowed to cross all legs. For all even phases, use a Walk of 5.0 seconds.
For phase 4 and 8 (SBT and NBT) use a FDW of 18 seconds. Use 11 seconds of FDW for all other phases.

Ped Calls: Input ten (10) Pedestrian Calls for each pedestrian phase (even phases).

Use the defaults for all other settings. The Minimum Split will be automatically calculated as the minimum
of the Walk + FDW + YAR or the Minimum Initial + YAR. The cycle and splits will be determined in the
next step.

Step 4. Optimize Intersection Cycle Length


Now that the basic data is entered and analyzed, the next step is to find the best timing plan for this intersection. Use
the OptimizeIntersection-Cycle-Length command to set the intersection to the Natural Cycle Length. The Natural
Cycle length is the lowest acceptable cycle length for an intersection operating independently. Synchro will
automatically optimize the intersection splits when you perform this step.

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Step 5. Interpreting Results


Now that the required data is entered, you can now interpret the existing condition measures of effectiveness (MOE)
for this example.
The intersection wide MOE's are shown on the left side of the TIMING settings.
The most commonly reported MOEs are the volume to capacity ratio (Intersection v/c Ratio or v/c Ratio) the delay
and the Level of Service.
To quickly print these results, use the command FilePrint-Window. For other more detail reports, see the topic on
Selecting Reports.

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T-Intersection with Non-Conflicting Pedestrian Movement


In some instances, it may be desirable to allow pedestrians to cross a T-intersection during the non-conflicting main
street left turn. For instance, the north/south pedestrians crossing the west leg of the T-intersection shown below can
be allowed to operate with the westbound left turn movement. Note that the westbound through phase is not allowed
to operate since it would be in conflict with the north/south pedestrian phase. The westbound left would be given a
green arrow indication, the north/south pedestrian a walk indication, and all other movements would be given a red
indication.

The figure below illustrates a single-ring phasing for a T-intersection with non-conflicting pedestrian phasing
allowed with the main street left.

Phase 1 is the north/south pedestrian movement on the west leg. This phase operates in the presence of a north/south
pedestrian call and is skipped in the absence of a pedestrian call.
Phase 5 is the westbound left turn (protected) with an overlapping northbound right turn. This phase operates in the
presence of a westbound left turn call and is skipped in the absence of a westbound left.
Phase 2 is the westbound through phase. It is used as a "filler" phase in the presence of an eastbound left turn and
the absence of a pedestrian call for northbound (phase 1).
Phase 3 is the eastbound/westbound through movement and the east/west pedestrian movement. It is called by the
presence of an eastbound or westbound through vehicle or by a pedestrian actuation. This phase can be extended by

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the eastbound or westbound through movements. The eastbound right turn movement must yield to the pedestrian
movement.
Phase 4 is the northbound left and right movements and is called and extended by the presence of a northbound
vehicle. No pedestrian movements are allowed during this phase.

Modeling with Synchro


Filename: T-Inter with non-conflict peds.syn

Step 1. Create the Network


To begin a new network, open Synchro and select the command FileNew. From the MAP view (press [F2] if not
already in the MAP view), create the network shown below (see the topic on Mapping out Links and Intersections).

Use the defaults for all of the fields in the LINK SETTINGS window.

Step 2. Enter Lane and Volume Data


From the MAP view, click on the intersection of Main Street & 1st Street and activate the TIMING settings by
pressing the TIMING settings button
or the [F5] key. Enter the lane and volume data that is shown below (or
see the Lane and Volume diagrams shown in Step 1):

To add more detailed information, such as turn bay lengths and peak hour factors, switch to the LANE settings
and/or the VOLUME settings.

Step 3. Enter the Timing Data


Remain in the TIMING settings [F5] to proceed with coding the example. For this example, set the Controller Type
to Actuated-Uncoordinated.
The next step is to enter the phase numbers for the individual movements. Starting in the Protected Phases row, enter
the phase number(s) for the individual movements. For instance, the westbound through occurs as a protected phase
during phase 2 and also continues as a protected left during phase 3. To code this, enter a 3 in the Protected Phases
row for the WBT, then insert a space [space bar] and enter a 2.
The listed phases will become the Detector Phases. The phase listed first will be used for split optimization.
Continue entering the appropriate phases for the remaining movements. The resulting rows will appear as follows:

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The final step to setting up the timing data is to enter the split information. To do this, you can enter the value in the
Total Split row. The Total Splits for this example are shown in the Total Split row in the above graphic. The Current
Cycle Length is 100 seconds
To adjust a split with the mouse, move the mouse to the right side of a
yellow + all red band on the current Splits and Phasing diagram shown at
the bottom of the TIMING settings.

The information required to perform an analysis of a T-intersection with non-conflicting pedestrians is now
complete. To set phase specific parameters, such as the minimum split, yellow and red times, and pedestrian interval
settings, see the PHASING settings.

Step 4. Interpreting Results


Now that the required data is entered, you can now interpret the existing condition measures of effectiveness (MOE)
for this example.
The intersection wide MOE's are shown on the left side of the TIMING settings.
The most commonly reported MOEs are the volume to capacity ratio (Intersection v/c Ratio or v/c Ratio) the delay
and the Level of Service.
To quickly print these results, use the command FilePrint-Window. For other more detail reports, see the topic on
Selecting Reports.

Step 5. Optimize Intersection Cycle Length


Now that the basic data is entered and analyzed, the final optional step is to find the best timing plan for this isolated
intersection. Use the OptimizeIntersection-Cycle-Length command to set the intersection to the Natural Cycle
Length. The Natural Cycle length is the lowest acceptable cycle length for an intersection operating independently.
Synchro will automatically optimize the intersection splits when you perform this step.

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Florida T-Intersection
The Florida T-Intersection is a special case where one of the main street through movements is allowed to operate
continuously, even with the T-intersection left turn movement. Consider the following example:

In this case, the EBT movement is allowed to operate continuously, even during the SBL movement. The exception
would be when a north-south pedestrian movement is allowed.
In this example, the SBL and EBT movements flow into there own lanes on the downstream (receiving) link. Often
the movements are separated with a median and they are allowed to merge at some distance downstream.

Modeling with Synchro


Filename: Florida T with peds.syn

Step 1. Create the Network


To begin a new network, open Synchro and select the command FileNew. From the MAP view (press [F2] if not
already in the MAP view), create the network shown below (see the topic on Mapping out Links and Intersections).

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Open the LINK SETTINGS window for the east leg. For the EB direction, the travel lanes should be changed to '2'.
Use the defaults for the remainder of the link settings.

Step 2. Enter Lane and Volume Data


From the MAP view, click on the intersection of Main Street & 1st Street and activate the TIMING settings by
pressing the TIMING settings button
or the [F5] key. Enter the lane and volume data that is shown below (or
see the Lane and Volume diagrams shown in Step 1):

To add more detailed information, such as turn bay lengths and peak hour factors, switch to the LANE settings
and/or the VOLUME settings. For this example, make the EBL turn bay 500' and the SBR turn bay 250'. Use
defaults for all other values in the LANE settings and VOLUME settings.

Step 3. Enter the Timing Data


Switch back to the TIMING settings [F5] to proceed with coding the example. For this example, set the Controller
Type to Actuated-Uncoordinated.
The next step is to enter the phase numbers for the individual movements. For this example, the default Ring-andBarrier-Designer can be used. The phase assignments are as shown below:

Starting in the Protected Phases row, enter the phase number(s) for the individual movements as indicated in the
figure above. The items to note in this example are:

The EBT uses phase 2 and phase 8. Phase 2 is entered in the Protected Phases row and phase 8 is entered in
the Permitted Phases row. This indicates that the EBT should flow into its own lane on the downstream
link. For instance, the EBT movement should flow into the curb lane of the receiving link and the SBL
should flow into the median lane.

Phase 7 is the pedestrian phase. Synchro and SimTraffic assume dual entry, therefore phase 8 will appear
with phase 4 in the absence of phase 7 pedestrian calls.

The listed phases will become the Detector Phases. The phase listed first will be used for split optimization.

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The resulting rows will appear as follows:

Next, switch to the PHASING settings. Set the Pedestrian Phase to 'Yes' for phase 7 and for phase 6. Use a Walk
Time of 5 seconds, a Flash Dont Walk of 11 seconds and set the Pedestrian Calls to 15. Use the default values for
all other parameters in the PHASING settings.

Step 4. Optimize Intersection Cycle Length


Now that the basic data is entered and analyzed, the final optional step is to find the best timing plan for this
intersection. Use the OptimizeIntersection-Cycle-Length command to set the intersection to the Natural Cycle
Length. The Natural Cycle length is the lowest acceptable cycle length for an intersection operating independently.
Synchro will automatically optimize the intersection splits when you perform this step. The resulting Splits and
Phasing Diagram will appear as shown below:

Filename: Florida T no peds.syn


It is also possible to have a situation where the EBT phase is always continuous, that is, there is no north-south
pedestrian phase. Refer to the file 'Florida T no peds.syn' for an illustration. In this case, phase 2, 7 and 8 are not
used. To do this, the EBT is coded as 'Free' in the Permitted Phases row. The TIMING settings rows will appear as
follows:

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Arterial with Wide Median Example


In the past, it has been difficult to model intersections with wide medians using existing traffic engineering software
packages. The issue is that the wide median creates two intersections that are required to operate with one controller.
Synchro will allow you to directly model such situations.
One example of an arterial with a wide median is for that of a Michigan left configuration. An example lane
configuration for a Michigan left is shown below.

Notice that left turns are not allowed off of the mainline onto the side street or off of the side street onto the main
line. To do this, the vehicles must first turn right and then make a U-turn at the median break some distance from the
intersection (660 feet in this example).
This U-turn movement can either be signalized or unsignalized. For this example, it is assumed that the U-turn
movements are signalized. This creates four signalized intersections that may be operated with one controller.
Filename: Mich Left.syn

Step 1A. Create the Network


To begin a new network, open Synchro and select the command FileNew. From the MAP view (press [F2] if not
already in the MAP view), create the network shown below (see the topic on Mapping out Links and Intersections).
The north-south distance between the Main Street Arterials is 100 feet. The distance from the center intersection to
the U-turn intersections is 660 feet.
To draw short links, use the OptionsMAP-Settings command to reduce the width of the
links and the radius of the nodes. Also, zoom in on the area where the network will be
created to give more precision when creating links.

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In the LINK SETTINGS window, set a speed of 55 mph for Main N and Main S, 40 mph for the Side Street and 30
mph for the U-Turn movements. Use the defaults for all other fields in the LINK SETTINGS window.

Step 1B. Enter Lane and Volume Data


From the MAP view, click on one of the intersections and activate the LANE settings by pressing the Lane View
button

or the [F3] key. Enter the following lane data for the network (use the defaults for values not shown):
Node

WBL

WBT

Storage Length (ft)

100

Storage Lanes (#)

Lanes and Sharing

Storage Length (ft)

Lanes and Sharing

EBL

EBT

EBR

WBR

NBL

NBT

NBR

SBL

SBT

200

SBR

1
250

Storage Lanes (#)

Leading Detector (ft)

475

50

50

250

50

Trailing Detector (ft)

234

Lanes and Sharing

Storage Length (ft)

Storage Lanes (#)

Leading Detector (ft)

475

50

234

Trailing Detector (ft)

Lanes and Sharing

Storage Length (ft)

Storage Lanes (#)

Leading Detector (ft)

475

50

Trailing Detector (ft)

234

Lanes and Sharing

0
1

Storage Length (ft)

200

Storage Lanes (#)

Leading Detector (ft)

Trailing Detector (ft)

Lanes and Sharing

Storage Length (ft)


Storage Lanes (#)

250
1

475

50

250

50

50

234

100

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Next, switch to the VOLUME settings by pressing the Volume View button
or by pressing [F4]. At
each intersection, enter the volumes as shown in map figure at the start of this example. Use the default
values for Conflicting Peds, Growth Factor, Heavy Vehicles, Bus Blockages and Adj Parking Lane. Use a
Peak Hour Factor of 1.0.

Step 2. Select a Controller Scheme


The next step is to choose between Local and Group control and between fixed and floating cycle length. For more
details, see the Signal Timing Background chapter on the topics Group Control versus Local Control and on Fixed
Cycle Length versus Floating Cycle Length.
In many cases the decision whether to use Local or Group control will depend on the existing signal equipment.
Unless you are working on new construction or a major update, the timing plans must be generated to match the
existing equipment.
For this example, all of the intersection will operate with Group Control.

Step 3. Set up Phasing


As noted in step 2, the intersections in this example will all work with one controller. To attach the intersections, use
the Cluster Editor. Select the intersection of Side Street & N Main (node #2) and switch to the TIMING settings.
Press the [Options] button and select Cluster Editor.
Click on the intersection of Side Street & S Main to add this intersection to the cluster. Next, click on the
intersection of Main Street & W U-Turn then the intersection of Main Street & E U-Turn. All four intersections
should now be connected with on controller.
Notice that the color for the attached nodes has changed. This color will be used in the TIMING and PHASING
settingss to clearly define which intersection data is being modified.
Select [OK].
For the Michigan left, it is desired to have the vehicles on the main street leave the U-turn and arrive at the center
intersection when the main street is changing to green. When the main street green at the U-turn terminates, the
center intersection should remain green for a period of time to allow vehicles to proceed. Also, there should be some
time when the interior (median) movements in the north-south direction remain green to clear out the internal space.
To do this, the ring and barrier structure for the controller needs to be set up. Switch to the Ring-and-BarrierDesigner for each intersection. Set up the Ring-and-Barrier-Designer as shown below:

Phase 2/6: Node 5 EBT (phase 2) and Node 2 WBT (Phase 6). Set the Recall to None and the Minimum Initial to 15
seconds. Use defaults for other values.
Phase 4: Will be used as node 2 NBT and Node 5 SBT. These are the internal through movements.
Phase 8: Will be used as node 2 SBT and Node 5 NBT. These are the external movements. Set the All-Red Time to
6 seconds. Notice that this will allow the external movements to terminate prior to the internal movements (phase 4).
This will ensure that the space in the median is cleared out.
Phase 1: Node 3 and node 4 EBT and WBT. This phase is active when phase 2/6 begin.
Phase 5: Node 3 and node 4 U-turn movement begins. Phase 5 is 8 seconds long. This is the time when the EBT and
WBT at the U-turn terminates and phase 2/6 continue to stay green
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Phase 3: Node 3 and node 4 U-turn movement. This is another phase to allow the U-turn to cross into barrier 2.
Phase 7: Node 3 and node 4 EBT and WBT begins. This phase is 8 seconds long.
Node 1 and 6 should be set-up as unsignalized intersections with Free set for Sign Control.
With the RB set up for each intersection, switch to the TIMING settings and enter the appropriate Protected Phases
and Permitted Phases as shown below.
The Vehicle Extension and Minimum Gap for the East-West movements should be set to 3.2 seconds. This is 111%
of the travel time required to get from the last extension detector to the stop bar. All Pedestrian Phases should be set
to No. Use defaults for all other values.

Step 4. Optimize the Network


The final step is to optimize the intersection cycle length. To do this, use the command OptimizeIntersectionCycle-Length. The Splits will be automatically optimized with this step. Reset phase 5 and phase 7 to 8 seconds.

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Fixed Cycle Coordinated System


The sample problems up to this point have assumed isolated intersections. In reality, many signalized intersections
are in a network or system of other signalized intersections. In this example, the elements of a fixed cycle,
coordinated system will be investigated.
Filename: Fixed Cycle Coordination.syn

Step 1. Create the Network


To begin a new network, open Synchro and select the command FileNew. From the MAP view (press [F2] if not
already in the MAP view), and create the network shown below (see the topic on Mapping out Links and
Intersections). For purposes of this example, it is assumed that you have previously created the intersection networks
in the prior examples. Creating a system of intersections is simply connecting a series of isolated intersections.

Step 2. Enter Lane and Volume Data


Lane and volume data can be entered in the TIMING settings or within the particular windows for that purpose
(LANE settings or VOLUME settings). For this example, it is assumed the user has reviewed the previous
examples and is comfortable at entering this data.

Step 3. Enter the Timing and Phasing Data


Timing data is entered in the TIMING settings and phasing data in the PHASING settings. See the previous
examples and the appropriate topics in Synchro for detailed information on entering this data.

Step 4. Optimizing the System


The next step for creating signal timing plans for a network of intersections is to optimize the system.

Step 4A. Partition Network


This step is used to divide the network into subsystems and is optional. It is up to engineering judgement to decide
whether to partition a network.
The Partition Network command will divide the network into multiple zones. This function assigns a zone name to
each intersection. Each zone can be optimized as a separate system in the cycle length optimization.
To partition the Network, use the Optimize-Partition-Network command.
For this example, use the Divide Sometimes (50) option. This will group intersections with a Coordinatability
Factor (CF) greater than 50.
After partitioning the network, view the zones by pressing the Show Intersection Zones button
recommended that all of the intersections are placed within one zone (All CFs are > 50).

. Synchro has

Step 4B. Optimize Network Cycle Length


The next step is to determine a system cycle length. Use the OptimizeNetwork-Cycle-Length command to do this.
The following dialog box appears:

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Use a cycle length range from 80 to 150 with 10 second increments. For Allow Uncoordinated, select Never (0)
since this step has already been performed in Step 4A. Do not allow half cycles. Do not preserve files for each cycle
length. Use an Extensive offset optimization (a more detail offset optimization will be performed in step 4C) and set
the Scope to Entire Network. Select [Manual] to begin the cycle length optimization. By using the manual option,
Synchro will display a table with the PI for each cycle length evaluated.
As Synchro is optimizing, the 'Optimizing Cycle Length status box will be displayed.
Upon completion of this process, the SELECT CYCLE LENGTHS window will appear.

In this example, a cycle length of 110 gives the smallest (best) Performance Index (PI). Press [OK] to accept the
110-second cycle length for the intersections in the system.
To check the cycle length with a smaller increment, now perform the above procedure with a cycle length increment
of 5 seconds with a minimum cycle of 105 and a maximum of 115. This time also use the Preserve Files for Each
Cycle Length option. This still results in a cycle length of 110 seconds.

Step 4C: Optimize Offsets, Lead-lag Phasing


After determining a system cycle length, the last step is to optimize offsets. Use the Synchro command
OptimizeNetwork-Offsets. The following dialog box will appear:

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For this example, use the existing splits, allow lead/lag optimize, use the Best Timing Plans option and set the
Scope to Entire Network.
This completes the optimization process of a network with fixed cycle lengths.

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Two Way Traffic Control


The Two Way Traffic Control example is a special case where only one direction of traffic is allowed to operate at
one time. A common application would be traffic control on a two-lane bridge or tunnel where one lane is closed, or
the bridge is wide enough to accommodate one direction of traffic.
In this example, an east-west segment will be modeled where only one direction of traffic will be allowed at one
time. 'Dummy' signals will be placed at each end of the bridge. This will be done with a simple two-phase signal that
allows one direction at a time. Synchro allows the user to model a very long all-red period between the phases to
clear the space between the two signals.

Modeling with Synchro


Filename: Two Way Traffic Control

Step 1. Create the Network


To begin a new network, open Synchro and select the command FileNew. From the MAP view (press [F2] if not
already in the MAP view), create the network shown below (see the topic on Mapping out Links and Intersections).

The distance between Dummy Signal 1 and Dummy Signal 2 is 1070 feet. Use the default setting in the LINK
SETTINGS window for each of the links. Use the node numbers shown in the graphic above.

Step 2. Enter Lane and Volume Data


From the MAP view, click on the intersection of Bridge Road & Dummy Signal 1 and activate the TIMING settings
by pressing the TIMING settings button
or the [F5] key. Enter the lane and volume data that is shown in the
graphic from Step 1. Do the same for Bridge Road & Dummy Signal 2.
To add more detailed information, such as turn bay lengths and peak hour factors, switch to the LANE settings
and/or the VOLUME settings. For this example, use defaults for all other values in the LANE settings and
VOLUME settings.

Step 3. Set up Group Control


In this example, the two intersections will operate under group control. To attach the intersections, use the Cluster
Editor. Select node #1 and switch to the PHASING settings (or the TIMING settings).
Activate the CLUSTER EDITOR window by clicking on the [Options] button and then select Cluster Editor.
Click on node #2 to add this intersection to the cluster.
Notice that the color for node #2 has changed. This color will be used in the TIMING and PHASING settingss to
clearly define which intersection data is being modified.
Select [OK].

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Step 4. Enter the Timing Data


Switch back to the TIMING settings [F5] for intersection 1 to proceed with coding the example. For this example,
set the Controller Type to Actuated-Uncoordinated.
Starting in the Protected Phases row, enter the phase number(s) for the individual movements. For the EBT
direction, enter '1' for the Protected Phase. For the WBT Protected Phase, enter 'Free'. This will allow the WBT
vehicles to operate with 100% green, and they will never have to stop.
Switch to the TIMING settings [F5] for intersection 2 and enter '2' for the WBT Protected Phase and 'Free' for the
EBT Protected Phase.
The listed phases will become the Detector Phases.
Other items to code this example:

Use a Cycle Length of 160 seconds.

Set the Total Split for phase 1 and phase 2 to 80 seconds.

Use an All-Red time of 40 seconds for both phase 1 and 2. This is the clearance time between the two
dummy intersections. This will allow vehicles to clear the space between the ends of the bridge.

Set the Minimum Initial to 6.0 seconds for phase 1 and 2.

Switch to the PHASING settings. Set the Pedestrian Phase to 'No' for phase 1 and 2.

If desired, set the Recall Mode to 'min' for one or more of the phases. This will ensure that one phase will
be recalled without the presence of a vehicle demand. If no phase is placed on recall, the signal will rest in
red without vehicle demand. For this example, phase 2 is placed on minimum recall.

Now you can simulate this example by clicking on the SimTraffic Animation button or press [Ctrl]+[G] to start
SimTraffic. You will notice that only one direction of traffic is allowed to operate at one time.

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Roundabouts (Simulated)
SimTraffic now has the capability to model roundabouts. In this example, the curved link example will be used to
create a multi-lane roundabout.

Modeling with Synchro


Filename: Roundabout.syn

Step 1. Create the Network


To begin a new network, open Synchro and select the command FileNew. From the MAP view (press [F2] if not
already in the MAP view), create the network shown below (see the topic on Mapping out Links and Intersections).

This is an extension of the previous curved link example. Begin with the file that was created in this previous
example, or open the file Curved Link.syn. Be sure to save the curved link file with a new name before modifying.
The distance between the ramps is 800 feet. Use the default setting in the LINK SETTINGS window for each of the
links.

Step 2. Enter Lane, Volume and Signing Data


From the MAP view, click on the SB Ramp & Main Street intersection and activate the TIMING settings by
pressing the TIMING settings button
or the [F5] key. From the Controller Type, choose a roundabout. A
message will appear indicating that Synchro will only model a single lane roundabout. However, SimTraffic will
fully simulate multi-lane roundabouts.
Enter the lane, volume and signing data shown below.

Use an Inside Radius of 28', an Outside Radius of 40', set the Number (#) of Lanes to 1 and leave the Speed Limit as
18 mph. The Inside Color can be changed by clicking on the colored circle if desired.

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Notice that only 1 lane for the approach is added and shared turn
movements are not shown in the Lanes and Sharing row. If volumes are
entered, then Synchro and SimTraffic will assume that the traffic is shared
with the lane. It may be easier to understand if coded this way since the
turns are not 'traditional' turns.

Select the NB Ramp & Main Street and set this to a Roundabout within the TIMING settings/Signing Window.
Enter the lane, volume and signing data shown below.

Use an Inside Radius of 30', an Outside Radius of 54', set the Number (#) of Lanes to 2 and leave the Speed Limit as
18 mph. The Inside Color can be changed by clicking on the colored circle if desired. In addition, the WB and SB
approaches have a Two Lane Exit. Refer to the SimTraffic Help file for an example on how this will act in the
simulation (or simulate the sample file to see for yourself).
From the MAP view, double click on the link to the north of the NB ramp. Enter 2 for the NB Travel Lanes. Do the
same for the EB link to the east of this intersection.

Activate the LANE settings by pressing the Lane View button


storage of 150'.

or the [F3] key. The EBL and the NBR have a

Now you can simulate this example by clicking on the SimTraffic Animation button or press [Ctrl]+[G] to start
SimTraffic.
In addition:

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If multiple runs in SimTraffic are desired, this can now be done with the Record Multiple Runs option.

The SimTraffic reports, check the Multiple Runs box in the SELECT REPORTS window and you will have
the option to average multiple history files.

Synchro Studio 7

Examples

Channelized Right Turns


Synchro and SimTraffic can model channelized right turns (often referred to as pork chop islands). In this example,
the Basic Two-Stage Isolated Intersection example will be used as the starting point.

Modeling with Synchro


Filename: Basic 2P w Porkchops.syn (to see the completed network)

Step 1. Create the Network


The network for this example is already created. Open the file Basic Two-Stage Isolated Intersection.syn. Perform a
Save-As to rename the file to a new name. A taper will be required 400' to the east of node 3. To do this, select the
or press the [A] key. Start at node 3 and draw a new link of 400' long directly on the existing
Add Link button
node 3-2. A bend node will be placed at the location where you click to stop drawing the link. This has simply
divided link 3-2; it has not created a new link on top of it. Double click on the link between node 3 and the new bend
node. Enter 3 for the number of Travel Lanes in the EB direction.

Step 2. Enter Lane and Volume Data


From the MAP view, click on the intersection of Main Street & 1st Street and activate the LANE settings by
pressing the Lane View button
or the [F3] key. Most of the data in the LANE settings was created for the
previous example. Modify to add two (2) WBT and EBT lanes. In addition, code the channelized right turn
information as follows:

The EBR is an example of an exclusive channelized right lane where a SB receiving lane is added. In Synchro, this
will be treated as a free flow movement with 100% green time.
The WBR is an example of an exclusive right that directly merges into the NB lanes. The WBR vehicles will yield
to the NB vehicles.
The NBR shared right becomes an exclusive add lane in the EB direction. The lane will taper back to two lanes at
the downstream bend node.
The SBR illustrates a shared right that is divided by an island (small) but is under signal control. There is not a
downstream add lane.
The data in the VOLUME settings does not need to be updated.

Step 3. Enter the Timing Data


The data in the TIMING settings does not need to be updated.

Step 4. Optimize Intersection Cycle Length


Now that the basic data is entered, the next step is to find the best timing plan for this isolated pretimed intersection
with pork chop islands. Use the OptimizeIntersection-Cycle-Length command to set the intersection to the
Natural Cycle Length. The Natural Cycle length is the lowest acceptable cycle length for an intersection operating
independently. Synchro will automatically optimize the intersection splits when you perform this step. The resulting
cycle length is shown in the Current Cycle Length field show on the left of the TIMING settings.

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Step 5. Interpreting Results


The final step is to interpret the measures of effectiveness (MOE) for the example. The most common MOEs are
shown in the TIMING settings rows for each lane group.
The intersection wide MOE's for maximum volume to capacity (v/c) ratio, delay and level of service (LOS) are
shown in the left side of the TIMING settings.
The v/c Ratio is calculated using actuated green times and cycle lengths. The v/c Ratio indicates the amount of
congestion for each lane group. Any v/c Ratio greater than 1 indicates the approach is operating above capacity.
The delay is a measure of the Total Delay, in seconds per vehicle, experienced for the given lane group. Version 6
introduced two new delay measurements. In addition to the traditional Control Delay, Synchro also includes a
Queue Delay. The Total Delay is the combination of the two types of delay.
The LOS is a means of describing the operational efficiency of a given intersection based on the calculated delay.
The range of service quality has been defined in terms of six LOS ranges (A to F). LOS A represents free flowing
conditions with insignificant delays. LOS F represents forced flows (jammed conditions) with excessive delays.
Under LOS F, queues may block upstream intersections.
To quickly print these results, use the command FilePrint-Window. For other more detailed reports, see the topic
on Intersection Reports.
Now you can simulate this example by clicking on the SimTraffic Animation button or press [Ctrl]+[G] to start
SimTraffic.
In addition:

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If multiple runs in SimTraffic are desired, this can now be done with the Record Multiple Runs option.

The SimTraffic reports, check the Multiple Runs box in the SELECT REPORTS window and you will have
the option to average multiple history files.