Signals and the SEA


According to 23 CFR 940, signals fall under the Systems Engineering Analysis (SEA) requirement. At CDOT, the Traffic Signal Program falls under the Traffic Safety & Engineering Services. Therefore, the Signal Program will be reviewing all signal related SEA documentation and be confirming that the documentation is sufficient to meet federal requirements and ensure CDOT has a well developed project. 

Signal with a yellow left turn signal displayed


To reduce confusion, here is a high level summary of roles and responsibilities for the review of SEA documentation on signal related projects: 

Traffic Signal Program

  • Will review all signal related Technology/SEA Assessment forms to determine which projects are exempt and which projects will have to complete an SEA. 
  • When a signal project requires a SEA, the Traffic Signal Team will be a resource and help guide project teams through the completion of all 11 SEA documents. 
  • Be the end approver and the accountable party for all signal related SEA documentation. 

ITS & Network Service Branch

  • Tracking signal related SEA documentation for reporting purposes to FHWA. 
  • Should a project have both signal and other ITS elements, then the ITS & Network Services Branch will handle the non-signal related technology elements. 

Signal Project That Do Not Require a SEA 

The signal team has referenced a CalTrans document for which Signal Project type does not require a SEA: 

  1. Upgrades to an existing traffic signal - This may include, for example, adding or revising
    left-turn phasing or other phasing, adding pedestrian-crossing displays.
  2. Installing an "isolated" traffic signal - This is a signal not connected to or coordinated with
    any other signals or any type of external signal-control system, nor likely to be in the
    future because of its isolation.
  3. Traffic signal timing projects - This includes all "studies" whose purpose is to change the
    coordination parameters for controlling a group of signals - but with no installation of new
    hardware or software.
  4. Studies, Plans, Analyses - This includes ITS Master Plans, Deployment Plans,
    Technology Studies, etc. whose product is only a document, with no new hardware of
    software installed.
  5. Routine Operations - This includes operating and maintaining any ITS elements or
    systems - again with no new hardware or software installed.

It should be noted that this exemption list only applies to signals. 

Required Documentation

The Technology/SEA Assessment will be required on all signal projects, no matter the exemption status. This form is critical in the reporting to FHWA to show compliance with 23 CFR 940. Should an SEA be required, all 11 SEA documents must be completed. In other words, signal projects must follow the required SEA process set forth by the ITS & Network Services Branch. The only difference is they will be working with the Traffic Signal Program to ensure compliance and accuracy.