Center for Advanced Traffic Solutions (CATS)

The CATS (Center for Advanced Traffic Solutions) laboratory being developed at the University of Kentucky is a state-of-the-art laboratory dedicated to training, research and education for traffic signal operations.

CATS was established to develop and evaluate advanced transportation technologies and implementation strategies with the aim of increasing the safety and efficiency of Kentucky’s roadways.

CATS Lab houses over $100,000 of software and hardware, the majority of which was donated by Corporate Sponsors Econolite Group, Inc. and Arrow Electric Co. and supported by the lab’s Cooperating Agencies, including the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Lexington Fayette County Government and the City of Louisville.  A brief overview of the equipment available for training and testing is provided below.

Model 170 and Model 2070 Controller Cabinets

The signals lab houses two complete controller racks and tester boards: one with a model 170 controller and model 2070 controller. The cabinets are primarily used for training of signal technicians and traffic engineers in the public and private sector, as well as part of the transportation systems classes within the Department of Civil Engineering. Additionally, the cabinets are available for bench testing and development of experimental operations; currently configured to demonstrate the Flashing Yellow Arrow operation for protected permissive turns.

Hardware in Loop System (HILS)

The traffic signal lab employs a Controller Interface Device (CID) linking Type 170 controllers (programmed with WAPITI Microsystems Software) with VISSIM microsimulation software. The HILS is also capable of supporting Model 2070 controllers. This setup allows for the realistic evaluation of the traffic control parameters without disturbing real traffic flow and gives the added benefit of letting students become familiar with traffic signal controllers and advanced traffic signal control. This system provides the ability to design and test optimized signal control strategies in a virtual environment. The inclusion of the hardware within the system allows realistic evaluation of controller operations that have the ability to impact operations and safety. This includes time-of-day plan transitions and out of coordination transition operations, as well as complex ring and barrier timing plans and the exploration of quantifying adaptive traffic system performance.

Researchers are provided with state-of-the-art traffic simulation software including CORSIM, Synchro, SimTraffic, Highway Capacity Software, and VISSIM, among others. ArcGIS software is also available to compile, map, and publish geographic information.

System Operations

A closed loop system consisting of five Type 170 controllers is also available. The system is monitored with TransSim software distributed by KYTC. This system may be used to test corridor timing plans, new communication equipment and strategies as well as quantifying traffic adaptive performance.

A portal into the Louisville CENTRACS Advanced Traffic Management System is available that allows for the collection of real-time travel information from the 750 signals within the Louisville Metro area, thus enabling researchers to better understand traffic conditions in the State’s largest urban area. From an educational standpoint, this arrangement also provides students with hands-on experience working with traffic signal controllers and their timing parameters.

New Equipment

The laboratory is also the testing and development ground for implementation and training of new equipment and technologies adopted by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. This is includes new inductive loops, communications equipment, cameras, advanced detection systems and other ITS devices.

Data Collection

A range of state-of-the-art equipment is available for field data collection efforts. Included are two radar speed guns, 16 Nu-metrics Hi-star on-pavement magnetic sensors, ten hand-held TDC-12 manual traffic data collectors, digital video cameras, and several high-speed laptop computers. The software to program and manage data collected using all field data collection equipment is contained on each laboratory work station.

Availability and Access

The Traffic Signal Lab and Staff are available for training, research and consulting on all aspects of operation projects. The majority of equipment in the lab is also mobile, allowing for working cooperation both at the University of Kentucky location or your location.