Ventia – Optimising Performance of Traffic Signal Controllers for optimal asset value

1 Executive Summary

Replacement of physical assets at the end of their design life is not always possible due to cost constraints, location of the asset, and competing asset priorities. Corrective Maintenance of assets can also be costly, especially in remote areas where travel costs can far outweigh costs of undertaking the actual maintenance task. 

By implementing a series of asset management optimisation techniques, Ventia has increased performance of Traffic Signal sites on their SRAP Contract without the need replace the asset.

Traffic Signal Controllers that have been frequently caused to fail through environmental influence have been upgraded or swapped to locations where the environmental influence is less likely to occur, and if it does occur is close to a depot, ensuring rectification can be made and the asset can be restored into service within specified contractual timeframes.

2 Description of Project


In July 2021, Ventia began work on the Sydney Roads Assets Performance Contract, a performance-based contract for Transport for New South Wales. Under the contract, Ventia provide road maintenance and asset management services to the Parklands zone and Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) throughout Regional NSW. The Parklands zone covers the western corridor of greater Sydney and consists of more than 919 kilometres of road, 158 bridges, 1 tunnel, 681 kilometres of cycleway, 186 kilometres of roadside safety barriers, 23,800 traffic signs and 708 traffic signals. The contract also includes the management of ITS across the Parklands zone and Regional NSW consisting of 7,672 streetlights and 5,312 other assets.

Western Sydney and regional NSW will experience a significant growth over the coming decades with the construction of the new Western Sydney Airport and forecast population growth. As this happens, it is critically important that our infrastructure assets support this growth in a way that appropriately balances cost, risk and performance.

The challenge

Traffic signal controllers are electrical devices which are installed at each signalised intersection on public roadways. They are considered a safety system, allowing road users to safely navigate road junctions whether they be in a vehicle or not. However, should they fail, there may be dire consequences as the traffic lights would either be flashing yellow or not working at all.

For a traffic signal controller to be installed, it must first be approved by the asset owner. Standards and specifications for such devices are developed in consultation with subject matter experts from both the public and private sectors. While advances in technology, design and operational methodologies have changed, the same cannot be said for controllers installed before these amendments are released.

To replace an existing traffic signal controller with a current model costs tens of thousands of dollars. However, by performing targeted upgrades it is possible to increase asset reliability and extend the useable life of the controller while also significantly reducing ongoing maintenance costs due to updated design methodologies addressed by these upgrades.

The Solution

Ventia’s SRAPC Parklands team have installed Surge Diverters to Traffic Signal Sites that have been identified as potentially high-risk sites. The sites have been identified by analysis of asset inventory and asset performance data.

Through the analysis, Traffic Signal Controllers that have regularly fail through environmental influence have also been identified and swapped to locations where the environmental influence is less likely to occur, and if it does occur is close to a depot, ensuring rectification can be made and the asset can be restored into service within specified contractual timeframes.

Ventia have recognised the need to appropriately and effectively balance the cost, risk and performance of an asset to deliver optimum value and have brought a solution to the client that which utilises best practice asset management principles to achieve this.


Ventia has seen a significant improvement in asset reliability and a reduction in maintenance costs with this approach. This correlates directly to a reduced risk to Ventia and our client, and an improvement in road safety for motorists and our maintenance teams on the road. Additionally, non-productive site attendances are significantly reduced, bringing value to the contract, client and customers (general public).

3 Opinion of Specific Contribution and Comments

Availability of Traffic Signal assets is paramount, not only from a KPI perspective, but also from an operational expenditure and safety perspective. To observe a significant improvement in the availability and reliability of the asset not only assists in being able to predict maintenance activities and extending the interval between visits, but also allows for further improvement of the network of assets as the upgrades form the basis for newer emerging technology to be implemented and deployed.

By using the real-time job-dispatching platform, technicians that respond to urgent faults are then provided controller upgrade jobs that are closest to them. Given that Ventia maintain 825 TCS assets (and growing) across New South Wales as part of the SRAP Contract, it is believed that productive travel time is important in maintaining job satisfaction and safety for the technicians, particularly those in regional areas. This is a marked improvement to cost, risk and performance of the asset base and contract as a whole.

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