Program for Arterial System Synchronization (PASS)

MTC’s Program for Arterial System Synchronization (PASS) provides technical assistance to cities and signal owners for traffic signal timing.


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MTC’s Program for Arterial System Synchronization (PASS) is a technical assistance program that helps cities and groups of cities who share traffic corridors to improve traffic flow, address safety concerns, prevent stop delays and cut down on air pollution by analyzing and updating their traffic signal timing. 

Synchronizing traffic signals on our most traveled streets and roads means a safer trip, smoother ride and cleaner air.

PASS Technical Assistance

PASS delivers financial and technical assistance to cities and counties to enhance signal coordination across jurisdictions. Assistance includes:

  • Engineering and data collection assistance for local governments seeking to re-time signals
  • Adjustments to existing transit signal priority (TSP) systems
  • Adjustments to existing adaptive and traffic-responsive timing systems
  • “Flush” plans for managing traffic incidents
  • Provision of hardware to set an accurate time to support signal coordination
Did You Know?

PASS has helped Bay Area cities and counties successfully re-time over 2,000 traffic signals since the program began in 2010.

PASS Benefits

Together, signal re-timing projects funded through the most recently completed PASS cycle deliver:

  • Travel time savings: 23%, or more than 3.2 million hours
  • Fuel consumption savings: 16%, or over 3.1 million gallons
  • Average auto speed increase: 38%
  • Total emissions reduction: 124 tons
  • Total project costs: $1.4 million
  • Total lifetime benefits: $86.2 million
  • Overall benefit-cost ratio: 61:1
Who Owns the Signal?

Multi-city corridors that also are part of the state highway system — like El Camino Real on the Peninsula, or San Pablo Avenue in the East Bay — present myriad challenges: some signals are owned and operated by different cities, and others by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). 

The PASS program serves these corridors by providing a single source of assistance to coordinate signal timing across city and county boundaries