An overview of the approaches and state-of-the-art technology used to monitor and operate a complex traffic signal system that considers all road users.

Image of traffic signal with sun glare behind it

Traffic signal management and operation is complex—small changes in one part of the transportation network impacts other areas.

Traffic engineers and technologists monitor and manage traffic flow using specialized traffic analysis software, advanced traffic management systems, video detection equipment, and traffic control devices.

Signal timing and coordination patterns

Traffic signals in Sherwood Park prioritize the main corridors with the goal of moving the greatest number of vehicles through the system with the fewest stops.

Signal timings are adjusted at various periods of the day to accommodate changing traffic patterns. In general, most traffic signals have four basic timing plans:

  • AM peak plan: Monday to Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.
  • PM peak plan: Monday to Friday, 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Night plan: Monday to Sunday, 11 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.
  • Off-peak plan: Remainder of time

Some traffic signals also have additional timing plans to accommodate special traffic conditions, such as school drop-off and pick-up hours, community special events, construction detour plans, etc.

Traffic signals are coordinated across Sherwood Park

The operating cycle lengths in Sherwood Park range from 60 seconds to 140 seconds. 

The level of traffic volume at every intersection is different; however, traffic signals must operate on the same cycle schedule to maintain signal coordination.

That can mean a long cycle length needed for a busy intersection must also be used for intersections that have lighter traffic volumes.

Note: Any wait time longer than two and a half minutes is not normal and should be reported to us through County Connect.

Video traffic device attached to a light pole

Vehicle detection at traffic signals

Strathcona County uses different devices for detecting vehicles at intersections.


  • Most signalized intersections use video technology to detect the arrival of vehicles and to cycle right of way at traffic signals.
  • The camera is mounted on either the streetlight extension or on the mast arm of the traffic signal pole.
  • Video footage is not recorded.

Signal timing varies throughout the day. The wait time you experience will depend on when the detector was activated during the signal cycle and can range from a few seconds to more than a minute.

Note: Any wait time longer than two and a half minutes is not normal and should be reported to us through County Connect.

Other devices

Intersection Safety Devices (ISDs) and Traffic Surveillance Cameras are mounted at several intersections in our community.

Intersection Safety Devices

Intersection safety device

These cameras enforce speed and red light infractions. ISDs improve safety by reducing both the number and severity of “T-bone” crashes, the most dangerous kind of collision. 

Traffic Surveillance Camera

Traffic Surveillance Camera

This device is used to monitor traffic flow and road problems along our arterial corridors. There is no recorded video from these devices nor are they used for enforcement purposes.

Further information:

Transportation Engineering and Operations
Phone: 780-417-7100

County Connect

Ask a question, provide feedback or report an issue.

Related pages

Related topics

Last updated: Friday, May 03, 2024
Page ID: 39113