A national study estimates that average hardware costs to upgrade signal controllers for connected vehicle purposes may be as little as $3,200 per site

Researchers identify costs for connected vehicle field infrastructure deployment and related costs in the United States

Made Public Date


United States

Summary Information

The USDOT in partnership with Transport Canada, AASHTO and in cooperation with other nationwide stakeholders, conducted analyses leading to a preliminary general concept of a national Connected Vehicle (CV) field infrastructure footprint. The footprint includes a general description for a proposed national deployment of vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology including, applications, communications and deployment locations. The purpose of the National CV Field Infrastructure Footprint Analysis is to provide a vision for a fully deployed infrastructure footprint, to identify the activities and project timelines needed to achieve that footprint, and to estimate costs associated with the deployment.

Many of the potential benefits of connected vehicle infrastructure deployment at signalized intersections are only achievable with corresponding interface modifications to the signal controllers. Over the assumed twenty-year connected vehicle infrastructure deployment cycle, many of the controller upgrades will be accounted for through routine maintenance and replacement of those devices, especially as controller manufacturers standardize DSRC interfaces into their controllers. As such, the cost of replacing controllers is estimated in this report as an adjunct cost for infrastructure upgrades needed to derive the maximum safety and mobility benefits from DSRC deployment.
Estimates of the number of signal controllers that might need to be replaced or upgraded were compiled for the AASHTO Connected Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Analysis published in June 2011. Table 1 below, copied from that document, provides an estimate as of that time of the number of controllers that need to be replaced nationally and the cost for the hardware to replace those controllers.
For the purposes of providing a national estimate, based on data in Table 1 from the 2011 report, 199,000 (of 311,000) controllers need to be upgraded to support connected vehicle activities, or approximately 2/3 of all of the controllers in the United States. To provide a conservative estimate, the hardware cost to upgrade these controllers is anticipated to be $2,200 per site. Assuming that no additional work is required at each controller location, an additional cost is required for cables and labor to install and program each controller. It is estimated that cost will be approximately $1,000 per site, for a total controller replacement cost of $3,200 per site.
Table 1 -Estimated Number of Controller Replacements (Source: USDOT/AASHTO 2011)

Controller Type
Number to be Replaced
ATC 5.2b
Model 2070L
NEMA Modern: Standard OS (33%) Non-Standard OS (67%)
NEMA Legacy (Shelf)
Type 170 Modern
Type 170 Legacy (Rack)
Electromechanical Controllers
Total Number of Controllers

Table 2 -Total Cost Estimate to Upgrade Signal Controllers (Source: USDOT/AASHTO 2014)

Cost Element (per Site)
New Controller Equipment
Labor to Install/Program Controller
Total Cost Per Controller
Number of Controllers

The original AASHTO report also did not address costs for upgrades to an intersection outside of the specific costs of the traffic signal controller. The costs for modernizing a traffic signal controller can include a variety of additional costs, including upgrading the cabinet and cabinet foundation and other electronics within the cabinet, detection, conduit, traffic signal poles and heads and, in some instances, pedestrian ramps to ensure that the intersection complies with requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Those costs are not part of the upgrade to a DSRC environment. Those costs should rather be considered part of the cost of regular operations, maintenance and upgrade of a traffic signal or traffic signal system.
This report, dated June 2014, includes many more details of connected vehicle system costs. These findings along with the costs provide a valuable resource to those considering the implementation of connected vehicle infrastructure.

National Connected Vehicle Field Infrastructure Footprint Analysis Final Report

National Connected Vehicle Field Infrastructure Footprint Analysis Final Report
Publication Sort Date
Wright, James (AASHTO), et.al.
U.S. DOT Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) ITS Joint Program Office (JPO)

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System Cost

Total Cost Estimate to Upgrade a Signal Controller for V2I $3,200

System Cost Subsystem