Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) / Traffic Signals

ITS equipment consists of:

  • Permanent traffic signal controlled junctions
  • Permanent traffic signal controlled pedestrian crossings (Pelican, Puffin, Toucan and Pegasus crossings)
  • Variable message signs (VMS) to provide information to drivers regarding congestion/delays
  • Car Park Guidance signs to provide information on car park spaces in Colchester, Chelmsford, Harlow and Basildon
  • CCTV for traffic monitoring purposes
  • School crossing patrol flashing warning signs (wig wag)
  • Over height vehicle detection systems
  • Emergency services wig wag signals (for ambulance and fire stations)

ITS Design

There is an ongoing asset-led programme to refurbish / renew all existing ITS / traffic signal facilities in Essex and to migrate to extra low voltage equipment and lower-energy LED signals. This will ensure that they continue to operate reliably and safely together with us gaining the benefit of lower energy consumption.

In addition to renewing existing facilities, new facilities are provided via:

  • Local Highway Panel (LHP) schemes
  • Section 106 schemes (where ECC receive funding from a developer to implement infrastructure as an obligation of a planning consent)
  • Major Projects to provide new / widened roads which include new or modified traffic signals / ITS facilities

The design of ITS schemes must take account of many factors including:

  • accident history
  • speed of vehicles
  • vehicle and pedestrian count
  • location of underground and overground statutory undertakers / utility apparatus (electricity, gas, oil, water, sewerage, and communications)
  • location of site in relation to other traffic signals to determine the control strategy
  • provision of pedestrian and cyclist facilities
  • highway boundary and site constraints

ITS Maintenance and Operations

The ITS Maintenance team is responsible for:

  • the monitoring, fault reporting, management and repair of all ITS equipment
  • the organisation of repairs to ITS equipment that has been damaged by third-parties (e.g. road traffic collisions, carriageway detection damage due to roadworks)
  • the periodic inspection and testing of the ITS equipment
  • the operation and maintenance of the ITS monitoring and control systems

The number of ITS assets in Essex is as follows (at 1 Jan 2023):

School crossing patrol flashing warning signs (wig wag)      
Permanent traffic signal controlled pedestrian crossings
Permanent traffic signal controlled junctions
Car park count sites
Emergency services wig wag signals (i.e. Ambulance and Fire station)
Over height vehicle detectors / electronic signs

The ITS Maintenance team are able to remotely monitor and control all traffic signal installations (and the majority of the remaining ITS equipment) from our office in Chelmsford.

All traffic signal equipment in Essex is either connected to:

  • a dial-up remote monitoring system which enables faults to be automatically detected and ‘called in’ to our fault centre; or
  • our Urban Traffic Control (UTC) system which as well as reporting equipment faults, also controls groups of traffic signals (typically in town centres) to alter green times based on real-time traffic flow as well as synchronising operation with other traffic signals on the network in order to provide linked green signals for the priority/main road routes.

If you notice a fault with any of our ITS equipment in Essex, you can tell us online.

(Please provide important information such as the precise location of the equipment, your direction of travel, the nature of the fault and the date/time of day the fault was observed)

The ITS Team don't look after:

Street lights including zebra crossings beacons - these are looked after by our street lighting team.

  • These traffic signals in Essex are the responsibility of National Highways

    • A12 / A120 / A1232 Junction 29 Ardleigh Interchange, Colchester
    • A12 / A134 Junction 28 Cuckoo Farm Way, Colchester
    • A12 / A1124 Junction 26 Halstead Road Roundabout, Stanway, Colchester
    • A12 / A130 Junction 19 southbound off slip Boreham Interchange Roundabout, Chelmsford
    • A120 / Station Road / Europa Way / Parkeston Road Roundabout, Harwich
    • A120 Coggeshall Road Puffin Crossing, Bradwell (near Braintree)
    • A120 Coggeshall Road Puffin Crossing (west of A12), Marks Tey
    • A120 / A12 Junction 25 Dual Puffin Crossing, Marks Tey
    • M11 / A120 Junction 8, Birchanger Roundabout, Stansted Airport
    • M25 / A12 Junction 28, Brook Street Roundabout, Brentwood
    • M25 / A127 Junction 29, Codham Hall Interchange, Brentwood
  • To report traffic signal faults at these locations to National Highways please telephone 0300 123 5000 or email