Traffic lights - SCATS

Traffic lights

More than 3,700 traffic lights across NSW are coordinated, monitored and managed by the Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System (SCATS).

SCATS is a recognised worldwide market leader in intelligent transport systems. Roads and Maritime Services is continuing to develop SCATS and has also entered into collaborative research and development agreements in order to progress research on a number of longer term improvements to managing traffic.

SCATS is the primary traffic control system in Australasia and the most popular in Asia. It has been installed to manage traffic in more than 150 cities worldwide – including Johannesburg, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Dublin, Tehran, Shanghai/Pudong, Washington County and Detroit.

The main aim of traffic signal coordination is to improve traffic flow and ensure minimum overall stops and delays for road users. Other benefits include improved fuel consumption and efficiency and lower vehicle emissions.

Traffic light coordination to minimise delays is often determined by the direction of the main traffic flow; for example the morning peak hour. However, the signal coordination is not determined by the time of day, so for example when there is a large traffic flow heading home from the beach, the traffic lights will adapt to minimise delays on that route.

SCATS is the system that also implements green light corridors to enable fast and safe road transport for special vehicles such as organ deliveries.

SCATS and the TMC

Data from SCATS is relayed back to Roads and Maritime Services ’s Transport Management Centre (TMC). Here, TMC staff evaluate and report on traffic conditions to enable road users to make the best travel decisions, make journey times more consistent, and respond to and clear traffic incidents as fast as possible. Information on current traffic conditions is deployed on Variable Message Signs, reported through radio traffic reports, Roads and Maritime Services ’s Live Traffic pages and traffic information line 132 701. To report a traffic incident the public can phone the Transport Management Centre on 131 700.

SCATS website

For more information about SCATS visit