OIG Follow-Up Finds That the Chicago Department of Transportation Has Developed a Traffic Signal Management Plan to be Published in 2022

The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) completed a follow-up to its June 2020 audit of the Chicago Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) traffic signal planning practices. Based on the Department’s responses, OIG concludes that CDOT has fully implemented one of three corrective actions related to the audit finding, substantially implemented another, and partially implemented the third.

The 2020 audit found that CDOT did not have a traffic signal management plan for the 2,834 signalized intersections it manages across the city. Additionally, CDOT had not established program objectives or performance measures connecting traffic signal planning, operations, and maintenance activities to broader Department and City goals related to traffic safety, equity, and mobility.

OIG recommended that CDOT develop and publish a traffic signal management plan that aligns with industry best practices as defined by the Federal Highway Administration, with clear goals, objectives, performance measures, and a strategy to transition toward more proactive signal maintenance and retiming. We also recommended that CDOT work with each of its divisions involved in managing traffic signals to help develop the traffic signal management plan. Additionally, we recommended that the Department conduct a staffing analysis. The Department agreed with our recommendations.

In December 2021, OIG inquired about the corrective actions taken by CDOT in response to the audit. Based on the Department’s follow-up response, OIG has concluded that CDOT collaborated with relevant divisions (Traffic Safety, Electrical Operations, and Engineering) to develop a traffic signal management plan which it intends to publish in 2022. The Department has not yet performed a formal staffing analysis, however. CDOT performed a limited staffing review in 2021, but plans on performing a formal staffing analysis on a yearly basis starting this year.

“The Chicago Department of Transportation has made considerable efforts toward implementing the recommendations provided in OIG’s 2020 audit, particularly in its responsiveness toward improving its practices through the creation of a Traffic Signal Management Plan,” said Interim Inspector General William Marback. “With full implementation of OIG’s recommendations, CDOT will be able to better serve the City and to ensure that signals are optimized to promote traffic safety, equity, and mobility.”

The follow-up report can be found on OIG’s website: bit.ly/CDOTSignalsFollowUp.

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The mission of the independent and non-partisan City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) is to promote economy, effectiveness, efficiency, and integrity by identifying corruption, waste, and mismanagement in City government. OIG is a watchdog for the taxpayers of the City and has jurisdiction to conduct investigations and audits into most aspects of City government. If you see corruption, fraud, or waste of any kind, we need to hear from you. For more information, visit our website at: www.igchicago.org.