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ITE Advanced Transportation Controller (ATC) Family of Standards

This Fact Sheet was written on September 24, 2009. The statuses of the four standards at the time were as follows: Application Programming Interface (API) Standard for the Advanced Transportation Controller (ATC) version 2.06b was Published as of September 2007, ITS Cabinet Standard v1.02.17b was Published in November 2006 and version 2.0 is currently under development,, Advanced Transportation Controller (ATC) Standard Specification for the Type 2070 Controller (ITE ATC Type 2070) version 1 was Published as of March 2001, and Advanced Transportation Controller (ATC) was Published as of September 2006.

This Fact Sheet was written on September 24, 2009.

This Fact Sheet was last verified on September 25, 2009


The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Advanced Transportation Controller (ATC) Family of standards are intended to provide open-architecture hardware and software platforms to support a wide range of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) applications requiring a field-implementable controller. The initial standards in this family focus on traffic control applications of traffic signal control, ramp control, traffic monitoring, lane use signals, field masters, general ITS beacons, lane control, and access control. The modularity provided in the current standards will support the expansion to cover additional ITS functions in the future.

There are three major components of the ATC system:

  1. Controller: A field-hardened computer for embedded applications which, with the appropriate software and hardware modules, can perform many different ITS functions. The ATC Controller is made up of a central processing unit (CPU), an operating system (OS), memory, external and internal interfaces, and other associated hardware necessary to create an embedded transportation computing platform for control of field devices.
  2. Cabinet: Houses the electronic equipment and provides suitable power supplies. Provides the standard hardware surrounding the controller that is used to measure inputs and direct outputs relevant to the controller application. The cabinet also provides the communications paths between the subsystems and monitors their operation.
  3. Software: Is made up of three distinct parts:
    1. Application Program(s): Software programs developed to support a wide range of ITS applications.
    2. Operating System (OS): The software platform that provides access to the hardware processor and control over application programs which for the ATC family is specified as LINUX with specified POSIX libraries and specified common components.
    3. Applications Programming Interface (API): Serves as an interface between application programs and the Operating System. Having a defined interface allows an application program to run on hardware from different vendors, and also allows hardware upgrade without undermining interoperability.

Currently, the ITE ATC Family consists of four standards (two types of controllers, one cabinet, and one API):

What are these standards for?

The ITE ATC Family of standards defines field controller devices used in traffic management applications, particularly (but not exclusively) for traffic signal control. The three components of the ATC are the controller, cabinet, and software. These standards define the initial modular ATC software platform for the Applications Programming Interface (API) ,the Cabinet, and the Controller.

Who uses them?

The ITE ATC Family of standards has two types of users, operational users and developers. Operational users are transportation and traffic engineers and technicians (or their consultants) who design, specify, procure, implement, operate, and maintain ITS field controller units. This standard is especially relevant to the efforts of developers, including manufacturers who design, develop, and manufacture the field equipment in addition to software developers who design, develop, and program the software applications to run on it.

How are they used?

Collectively, the ITE ATC Family describes open architecture field control devices and software applications that run on them. Operational users can use the standards for hardware and software procurement of traffic control equipment including ITS functions. Manufacturers and developers use the standards to create equipment and applications that meet the standard implementation and operational requirements.


The ITE ATC Family of standards supports a modular hardware platform for field control equipment capable of running modular software applications for a wide variety of ITS applications. The standards describe the physical, environmental, software, and interface requirements.

The following set of standards and documents, while not part of the ITS standards, should also be considered when using this family of standards:

How to obtain Standards
Association of Electrical and Medical Imaging Equipment Manufacturers (NEMA), formerly known as National Electrical Manufacturers Association
American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
Institute of Transportation Engineers