Signal Timing Optimization for Improved Person Mobility and Air Quality

Due to the continuous growth of population and car ownership, large urban areas are challenged to find solutions to increasingly pressing traffic congestion problems and their related externalities, such as vehicle emissions that degrade air quality. Efficient and sustainable management of multimodal transportation systems is critical in maintaining the economic competitiveness of urban areas and ensuring livable communities. The proposed research aims to develop a real-time signal control system that optimizes signal timings at an intersection by minimizing a weighted combination of person delay and vehicle emissions, in particular, carbon monoxide. However, the proposed system can be used to minimize any type of pollutant vehicle emissions. Analytical models based on traffic flow theory will be developed to estimate person delay and vehicle activity (time spent accelerating, decelerating, cruising, and idling) as functions of demand, saturation flow, and signal control parameters. Information on vehicle activity will be used along with the Environmental Protection Agency's emissions microsimulation model to produce average emission rates per driving mode. The proposed methodology and optimization process will be evaluated with the use of data from two real-world intersections of University and San Pablo Avenues, in Berkeley, CA, and S. Pleasant Street with Amity and Main Streets, in Amherst, MA. Evaluation tests will be performed both through numerical examples and simulation. The contribution of the proposed research is in the development of a low-cost tool that can be used to provide priority to transit vehicles at busy urban signalized intersections, while improving air quality.

  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Contract to a Performing Organization has not yet been awarded.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $199948.00
  • Contract Numbers:



  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Start Date: 20120602
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20160131
  • Source Data: RiP Project 39216

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01556877
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: New England University Transportation Center
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT12-G-UTC01, UMAR24-14B
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Mar 13 2015 1:00AM