Real-Time Signal Control and Traffic Stability

Congestion on urban arterials is largely centered around intersection control. Traditional traffic signal schemes are limited in their ability to adapt in real time to traffic conditions or by their ability to coordinate with each other to urensure adequate performance. Specifically, there is a tension between adaptivity (as with actuated signals) and coordination through pre-timed signals (signal progression). The project team proposes to investigate whether routing protocols in telecommunications networks can be applied to resolve these problems. Specifically, the backpressure algorithm of Tassiulas & Emphremides (1992) can ensure system stability through decentralized control under relatively weak regularity conditions. It is as yet unknown whether this algorithm can be adapted to traffic signal systems, and if so, what modifications are needed. Traffic systems differ in several significant ways from telecommunication networks: each intersection approach has relatively few queues (lanes) that must be shared among traffic to various definitions. First-in, first-out constraints lead to head-of-line blocking effects, traffic waves move at a much slower speed than data packets, and traffic queues are tightly limited by physical space (finite buffers). Determining whether (and how) the backpressure concept can be adapted to traffic networks requires significant research, and has the potential to dramatically improve signal performance.


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

      University Transportation Centers Program
      Department of Transportation
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Project Managers:

      Bhat, Chandra

    • Performing Organizations:

      Data-Supported Transportation Operations and Planning Center

      University of Texas at Austin
      Austin, TX  United States  78701
    • Principal Investigators:

      Boyles, Stephen

    • Start Date: 20160501
    • Expected Completion Date: 20180831
    • Actual Completion Date: 0
    • Source Data: 125

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01611910
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Data-Supported Transportation Operations and Planning Center
    • Contract Numbers: DTRT13-G-UTC58
    • Files: UTC, RiP
    • Created Date: Sep 23 2016 4:12PM