Enhanced Traffic Signal Operation using Connected Vehicle Data
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As traffic on urban road network increases, congestion and delays are becoming more severe. At grade intersections form capacity bottlenecks in urban road networks because at these locations, capacity must be shared by competing traffic movements. Traffic signals are the most common method by which the right of way is dynamically allocated to conflicting movements. A range of traffic signal control strategies exist including fixed time control, actuated control, and adaptive traffic signal control (ATSC). ATSC relies on traffic sensors to estimate inputs such as traffic demands, queue lengths, etc. and then dynamically adjusts signal timings with the objective to minimize delays and stops at the intersection. Despite, the advantages of these ATSC systems, one of the barriers limiting greater use of these systems is the large number of traffic sensors required to provide the essential information for their signal timing optimization methodologies. A recently introduced technology called connected vehicles will make vehicles capable of providing detailed information such as their position, speed, acceleration rate, etc. in real-time using a wireless technology. The deployment of connected vehicle technology would provide the opportunity to introduce new traffic control strategies or to enhance the existing one. Some work has been done to-date to develop new ATSC systems on the basis of the data provided by connected vehicles which are mainly designed on the assumption that all vehicles on the network are equipped with the connected vehicle technology. The goals of such systems are to: 1) provide better performance at signalized intersections using enhanced algorithms based on richer data provided by the connected vehicles; and 2) reduce (or eliminate) the need for fixed point detectors/sensors in order to reduce deployment and maintenance costs. However, no work has been done to investigate how connected vehicle data can improve the performance of ATSC systems that are currently deployed and that operate using data from traditional detectors. Moreover, achieving a 100% market penetration of connected vehicles may take more than 30 years (even if the technology is mandated on new vehicles). Therefore, it is necessary to provide a solution that is capable of improving the performance of signalized intersections during this transition period using connected vehicle data even at low market penetration rates. This research examines the use of connected vehicle data as the only data source at different market penetration rates aiming to provide the required inputs for conventional adaptive signal control systems. The thesis proposes various methodologies to: 1) estimate queues at signalized intersections; 2) dynamically estimate the saturation flow rate required for optimizing the timings of traffic signals at intersections; and 3) estimate the free flow speed on arterials for the purpose of optimizing offsets between traffic signals. This thesis has resulted in the following findings: 1. Connected vehicle data can be used to estimate the queue length at signalized intersections especially for the purpose of estimating the saturation flow rate. The vehicles’ length information provided by connected vehicles can be used to enhance the queue estimation when the traffic composition changes on a network. 2. The proposed methodology for estimating the saturation flow rate is able to estimate temporally varying saturation flow rates in response to changing network conditions, including lane blockages and queue spillback that limit discharge rates, and do so with an acceptable range of errors even at low level of market penetration of connected vehicles. The evaluation of the method for a range of traffic Level of Service (LOS) shows that the maximum observed mean absolute relative error (6.2%) occurs at LOS F and when only 10% of vehicles in the traffic stream are connected vehicles. 3. The proposed method for estimating the Free Flow Speed (FFS) on arterial roads can provide estimations close to the known ground truth and can respond to changes in the FFS. The results also show that the maximum absolute error of approximately 4.7 km/h in the estimated FFS was observed at 10% market penetration rate of connected vehicles. 4. The results of an evaluation of an adaptive signal control system based on connected vehicle data in a microsimulation environment show that the adaptive signal control system is able to adjust timings of signals at intersections in response to changes in the saturation flow rate and free flow speed estimated from connected vehicle data using the proposed methodologies. The comparison of the adaptive signal control system against a fixed time control at 20% and 100% CV market penetration rates shows improvements in average vehicular delay and average number of stops at both market penetration rates and though improvements are larger for 100% CV LMP, approximately 70% of these improvements are achieved at 20% CV LMP.
Cite this work
Ehsan Bagheri (2017). Enhanced Traffic Signal Operation using Connected Vehicle Data. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/12261