Deep Reinforcement Learning Models for Real-Time Traffic Signal Optimization with Big Traffic Data
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One of the most significant changes that the globe has faced in recent years is the changes brought about by the COVID19 pandemic. While this research was started before the pandemic began, the pandemic has exposed the value that data and information can have in modern society. During the pandemic traffic volumes changed substantially, leaving the inefficiencies of existing methods exposed. This research has focussed on exploring two key ideas that will become increasingly relevant as societies adapt to these changes: Big Data and Artificial Intelligence. For many municipalities, traffic signals are still re-timed using traditional approaches and there is still significant reliance on static timing plans designed with data collected from static field studies. This research explored the possibility of using travel-time data obtained from Bluetooth and WiFi sniffing. Bluetooth and WiFi sniffing is an emerging Big Data approach that takes advantage of the ability to track and monitor unique devices as they move from location to location. An approach to re-time signals using an adaptive system was developed, analysed, and tested under varying conditions. The results of this work showed that this data could be used to improve delays by as much as 10\% when compared to traditional approaches. More importantly, this approach demonstrated that it is possible to re-time signals using a readily available and dynamic data source without the need for field volume studies. In addition to Big Data technologies, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly playing an important role in modern technologies. AI is already being used to make complex decisions, categorise images, and can best humans in complex strategy games. While AI shows promise, applications to Traffic Engineering have been limtied. This research has advanced the state-of-the art by conducting a systematic sensitivity study on an AI technique, Deep Reinforcement Learning. This thesis investigated and identified optimal settings for key parameters such as the discount factor, learning rate, and reward functions. This thesis also developed and tested a complete framework that could potentially be applied to evaluate AI techniques in field settings. This includes applications of AI techniques such as transfer learning to reduce training times. Finally, this thesis also examined framings for multi-intersection control, including comparisons to existing state-of-the art approaches such as SCOOT.
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Matthew Muresan (2021). Deep Reinforcement Learning Models for Real-Time Traffic Signal Optimization with Big Traffic Data. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/16996