Paper No.

01 – 2288

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Authors: Zaher K. Khatib

Geoffrey A. Judd

Transportation Research Board 80th Annual Meeting January 7-11, 2001 Washington, D.C.



Zaher K. Khatib Civil Engineering Department College of Engineering University of Sharjah Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. Tel: +971 6 505 0924, Fax: +971 6 558 5173 E-mail


Geoffrey A. Judd Kitteleson and Associates Portland, Oregon U.S.A.

November 2000

Paper accepted for presentation at the TRB 2001 Annual Meeting

but most of these methods are very expensive and in some instances not feasible. This methodology involves using linear optimization of maximum green intervals to account for the oversaturated traffic condition. Several methods currently exist to reduce delays and keep traffic flowing. so severe that there is gridlock in the center of the business districts. . a decrease in the oversaturation. Khatib and Geoffrey A. The goal of this research is to generate methodology to alleviate congestion at signalized intersections by adjusting signal-timing parameters. To verify the linearly optimized signal-timing scheme. traffic. and maintaining the operation for the non-saturated movements. The comparison between pre-optimized operation and post-optimized operation provided a basis to support the validity of this work. Once these strategies are applied. This is can be accomplished by increasing the maximum green intervals. The final formulation developed can be applied to any oversaturated system by inputting the geometry. a microscopic-based program that produces several important output results such as delay and throughput volumes were conducted.CONTROL STRATEGY FOR OVERSATURATED SIGNALIZED INTERSECTIONS Zaher K. The ultimate goal is to have a model that will allow the maximum amount of traffic flow through any number of intersections along an arterial. and this importance has led to congestion in metropolitan areas – in some cases. Judd ABSTRACT The role of the vehicle is more important today than ever before in history. and initial signalization parameters and optimizing the oversaturated movements. simulations of the intersections using CORSIM. optimizing the phasing pattern. managing the internal queue. a decrease in the delay per vehicle and an increase in the amount of traffic flowing through a signalized arterial were observed.

The process involves the optimization of the phase sequence as well as the phase timing parameters for each of the intersections along the arterial. This generates large queue lengths that are not dissipated during the green phase of the signal and therefore the drivers using the system will experience excessive delay. Several methods currently exist to reduce delays and keep traffic flowing. but the capacity is the absolute maximum flow that can discharge from the intersection. This means that the number of vehicles leaving the system can only be as large as the capacity of the system. These two concepts are related by the arrival flow rate. A new procedure for the optimization of the throughput of the vehicles in the system is presented here. over-capacity operation of any system is the point where the arrival rate is larger than the maximum hourly rate of departure.CONTROL STRATEGY FOR OVERSATURATED SIGNALIZED INTERSECTIONS Zaher K. The new procedure should maximize the throughput of the vehicles in the system. The saturation flow rate is that flow rate which would be equal to the capacity of the lane group if the signal phase were always green (1). The primary traffic elements of an intersection are traffic flow and signalization. Therefore. reducing congestion. Capacity relates to the performance of a system. to provide a means for the traffic to more effectively leave the system. 1 . Therefore. or the force-off times. Capacity is also related to the saturation flow rate. based upon queuing theory analysis. In order to allow more traffic to flow through the intersection there needs to be an increase in the capacity of the intersection. Khatib and Geoffrey A. By increasing the capacity of the intersection. a flow is oversaturated if it exceeds this maximum flow rate. and how it will respond to a given amount of traffic flow. the goal is to allow the higher volume approaches to discharge more traffic than the lower volume approaches. The main idea is to change the maximum green times. The saturation flow rate decreases as a result of the lost times created by the changing of phases and some other factors relating to the operation of the intersection. When an intersection is oversaturated. at least during the morning and evening peak hours. There are two major methods of increasing the capacity of an intersection: altering the geometric parameters or altering the traffic elements. but most of these methods are very expensive and in some instances not feasible due to the limitations of the surrounding area. so that the intersection can return to a normal operating condition as quickly as possible. and therefore reduce this congestion within the system. the discharge rate is increased. the surface transportation network operates at capacity or over-capacity. Judd BACKGROUND In most urbanized areas. Capacity for existing conditions of an intersection is defined as the maximum amount of traffic that will be allowed through the intersection (1).

The secondary flow is the volume of traffic that is moving during the non-coordinated phases. Once the maximum green time is achieved. It is important to take them into consideration. traffic distribution. and often this option is not practical. and allows the signal to select the most efficient scheme during normal operation. The traffic volume is known by the use of detectors that sense the traffic arriving at the intersection. The signal phasing for an actuated controller is not a preset scheme. The geometric factors are the fixed constraints to the approach of optimizing the signal timing taken in this paper. the phase will end regardless of the traffic demand for that phase. 2. and the effect that the departure has upon the downstream intersections.Khatib & Judd Geometric The geometric options are very limited in most metropolitan areas. There are two types of controllers used for signalized intersections. and is a way to allow a platoon of vehicles to travel through the system without stopping. 5. fixed-timed and actuated (2. The percent of heavy vehicles in the traffic stream can affect the saturation flow rates for the intersections. and left-turn treatments at each intersection. An actuated controller has a variable amount of green time that shifts between a minimum green and maximum green inputted into the controller unit. departure patterns. Then an offset time is determined and implemented into the controller. 3. and depends upon the traffic arriving at the various approaches of the intersection. the phases serving the cross streets. there are some extension times that are based upon the traffic volume arriving at the intersection. due to the limited amount of space to add lanes or widen roads. arrival patterns. The travel time and initial queues formed at the next intersection are factored into the calculation of the offset for a given arterial of signalized intersections. In setting the coordination for a system. since these factors create part of the problem of the oversaturation. and 6 in Figure 1 are able to move 2 . 4). Two possible geometric options would be to provide an additional lane or to adjust the storage lengths for the turning bays. traffic-turning movements. The minimum green is required to allow a certain number of vehicles waiting at the stop bar to pass through the intersection. This is the same for the departure patterns. phase lengths. number and sequence of phases. and secondary flow. Signalization The signal timing elements include cycle length. The traffic distribution for the traffic stream affects how the flow along the arterial is modeled. since there is a possibility of platoons affecting the progression along the arterial. Coordination is usually used in a fixed-time traffic controller. The arrival patterns affect intersection performance. either financially or just because of the intersection layout within the Central Business District (CBD). Both types of controllers can be coordinated to allow the flow of platoons through the system. queue clearance time. the travel time between the intersections and the mid-block volume is taken into account. In order to reach the maximum green. This type of control is known as dual-ring operation. The traffic-turning volumes are defined by the arrival rate per hour for each movement at the intersection. Traffic Flow The traffic flow elements include traffic volume. but the phase may also end earlier if there is less traffic demand (gap out). The idea is that movements 1.

The left-turning movement may also cause this spillback effect if it spills out of the storage area. spillback generates a long delay for the vehicles on all of the approaches affected. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as gridlock. in urbanized areas. Both are explained in the following sections. It is important to note this problem. Spillback The spillback phenomenon at a signalized intersection is what occurs when there is a high volume of traffic for a particular movement and it queues into the previous intersection. This spillback effect is also related to an occurrence known as starvation. affecting the through movement from reaching the stop bar. Overall. Movement 1 Movement 2 Movement 3 Movement 4 Movement 5 Movement 6 Barrier Movement 7 Movement 8 Figure 1 Movement diagram In order to achieve the best possible traffic operation. Barrier . Figure 2 shows a drawing of an extreme case of spillback from an intersection. 4. all of the above elements of the traffic operation should be incorporated simultaneously. This spillback affects the traffic proceeding to the downstream intersection and the cross street traffic that cannot proceed through the intersection. In a system with more than one intersection. if the critical degree of saturation for one intersection approaches unity. 7. then the whole system will break down due to the spillback effect from that oversaturated intersection. Having more demand than can be stored on an approach creates this spillback problem.during the first part of the cycle. This would lead to a starvation for the through movements. and 8 can begin. since no traffic is able to flow through the intersection. since this will create a situation in which the upstream signal will not be able to allow traffic to enter the intersection. but they all must have ended before movements 3. This also is unsafe since emergency vehicles are blocked from proceeding through the intersection.

The goal of the research presented in this paper is optimizing the throughput of the intersections. This is an important problem to discuss when dealing with oversaturated intersections.Figure 2 Spillback on the arterial There are two general cases that might cause the spillback at an intersection. however. Also. by changing the upstream signal timings to accommodate the flow of the traffic into the downstream intersection. the spillback effect will tend to continue after the peak hour is over. thus reducing the amount of wasted green time at the intersection and raising the overall capacity. This could be that the green time is too short for the movements. These types of intersections tend to create the problem of spillback simply because there is not enough space to store the accumulated vehicles. starvation could be eliminated. thus reducing the spillback effect. Therefore. Starvation Starvation at a signalized intersection occurs when there is not enough traffic for a particular movement during the green time for that movement. be alleviated by running the intersections as a pair. This is a geometric problem. since it would allow the traffic to flow on this approach. creating starvation for the through traffic green. since this green time will essentially be wasted. This is due to the fact that if the traffic arrives before the signal has a chance to clear the previous queue there will be some spillback to affect the intersection that might transfer into another cycle. and not easily corrected by signal timing. and allowing the traffic to proceed as if it were a single intersection (5). This wasted green time could be used to accommodate other movements at the intersection. if the green time doesn’t allow for enough traffic to proceed through the intersection during the green phase. Thus. It can. The second case deals with the signal timings for the intersections and the arterial coordination. This is a common type of intersection at ramp junctions for a freeway. This would be helpful if one of the approaches on the cross street were approaching capacity. or that the offsets between the two intersections are not properly timed. Also. The first case is one where the intersections are so closely spaced that even normal amounts of traffic generate queues that can build up to the end of the block during the red phase. since the traffic cannot move efficiently. the queue will continue to grow. Figure 3 shows the left-turning traffic spilling back into the through lanes blocking the through traffic. the goal is to move vehicles out of the internal section of the arterial to alleviate the congestion. This problem could be a major factor in the spillback phenomenon. .

so there is less congestion. The first is when the queue from a left-turning movement is large enough to block the flow of the through traffic. The second scenario presents more of a problem. The green time for the downstream intersection is then wasted. and the time is lost during that cycle. This problem occurs when there is either a shared left-turn lane with the through movement. there are the fluctuations between starvation and spillback. and therefore the through movement is not using the allocated green. CURRENT METHODOLOGIES Some of the current methods to accommodate oversaturated intersections are generally based upon the equations used for under-saturated conditions and are not appropriate for the . since there is already a left-turn bay present. and the goal is to reduce this time to make the signal operate more efficiently. The second would be that the cross street is experiencing a spillback effect and blocking the arterial traffic. upstream intersections blocking traffic. There are two ways that the previous intersection can cause the blockage. Both spillback and starvation create wasted time for the intersection. or prohibit left-turns at this intersection. switch to split phasing. The green time wasted during starvation is acting as if the signals were in the red phase (6). The correction procedures are described above. occurs when the previous intersections create situations that limit the flow of the traffic into the downstream intersections. In the first scenario there is little that can be done to move the traffic through the intersection. One option to correct this problem is to increase the time for an exclusive left-turn phase. There are also movements that will experience the starvation in the peak period analysis. In this situation the volume of the left-turn traffic is greater than can be stored in the bay. or the left-turn bay does not have enough storage capacity. The correction for this is to optimize the cross street traffic signals to allow more vehicles to get through. The second case. The options available to alleviate part of this problem are to construct a new left-turn lane. This concept will only work if a cycle-by-cycle analysis is performed.Figure 3 Starvation caused by left-turn spillback There are two cases that might cause this starvation at the intersection. Upon analysis of the queue in a cycle-by-cycle fashion. The first is described above with a left-turning bay becoming full and blocking the through traffic. since no traffic is flowing through the intersection.

The results obtained from these programs supply a design that may lead to inefficient operation of the arterial. These tools are developed for under-saturated conditions and are not appropriate for the oversaturated conditions. The methods that are being used are based upon the principles for normal operations.oversaturated cases. This process is time consuming. to coordinate the oversaturated signals (5). An alternative method for handling oversaturation is using approaches such as traffic demand management (TDM). He points out that the typical traffic counts are taken from the discharge side of the approach. Currently. by trial and error. and does not truly reflect the actual demand of the intersection. This adds extra capacity by increasing the number of lanes in the system without changing the road geometry. In some cases these methods limit the accessibility of the arterial. This prohibition of left-turning movements reduces the potential conflicts at the intersection. which is the standard two-phase (north-south movements followed by east-west movements) as his control strategy. there are very few options when an arterial becomes oversaturated. and will tend to exacerbate the oversaturation along the arterial. The drawback of TDM schemes is that prohibiting certain movements causes a loss of serviceability on the arterial. such as TRANSYT-7F or PASSER II-90. . He uses some queue management strategies to determine the green times for the movements. which is contradictory to the goal of operation during congestion. Another option to reduce the congestion is a reversible lane that changes direction based upon whether it is the morning or evening peak period. reducing this control delay for the drivers. or increase the oversaturation along the arterial. only the service for that intersection. Another common method is using a software program. After the control delay is calculated or observed. The proposed methodology in this paper is able to optimize the signal timing parameters to allow for better operation of oversaturated arterial. to allow better operation of the signal. Kuzbari uses a fixed phasing scheme. There are very few operational methods that can handle the arterial when it is near or over-capacity. in which regulations permit or prohibit certain movements in the system during the oversaturated periods. One of the existing methods used to analyze oversaturated intersections is calculating the control delay of the intersection and then. expensive and is not the most efficient way to operate the signal. An example of TDM would be to prohibit left-turning movements during the peak periods on the arterial at every other intersection. the traffic engineer tries to manipulate the traffic control parameters inside the traffic controller in order to efficiently operate the signalized intersection (2). LITERATURE REVIEW Isolated Intersection Kuzbari has investigated the oversaturation problem for an isolated intersection with the assumption that there are only two movements in an oversaturated condition (7). Therefore this technique would create more congestion. This inefficiency may lengthen the time of the duration of the congestion along the arterial.

They analyzed the performance of the traffic at paired signalized intersections. This first method is the more conventional way of allocating the green splits according to the traffic flow. Paired signalized intersections are intersections in which the distance between the two intersections is small. in order to prevent spillback. . since the intersections are very closely spaced. The next step is to compute the interfering queue length and the maximum back of queue length for the internal links. though. modifying the saturation flow rates for each intersection. They point out that. These strategies require that the signal timing change once a set maximum back of queue be obtained. throughput. If there is still spillback at the intersection pair. such as in a diamond interchange. by maximizing the vehicle discharge. ignoring the queue limitations of the system. The first step in the Rouphail and Akcelik algorithm is to apply the full saturation flow rates to all approaches. They provided some insight into the queue interaction. the saturation flow rate for the upstream intersection is reduced to limit the traffic into the internal links.The formulation presented by Kuzbari maximizes the vehicular discharge. The first method was simply the green time of the approach divided by the flow ratio for the movement. and the queued delay will all be minimized. the travel time should be minimized. for the oversaturated movements at the intersection. Paired Intersections The queue management principles between intersections were addressed by Rouphail and Akcelik (8). these intersections can be equivalently operated as a single intersection. since the intersections are so closely spaced. The queue management strategy was integrated into the green allocation for the external phases at the two intersections. With these values. there is very little storage space between the intersections and therefore all of the traffic should be serviced by both intersections at the same time. The principle behind his formulation is that by maximizing the departure rate for the oversaturated movements. then the total vehicles in queue. The final step is to assess the system performance and compute the throughput and travel time for the system. Kim and Messer described that if the two intersections are very closely spaced. The goal is also to maximize the vehicle discharge from the system. The idea is that in order to maximize the vehicle discharge from the system the signals would run phasing schemes with a zero offset. The queue limitations are recomputed and checked once again. the blocking queue length and the critical upstream queue length can be computed. Some queue criteria are tested to check if any spillback into the upstream intersections has developed. If there is spillback. the queue is carried downstream to the next intersection. and how this queue affects the upstream intersection. Queue Management Kim and Messer (5) discussed the oversaturation issue from the standpoint of queue management strategies. Also. the length of oversaturation. The objective function. only focused on the external links of the system. such as diamond interchanges. The process is repeated. There were two methods of allocating the green times.

the idea was to maximize the throughput of the system by changing the traffic control parameters. a typical MOE. the green times will either reach the maximum green or a forceoff point. referred to as the fill-up ratio. and the large queues formed create a de facto red condition for the remaining traffic. time dependant model. the queue buildup increases the upstream departure headway. green times. Kim and Messer suggested that the measures of effectiveness (MOE) that will be used in the evaluation would be the total travel time and the vehicle discharge. Both of these are the best representations for an oversaturated system. It did. A version of this queue management technique is being applied to the model presented in this paper. Multiple Oversaturated Intersections Abu-Lebdeh and Benekohal (6) have generated a formulation for multiple oversaturated intersections along an arterial. although for the oversaturated condition the intersection is generally evaluated as the whole. The methodology also was concerned about the spillback effect on upstream signals. to generate the overall average intersection MOE. Some of the results obtained from the Abu-Lebdeh and Benekohal were that the green for the arterial and side streets changed over the study period. The idea behind this method is that the green time is restricted by the other oversaturated movements queue length. This method relates the queue length on the approaches with the green times. This is due to the shift in the amount of green allocated to the oversaturated movements. The delay. This method used a queue growth function divided by the length of the approach. Their formulation was a dynamic. since the goal will be to move traffic out of this congested zone. The second method based the green allocation upon the external queue lengths. and will allocate the green based upon these queue lengths. They discussed the characteristics of the oversaturated flow condition. is not representative of an oversaturated system. The main characteristics are that the flows are not steady state. since by optimizing the oversaturated movements it will increase the delay for the non-saturated movements. Therefore the system tends to run a predictable phasing pattern and the green times for each phase can be predicted. Since this system is running oversaturated. arrival volume. Once again. Since the method used was dynamic it did not allow for much incorporation into the model being proposed by this paper. Phasing Sequence The next step is to find an optimal phasing pattern for an oversaturated system. Another good reason to use the vehicle discharge as a MOE is that it is the main objective for oversaturated conditions. The number of vehicles leaving the system indicates the effectiveness of the system for the signal timing being optimized at the intersection. and saturation flow rate. The movement’s MOE are aggregated by a weighted average of the demand flows for each of the movements. This queue growth function is a function of the cycle length.This method works well when the arterial system is not saturated or when the queue lengths are not critical. however. and working with this dynamic model could help to mimic this fluctuation. show that there is a cycle-by-cycle fluctuation of the oversaturation. resulting from the use of the genetic algorithms. The main goal for the formulation presented was to control the queue formation and dissipation along the arterial. The optimal phasing pattern could be integrated into the linear .

since during an oversaturated condition there will not likely be large enough gaps for the vehicles to utilize. link and block lengths and the number of lanes. the throughput. arrival demand. Out of these eight movements a maximum of six phases can be selected. This optimized phasing pattern is defined by eight movements shown in Figure 1. the average saturation headways. This level includes such things as the lane designations. Rouphail and Khatib (9) had incorporated a technique to optimize the phasing pattern. The optimization provides the selection for each of these phases. the possible background cycle lengths and the minimum green and clearance intervals. but they may also be skipped if there is a lack of demand for a particular phase. METHODOLOGY The proposed linear formulation contains three levels of detail required in the model: System. discharge volume. which pertains to each individual intersection. number of approaches. Such items in this level include the number of intersections. The zonal level pertains to pairs of intersections that are next to each other. will be the dual left turning movements for the arterial. representing an optimal phasing pattern. optimized based upon the arrival volume for each movements. . and then this is repeated for the cross streets. green splits. if required. and then it is manipulated into the phase sequence. The phasing scheme above is required so that the left-turning vehicles are able to leave the system. The system level items are those that pertain to the entire system and are common throughout the system. queue lengths. The final level is the local level. The first phase. Figure 4 Phase sequencing The phase optimization has a basic scheme that was adopted to provide the most efficient method of moving traffic in oversaturated conditions. and the phasing sequence and timings. in Figure 4. Each of these phases may be incorporated. followed by one of the two split phases (chosen by the higher volume). storage capacity. A diagrammatic representation of the phasing sequence is shown below. Zonal. This method of operation is shown to be very effective in allowing the maximum amount of traffic to flow through the intersection. Such items in this level include the offsets.program and an optimal scheme would be achieved. followed by the through movements. and Local.

0 seconds was used for the case study. The storage length on the denominator of the equations below represents either the storage length. Ti 4 * EBLi 2 − Ti 2 * EBLi 4 = 0 . The green time is optimized for each movement.Linear Programming Formulation For the optimization of the objective function a program called LINDO (Linear. and therefore reduce the congestion within the system. for leftturn bays (SLij). and the j value has a range from 1 to the number of movements at the intersection. The equation for the queue-growing function is shown below. 1 MAX (∑ * Gij ) h Where i is the intersection number and j is the movement number. each having the form shown below. and Discrete Optimizer) was used in this study.8 and 2. the arrival rate (Vij). This is accomplished by multiplying the inverse of the average saturation headway (h) of the vehicles in the system by the green time (Gij) for each of the movements at the signalized intersections. or the effective block length for the through movements (EBLij). The i value has a range of 1 to N. 2. The objective function of the linear formulation is to maximize the vehicles leaving the system. The movement numbers are shown in Figure 1. the number of intersections. INteractive. There are two sets of equations to define the green times. Below are these equations for the movements. Green Time Allocation The first set of constraints in the model is used to assign the green for each movement based upon the arrival rates.2 seconds. This is done by relating a queue-growing function for a movement to the storage length for that movement at the intersection. the cycle length (C). Ti1 T T T = i 3 = i5 = i 7 SLi1 SLi 3 SLi 5 SLi 7 Ti 2 Ti 4 Ti 6 Ti 8 = = = EBLi 2 EBLi 4 EBLi 6 EBLi 8 These equations lead to six different constraints to the model. This queue-growing function consists of the green times for that movement (Gij). Tij = Vij ∗ C − Gij ∗ S ij The green is split between the left-turning movements and through movements. The average headway values range between 1. The general form for this objective function is shown below. maximum of eight. and the saturation flow rate (Sij).

4) of Figure 1 is a critical movement. if the wij is equal to 0 then the ring two movement (5.2. otherwise.7. If the wij were equal to 1 then the ring one movement (1. which selects the critical movement between 2 or 6. A representative equation is shown below. The first constraint takes into account the downstream storage capacity. where the index “k” represents pair of movements from Figure 4. 2-6.8) is critical. This constraint is used as a means to control the discharge of the traffic at the intersection of interest and limits the queue that would be developed at the downstream intersection. These binary variables denote which movements are critical. The identification of critical movements was conducted in pairs.6. The idea is that the red time for a phase should be short enough to accommodate the storage capacity for either intersection approach. There are two equations to constrain the binary variable and allow for the selection logic to properly choose the correct solution. Below are the equations for the phase selections. These constraints are used for internal queue management. depending upon which of the movements is critical. In this step. These constraints are to minimize the number of phases selected as discussed earlier. with the lower case ij indicating the intersection and movement of interest. 3-7. The binary variable is the wij variable. binary variables are used to develop decision logic in the equation.3. the phases are selected based on the critical V/S ratios. The discharge rate is a zonal constraint.Critical Movements The next step is to find the critical movements at the intersection. 1-5. between intersections. The total number of vehicles in this . and when optimized the critical movements are denoted by a value of one or zero. by using a weighted average of the storage capacities. From the linear formulation the two equations are shown below: Vi 6 * wi1 ≤ Vi 2 Vi 2 * wi1 ≥ Vi 2 − Vi 6 Phase Selection In this step. and 4-8. Phase k Movements j 1 1&5 2 2&5 3 2&6 4 1&6 5 3&7 6 3&8 7 4&8 8 4&7 Discharge Rates The next thing to be formulated is the discharge rates. Dual Left for East-West PHF * Pi1 + PHF * Pi2 >= Vi5 / Si5 PHF * Pi1 + PHF * Pi4 >= Vi1 / Si1 Dual Left for North-South PHF * Pi5 + PHF * Pi6 >= Vi3 / Si3 PHF * Pi5 + PHF * Pi8 >= Vi7 / Si7 Thru Phases for East-West PHF * Pi2 + PHF * Pi3 >= Vi2 / Si2 PHF * Pi3 + PHF * Pi4 >= Vi6 / Si6 Thru phases for North-South PHF * Pi6 + PHF * Pi7 >= Vi8 / Si8 PHF * Pi7 + PHF * Pi8 >= Vi4 / Si4 Where PHF is the peak hour factor and Pik is the phase split.

This constraint is used only for the arterial. The SCij is an input parameter based upon the geometry of the system. veh. NLTH * EBLi For through movements Avg. The other constraint was used to control the internal queues. Length NLLT * SLi SC LT ( i ) = For left − turn movements Avg. This constraint considers the storage capacity of each movement and the departure rate for that movement. This formulation accounts for the accumulation of vehicles in the storage area. The equation is shown below. and allows these vehicles to release from the intersection before setting the discharge rate to the arrival rate. since it only concerns the amount of traffic that is on the links between the two intersections. This sets a lower bound on the discharge rate required to serve as much of the existing queue as possible. An example of the equation for the discharge rate is shown below. Define Cycle Length The final step is to define a cycle length for the system. and SLi is the storage length. NLTh or LT is the number of lanes in the through (TH) or left-turn (LT) movement. Gij is the green time. C − Gi 6 ≤ V( i +1) 6 V( i +1) 6 + V( i +1)1 * SCTH ( i +1) h + V( i +1)1 V( i +1) 6 + V( i +1)1 * SC LT ( i +1) h Where Vij is the arrival rate in vehicles per second. Length SCTH ( i ) = Where EBLi is the effective block length. The sum of each of the rings in the dual ring controller defines the cycle length. computed by the equation below. 1 C − Gij ≥ * SCij h The next constraint is used to further restrict the internal queues. The equation is based upon the idea of input minus output equals the storage. and SCij is the storage capacity for the movement in number of vehicles.discharge calculation is determined through several factors that are held as constants. which accounts for the storage capacity and the initial queue at the intersection of interest. veh. Two summations are used to constrain the cycle length. Gi 6 Gi 3 G( i +1) 6 G(i +1)1 + − − ≤ SCTH ( i ) Vi 6 Vi 3 V( i +1) 6 V( i +1)1 The above constraints are used to make certain that the internal queues are not exceeding the effective block length set as some percentage of the full block length. h is the average saturation headway. based upon the discharge rates for each of the movements. C is the cycle length. The equations are shown below: 12 .

The cycle length is bounded to provide a more effective operation and to reduce the amount of delay incurred by the red phase. Figure 5 External versus internal movements 13 . internal movements) therefore less congestion. while the performance of others will improve. Figure 5 below shows a sample network. By increasing the discharge there should be fewer vehicles within the system (inside the shaded area. a microscopic-based program (12). using the force-off times as the green time. EVALUATION The performance of the arterial was examined before and after optimization. Otherwise. but when the arterial becomes over-saturated these timings may not be appropriate. The overall improvement will outweigh the degradation. but the focus is upon the approaches leaving the system. The simulation was performed by CORSIM. One important note for this study is that the MOE are compared on the entire system In other words. Outside the shaded area in Figure 5 is where the system wide MOE’s are taken. the performance of the intersection with the new signal timing strategy was reviewed and compared with the performance of the original intersection signal timings. The major area of interest in the output of the simulation model is the total travel time and the traffic volume of the system. There are also internal measurements taken. the cycle length would be an unreasonable length and would have an extraordinarily high delay. These force-off times were set based upon techniques developed for undersaturated conditions. The original signal timings were determined by using the output from the controllers in the field. there might be some approaches in which the performance will degrade. namely discharge for the external movements.Gi1 + Gi 2 + Gi 3 + Gi 4 − C ≤ 0 Gi 5 + Gi 6 + Gi 7 + Gi 8 − C ≤ 0 The minimum green times are based upon pedestrian clearances or minimum green initial intervals. By using the simulation model.

(3) Park Avenue. 14 . not shown. and (5) Memorial Drive. Idaho Table 1 Volumes for the Five Intersections (vph) Volumes Vij for Intersection i Intersection 1 Intersection 2 Intersection 3 Intersection 4 Intersection 5 Vi1 222 94 222 278 0 Vi2 778 1667 667 944 3333 Vi3 67 83 0 389 0 Vi4 1167 0 461 0 472 Vi5 233 67 0 167 194 Vi6 306 722 833 1222 1111 Vi7 67 0 222 0 444 Vi8 322 583 0 1278 0 Simulate the Intersections After completing the formulation and performing an optimization. Broadway Street is a major thoroughfare for the city of Idaho Falls. There are two simulations performed for each intersection. (2) Shoup Avenue. operating in a coordinated-actuated system. Table 1 summarizes the arrival volumes. (4) Capital Avenue. The model was tested for one.and post-optimization. and five intersections along an arterial. are (1) Yellowstone Avenue. Figure 6 shows a representation of the geometric layout of the arterial of interest. pre. but since the focus is the arterial it is the only portion shown on the figure. and therefore during the morning and evening peak hours become congested.Case Study The case study is adopted from Idaho Falls. There are five closely spaced intersections on an arterial (Broadway Street). 5 4 3 2 1 8-1-3 6-3 8-3 Phasing Sequence 6-3 7-5-1-3 Figure 6 Geometric layout of downtown Idaho Falls. Idaho. There is a network of streets that join to the cross-streets. the next step is to simulate the intersections for evaluation. The five intersections off of Broadway Street. in order from the east to the west. There are also another seven intersections that are contributing to this oversaturation. two.

The volume entering increased by 22. and the volume was 566. the basis for the optimization procedure shows that there is a good foundation to perform further tests on more intersections. Table 3 presents the analysis results for the two intersections scenario. The percent change for each of those was a 47. The average postoptimized TTT entering was 95. There is a high probability of queue spillback at this distance. The intersection was simulated to show the current existing conditions of the system. The average post-optimized volume entering was 693 vehicles per hour. In Figure 6.0% increase in the TTT exiting. and the average volume exiting was 690 vehicles per hour. The average pre-optimized total travel time (TTT) entering was 205. The postoptimized system-wide performance results showed that the time was 60.9%. Two Intersections Analysis The distance between the first two intersections was 110 m (360 feet). and the volume exiting increased by 21.4%. therefore the internal queue management can be tested.6 seconds per vehicle and the average TTT exiting was 24.and Post-Optimized Signal Timing for Isolated Intersection Phase/Movement 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pre-optimized Green 16 31 26 46 16 31 26 46 Post-optimized Green 42 40 13 60 44 16 13 16 For this first case study the travel time and volumes were averaged for both the entering and exiting traffic. node number 1 is the intersection of interest. The overall system-wide performance results showed that the pre-optimized time was 115. and the volume was 692.3% increase in the volume. and then the volumes were used in the linear formulation to be optimized.and post-optimization. While these results are for only one intersection. The links that are approaching the system are separated from the links leaving the system. Table 2 shows the change in the signalization parameters between the pre.4.Isolated Intersection Analysis The first evaluation was to use the proposed methodology with an isolated intersection with several movements in an oversaturated condition. 15 .7 seconds and the average TTT exiting was 25.1 seconds.6 seconds per vehicle. The average pre-optimized volume entering was 564 vehicles per hour and average volume exiting was 568 vehicles per hour. and there was a 2. Broadway and Yellowstone.5%. This intersection was chosen because it had all eight movements.5 decrease in TTT and a 22.1. Table 2 Pre. The TTT entering decreased by 53.

2% increase in average TTT. the exiting links. Table 4 shows the maximum green times for each of the movements at each intersection. The internal queues were being minimized in the formulation.6 seconds per vehicle and the volume was 414 vehicles per hour.Table 3 Two Intersections Analysis Broadway and Yellowstone PrePostMovement optimized optimized 1 15 42 2 30 40 3 25 13 4 25 60 5 15 44 6 30 16 7 25 13 8 25 16 Broadway and Shoup PrePostMovement optimized optimized 1 30 36 2 30 90 3 20 54 4 0 0 5 30 36 6 30 38 7 0 0 8 20 85 Once several simulations were performed. The post-optimized TTT is 139.0 seconds per vehicle and the volume was 475 vehicles per hour. Five Intersections Analysis The first step in this case study was to optimize the signal timings for the five oversaturated intersections. so that was taken into consideration. For the post-optimized intersections the average TTT of the vehicles entering the system was 291. This is a 4.4% decrease in the average volume.9 seconds per vehicle and the volume was 642 vehicles per hour.3 seconds per vehicle and the volume was 567 vehicles per hour.8% decrease in average TTT. For the pre-optimized intersections the average TTT of vehicles entering the system was 312.the entering links. The results show that for the pre-optimized TTT is 145. Using these intersections in the optimization and simulation models produced the following results. 16 . and there seemed to be an increase in the operational performance of the intersections.7%. The overall system performance was compared between the pre. and the internal links. and 11. The average TTT of vehicles exiting the system was 24. The degradation of the internal links’ average TTT and volume created some concern about what was happening in the system. and 3.2% increase in the average volume. For the internal links the average TTT was 101. three areas were compared . There was an increase in the average TTT of 1. and the volume increased 14.6%. The average TTT of vehicles exiting the system was 25.5 seconds per vehicle and the average volume was 510 vehicles per hour. This was a 6.5% decrease in the TTT and a 9.and post-optimized scenarios. This was a 10. For the internal links the average TTT was 91.7% increase in the average volume in the system.7 seconds per vehicle and the volume is 486 vehicles per hour.2 seconds per vehicle and the volume is 533 vehicles per hour.3 seconds per vehicle and the volume was 620 vehicles per hour. For this paired intersection arterial. the results were averaged and compared.

17 . the capacity would also be optimized. With this methodology. Since this was an oversaturated arterial there was little progression through the entire system. RECOMMENDATIONS and CONCLUSIONS The testing of this methodology in the field has not been attempted. The average total travel time for the entire system in the pre-optimized condition was 91. The oversaturation problem is becoming more important as the volume of traffic in cities grows.3 seconds per vehicle. the improvement of service along the arterial created some degradation of the quality of service provided to the cross-street traffic. and the model is used again to see the effects upon the capacity. This showed that some of the queue management techniques implemented in the formulation have provided the appropriate control for the arterial.9 seconds per vehicle. This is a decrease of 29% for the average total travel time and an increase of 21% for the average volume. since the focus was upon the arterial. but some traffic was able to progress through two intersections in one green phase. any oversaturated system can have an improved quality of service during the peak periods. Then the capacity is determined. This provided some challenges. by using the methodology proposed in this research. with 431 vehicles per hour. This process would be an iterative one. It should be noted that. the operational performance of an oversaturated arterial can be greatly improved. with 357 vehicles per hour. in which the linear program is used upon the existing conditions in order to get the new phase times. The post-optimized average total travel time was 65. While this might not altogether eliminate the oversaturation. and could be beneficial to helping control some of the congestion in major cities. In the optimization of the phase timings and cycle length. it does provide a more effective means of processing the vehicles through the system. but the simulation modeling of it shows an increase in the operational performance on the arterial. to determine the effect of the new timing plan on the arterial performance. since the capacity is directly proportional to the green ratio. In summary. The proposed methodology has been developed based on queuing theory principles and some mathematical approximations. and it would need further investigation to see the effects of the changing capacity upon the linear optimization.Intersection Movement 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Table 4 Maximum Green Times for all 5 Intersections #1 #2 #3 #4 Pre Post Pre Post Pre Post Pre Post 15 49 30 59 30 4 30 7 30 42 30 27 30 85 30 49 25 4 20 4 0 0 20 44 25 62 0 0 20 11 0 0 15 50 30 11 0 0 30 0 30 4 30 4 30 4 30 75 25 4 0 0 20 96 0 0 25 100 20 75 0 0 20 25 #5 Pre 0 30 0 15 30 30 15 0 Post 0 44 0 4 4 4 4 0 The analysis of the five intersections segment focused on the overall system averages. the key findings are that.

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