The objective of this project is to develop algorithms and rules that will allow actuated traffic signals, free of any fixed cycle length, to form green waves by communicating with signals at neighboring intersections. Algorithms and rules will be developed for transit priority, to deal with oversaturated conditions, to provide more efficient multilane gap-out, and to make best use of the slack inherent in lagging left turn phasing. Algorithms will be coded in C++ and tested using the traffic microsimulation software VISSIM. Actuated traffic signal control, in which changes in signal state (red, green) respond to vehicle detections, has many advantages - it reduces delay, especially for pedestrians, improves safety, and is readily adaptable to giving priority to public transportation. However, it is sparingly used on urban arterials because it lacks mechanisms for coordinating with neighboring intersections.
If successful, this project will create incremental improvements that can be applied in existing signal controllers as well as a whole new paradigm for traffic signal control that will improve safety, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. These new control methods will reduce delay for all traffic users by being more responsive to traffic detection. Pedestrians and public transportation will benefit the most, thus promoting sustainable modes of transportation. Self-organizing logic will reduce the cost of maintaining traffic signals because unlike standard signal timing plans, it does not need to be updated every few years. Outreach activities will take advantage of the strong public interest in traffic through presentations at high schools and public meetings, and through instructional videos posted on the web illustrating the principles of self-organizing traffic signal control.