Extending Max-Pressure Control for Traffic Network Operation

Principal Investigator(s):

Michael Levin, Assistant Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Project summary:

Traffic signal timing--ways to distribute right-of-way at signalized intersections--can significantly affect vehicle flows and create delays in urban cities. This project develops a new adaptive method for signal timing (max-pressure control) through mathematical proof and experimental results. Max-pressure control uses vehicle queue length information to optimize signal timing. This research addresses key fundamental limitations with existing work that discourages implementation and limits the practical benefits. This project also includes a pilot deployment study by partnering with Hennepin County in Minnesota to evaluate potential benefits on their intersections. Finally, it will extend the mathematics to suggest alternative route choices to minimize total congestion and maximize passenger flow in ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft.

This project will introduce realistic traffic flow assumptions into existing store-and-forward queueing models, namely high-density restrictions on flow, queue spillback, and first-in-first-out behavior. Since max-pressure signal timing normally relies on sensors to estimate queue lengths, it will investigate alternative data sources to calculate queue pressure, i.e. road travel delays. During these tasks, this project will search for new Lyapunov functions and modify the max-pressure control to retain the maximum-stability results. Simulation results will be used to study the effects on congestion when users change their routes in response to new signal timings. The project will further investigate actual benefits by partnering with Hennepin County in Minnesota to perform microsimulation and a pilot deployment on their intersections. Finally, the project will extend the throughput-maximizing approach to system optimal dynamic traffic assignment and passenger service in mobility-on-demand by using queueing models for those problems. Essentially, this research will bring the attractive analytical properties of max-pressure control into a more accurate model to move toward effective implementation in urban cities to realize the benefits in practice. The intellectual challenges of successful Lyapunov-based proofs of maximum-stability are significant. In addition, applications of the max-pressure approach to other transportation engineering problems with similar modeling goals will broaden the impacts across the transportation field.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2020052
  • Start date: 08/2019
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow