Arterial traffic signal optimization: A person-based approach

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, place - urban, mode - bus, mode - car, infrastructure - bus/tram priority, infrastructure - traffic signals


Person-based traffic signal control, Transit signal priority, Person delay, Mixed-Integer Linear Programming, Conflicting transit routes, Pairwise signal optimization


This paper presents a real-time signal control system that optimizes signal settings based on minimization of person delay on arterials. The system’s underlying mixed integer linear program minimizes person delay by explicitly accounting for the passenger occupancy of autos and transit vehicles. This way it can provide signal priority to transit vehicles in an efficient way even when they travel in conflicting directions. Furthermore, it recognizes the importance of schedule adherence for reliable transit operations and accounts for it by assigning an additional weighting factor on transit delays. This introduces another criterion for resolving the issue of assigning priority to conflicting transit routes. At the same time, the system maintains auto vehicle progression by introducing the appropriate delays associated with interruptions of platoons. In addition to the fact that it utilizes readily available technologies to obtain the inputs for the optimization, the system’s feasibility in real-world settings is enhanced by its low computation time. The proposed signal control system is tested on a four-intersection segment of San Pablo Avenue arterial located in Berkeley, California. The findings show the system’s capability to outperform pretimed (i.e., fixed-time) optimal signal settings by reducing total person delay. They have also demonstrated its success in reducing bus person delay by efficiently providing priority to transit vehicles even when they travel in conflicting directions.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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