Max-pressure traffic signal timing: integrating theory and practice

More cars through intersections more efficiently

a Warren Distinguished Lecture with Michael Levin, Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering, University of Minnesota

Traffic signals are major bottlenecks for urban networks, and traffic signal timing has been studied for decades. However, in 2013, a new paradigm of max-pressure signal timing was introduced, which uses a Markov chain store-and-forward queueing model of traffic flow to mathematically prove that max-pressure control achieves maximum throughput of vehicles. This throughput optimality is shown for a network of max-pressure intersections, not just for individual intersections. As an added benefit, max-pressure control is very computationally easy to implement. Several important theoretical and practical questions remain before max-pressure control can be adopted for real traffic. The purpose of this research is to address some of these questions while preserving the mathematical throughput-optimality property as much as possible. Levin demonstrates how max-pressure control can be modified to provide explicit pedestrian access while retaining the maximum throughput properties. Levin further investigates the throughput properties when max-pressure control is used for a subset of intersections, and develop a way of optimizing the intersection selection. He also conducted microsimulation studies of max-pressure control in seven intersections in two corridors, with detailed data provided by Hennepin County, with encouraging results that may lead to experiments on Minnesota roads.

Start date
Friday, Sept. 15, 2023, 10:10 a.m.