Self-organisation in traffic signal control algorithms under light traffic conditions

SJ Movius, JH van Vuuren


Fixed-time control and vehicle-actuated control are two distinct types of traffic signal control. The latter control method involves switching traffic signals based on detected traffic flows and thus offers more flexibility (appropriate for lighter traffic conditions) than the former, which relies solely on cyclic, predetermined signal phases that are better suited for heavier traffic conditions. The notion of self-organisation has relatively recently been proposed as an alternative approach towards improving traffic signal control, particularly under light traffic conditions, due to its flexible nature and its potential to result in emergent behaviour. The effectiveness of five existing self-organising traffic signal control strategies from the literature and a fixed-control strategy are compared in this paper within a newly designed agent-based, microscopic traffic simulation model. Various shortcomings of three of these algorithms are identified and algorithmic improvements are suggested to remedy these deficiencies. The relative performance improvements resulting from these algorithmic modifications are then quantified by their implementation in the aforementioned traffic simulation model. Finally, a new self-organising algorithm is proposed that is particularly effective under lighter traffic conditions.

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ISSN 2224-0004 (online); ISSN 0259-191X (print)

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