Multi-criteria optimization of traffic signals: Mobility, safety, and environment


Two-dimensional multi-objective optimizations have been used for decades for the problems in traffic engineering although only few times so far in the optimization of signal timings. While the other engineering and science disciplines have utilized visualization of 3-dimensional Pareto fronts in the optimization studies, we have not seen many of those concepts applied to traffic signal optimization problems. To bridge the gap in the existing knowledge this study presents a methodology where 3-dimensional Pareto Fronts of signal timings, which are expressed through mobility, (surrogate) safety, and environmental factors, are optimized by use of an evolutionary algorithm. The study uses a segment of 5 signalized intersections in West Valley City, Utah, to test signal timings which provide a balance between mobility, safety and environment. In addition, a set of previous developed signal timing scenarios, including some of the Connected Vehicle technologies such as GLOSA, were conducted to evaluate the quality of the 3-dimensional Pareto front solutions. The results show success of 3-dimensinal Pareto fronts moving towards optimality. The resulting signal timing plans do not show large differences between themselves but all improve on the signal timings from the field, significantly. The commonly used optimization of standard single-objective functions shows robust solutions. The new set of Connected Vehicle technologies also shows promising benefits, especially in the area of reducing inter-vehicular friction. The resulting timing plans from two optimization sets (constrained and unconstrained) show that environmental and safe signal timings coincide but somewhat contradict mobility. Further research is needed to apply similar concepts on a variety of networks and traffic conditions before generalizing findings.

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