A real-time traffic signal control system: Architecture, algorithms, and analysis

Pitu Mirchandani, Larry Head

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

496 Scopus citations


The paper discusses a real-time traffic-adaptive signal control system referred to as RHODES. The system takes as input detector data for real-time measurement of traffic flow, and "optimally" controls the flow through the network. The system utilizes a control architecture that (1) decomposes the traffic control problem into several subproblems that are interconnected in an hierarchical fashion, (2) predicts traffic flows at appropriate resolution levels (individual vehicles and platoons) to enable pro-active control, (3) allows various optimization modules for solving the hierarchical subproblems, and (4) utilizes a data structure and computer/communication approaches that allow for fast solution of the subproblems, so that each decision can be downloaded in the field appropriately within the given rolling time horizon of the corresponding subproblem. The RHODES architecture, algorithms, and its analysis are presented. Laboratory test results, based on implementation of RHODES on simulation models of actual scenarios, illustrate the effectiveness of the system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-432
Number of pages18
JournalTransportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2001


  • Adaptive controls
  • Real time systems
  • Traffic controls
  • Traffic optimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transportation
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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