ACS-Lite Algorithmic Architecture: Applying Adaptive Control System Technology to Closed-Loop Traffic Signal Control Systems

Felipe Luyanda, Douglas Gettman, Larry Head, Steven Shelby, Darcy Bullock, Pitu Mirchandani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


ACS-Lite is being developed by FHWA to be a cost-effective solution for applying adaptive control system (ACS) technology to current, state-of-the-practice closed-loop traffic signal control systems. This effort is intended to make ACS technology accessible to many jurisdictions without the upgrade and maintenance costs required to implement ACS systems that provide optimized signal timings on a second-by-second basis. The ACS-Lite system includes three major algorithmic components: a time-of-day (TOD) tuner, a run-time refiner, and a transition manager. The TOD tuner maintains plan parameters (cycle, splits, and offsets) as the long-term traffic conditions change. The run-time refiner modifies the cycle, splits, and offsets of the plan that is currently running based on observation of traffic conditions that are outside the normal bounds of conditions this plan is designed to handle. The run-time refiner also determines the best time to transition from the current plan to the next plan in the schedule, or, like a traffic-responsive system, it might transition to a plan that is not scheduled next in the sequence. The transition manager selects from the transition methods built in to the local controllers to balance the time spent out of coordination with the delay and congestion that is potentially caused by getting back into step as quickly as possible. These components of the ACS-Lite algorithm architecture are described and the similarities and differences of ACS-Lite with state-of-the-art and state-of-the-practice adaptive control algorithms are discussed. Closed-loop control system characteristics are summarized to give the context in which ACS-Lite is intended to operate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-184
Number of pages10
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1856
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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