Heuristic algorithm for priority traffic signal control

Qing He, K. Larry Head, Jun Ding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


A heuristic algorithm is presented for traffic signal control with simultaneous multiple priority requests at isolated intersections in the context of vehicle-to-infrastructure communications being available on priority vehicles, such as emergency vehicles and transit buses. This heuristic algorithm can achieve near-optimal signal timing when all simultaneous requests are considered and can be visualized in a phase-time diagram. First, the problem with the control of multiple priority traffic signals is transformed into a network cut problem that is polynomial solvable under some reasonable assumptions. Second, a phase-time diagram is presented to visualize and evaluate priority delay given a signal plan and a collection of priority request arrival times. Microscopic traffic simulation is used to compare the heuristic with the state-of-the-practice algorithms for transit signal priority. The proposed heuristic algorithm could reduce average bus delay in congested conditions by about 50%, especially with a high frequency of conflicting priority requests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number2259
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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