Optimal intersection operation with median U-turn: Lane-based approach

Jing Zhao, Wanjing Ma, K. Larry Head, Xiaoguang Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The median U-turn intersection is a potential method for relieving traffic congestion at intersections. Median U-turn intersections can be classified into six types, according to the prohibited traffic movements. Although much is known about the technology of the median U-turn, efforts have focused on its geometric design, safety analysis, and evaluation. In this paper, a lane-based optimization model is proposed for the integrated design of median U-turn intersection types, lane markings, distances between the median crossovers and the main intersection, and signal timings. The capacity maximization problem is considered, and a set of constraints is determined that ensures the feasibility and safety of the optimization results. The optimization is formulated as a multiobjective mixed-integer nonlinear programming problem. It is solved by transformation to a series of mixed-integer linear programming models. The latter can be solved by the standard branch-and-bound technique. Extensive numerical analysis and a case study have shown the effectiveness of the proposed method. In addition, the method can assist transportation professionals in the proper selection of U-turn types and in the design of intersections with median U-turns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-82
Number of pages12
JournalTransportation Research Record
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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