Real-time queue length estimation using event-based advance detector data

Chengchuan An, Yao Jan Wu, Jingxin Xia, Wei Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Real-time queue length information at signalized intersections is useful for both performance evaluation and signal optimization. Previous studies have successfully examined the use of high-resolution event-based data to estimate real-time queue lengths. Based on the identification of critical breakpoints, real-time queue lengths can be estimated by applying the commonly used shockwave model. Although breakpoints can be accurately identified using lane-by-lane detection, few studies have investigated queue length estimation using single-channel detection, which is a common detection scheme for actuated signal control. In this study, a breakpoint misidentification checking process and two input-output models (upstream-based and local-based) are proposed to address the overestimation and short queue length estimation problems of breakpoint-based models. These procedures are integrated with a typical breakpoint-based model framework and queue-over-detector identification process. The proposed framework was evaluated using field-collected event-based data along Speedway Boulevard in Tucson, Arizona. Significant improvements in maximum queue length estimates were achieved using the proposed method compared to the breakpoint-based model, with mean absolute errors of 35.7 and 105.6 ft., respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-290
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Intelligent Transportation Systems: Technology, Planning, and Operations
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 4 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • High-resolution event-based data
  • input-output model
  • real-time queue length estimation
  • shock wave model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics


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