Formulation of real-time control policy for oversaturated arterials

E. B. Lieberman, J. Chang, E. S. Prassas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The formulation of a real-time traffic control policy designed expressly for oversaturated arterials is presented, and the operating protocol is described. Its objectives are to (a) maximize system throughput, (b) fully use storage capacity, and (c) provide equitable service. This control policy, known as RT/IMPOST (real-time/internal metering policy to optimize signal timing), is designed to control queue growth on every saturated approach by suitably metering traffic to maintain stable queues. Consistent with this approach, bounds on queue lengths and signal offsets are determined. A mixed-integer linear program (MILP) tableau is formulated to yield optimal values of signal offsets and queue length for each approach. A nonlinear (quadratic) programming formulation adjusts the arterial green-phase durations of each signal cycle so that the actual arterial queue lengths on each saturated approach will continually closely approximate the optimal queue lengths computed by the MILP formulation. The policy principles are as follows: (a) the signal phase durations "meter" traffic at intersections servicing oversaturated approaches to control and stabilize queue lengths and to provide equitable service to competing traffic streams; and (b) the signal coordination (i.e., offsets) controls the interaction between incoming platoons and standing queues in a way that fully uses the available storage capacity, keeps intersections clear of queue spillback, and maximizes throughput.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-78
Number of pages2
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1727
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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