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Centralised versus decentralised signal control of large-scale urban road networks in real time: a simulation study

Centralised versus decentralised signal control of large-scale urban road networks in real time: a simulation study

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Recently, signal control strategies with decentralised logic have been developed to tackle the traffic congestion problems of urban road networks. Such strategies aim at network-wide traffic flow efficiency improvement via local actions, thus low design effort and infrastructure investment. This study presents, compares, and evaluates two such innovative approaches: the job scheduling algorithm comprising the local control component of the scalable urban traffic control (SURTRAC) system and the max- or back-pressure algorithm. The approaches are also compared against traffic-responsive urban control (TUC), a well-established strategy with centralised logic. Evaluation is based on the AIMSUN simulation model of the city centre of Chania, Greece. The study results indicate that the TUC and max-pressure retain performance independently of the prevailing traffic conditions, while also being computationally simpler than job scheduling. Both decentralised approaches require frequent (high-resolution) and relatively accurate measurements; on the other hand, TUC, although less demanding in this respect, calls for communication lines between the junction controllers and the central computer. Finally, compared with both decentralised approaches, the TUC provides a signal plan sequence with less excessive differences between each other, thus fewer disturbances to the common network users. Nevertheless, for more comprehensive conclusions, more investigations, including field trials, would be needed.

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