An application of shock wave theory to traffic signal control

Panos G. Michalopoulos, Gregory Stephanopoulos, George Stephanopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Scopus citations


A real time control policy minimizing total intersection delays subject to queue length constraints at an isolated signalized intersection is developed in this paper. The policy is derived from a new traffic model which describes the simultaneous evolution of queue lengths of two conflicting traffic streams, controlled by a traffic light, in both time and space. The model is based on the examination of shock waves generated upstream of the stop lines by the intermittent service of traffic at the signal. The proposed policy was tested against the existing pre-timed control policy at a high volume intersection and it was found superior, especially when demands increase well above the saturation level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-51
Number of pages17
JournalTransportation Research Part B
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1981
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation

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