Optimizing multi-agent based urban traffic signal control system

Mingtao Xu, Kun An, Hai Le Vu, Zhirui Ye, Jiaxiao Feng, Enhui Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Agent-based approach is a popular tool for modelling and developing large-scale distributed systems such as urban traffic control system with dynamic traffic flows. This study proposes a multi-agent-based approach to optimize urban traffic network signal control, which utilizes a mathematical programming method to optimize the signal timing plans at intersections. To improve the overall network efficiency, we develop an online agent-based signal coordination scheme, underpinned by the communication among different intersection control agents. In addition, the initial coordination scheme that pre-adjusts the offsets between the intersections is developed based on the historical demand information. Comparison and sensitivity analysis are conducted to evaluate the performance of the proposed method on a customized traffic simulation platform using MATLAB and VISSIM. Simulation results indicate that the proposed method can effectively avoid network oversaturation and thus reduces average travel delay and improves average vehicle speed, as compared to rule-based multi-agent signal control methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-369
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Intelligent Transportation Systems: technology, planning, and operations
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • mathematical programming
  • multi-agent system
  • signal control
  • traffic network

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