An MDP decomposition approach for traffic control at isolated signalized interactions

R. Haijema, J. Wal, van der

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


This article presents a novel approach for the dynamic control of a signalized intersection. At the intersection, there is a number of arrival flows of cars, each having a single queue (lane). The set of all flows is partitioned into disjoint combinations of nonconflicting flows that will receive green together. The dynamic control of the traffic lights is based on the numbers of cars waiting in the queues. The problem concerning when to switch (and which combination to serve next) is modeled as a Markovian decision process in discrete time. For large intersections (i.e., intersections with a large number of flows), the number of states becomes tremendously large, prohibiting straightforward optimization using value iteration or policy iteration. Starting from an optimal (or nearly optimal) fixed-cycle strategy, a one-step policy improvement is proposed that is easy to compute and is shown to give a close to optimal strategy for the dynamic problem.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-602
JournalProbability in the Engineering and Informational Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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