Mitigating Automobile Congestion Through Urban Traffic Signal Control

Gerardo Lafferriere, Portland State University

This is a summary of TREC research project NITC-RR-1165, which can be found online at:

Final Report NITC-RR-1165 can be found at:


We introduce a model for traffic signal management based on network consensus control principles. The underlying principle in a consensus approach is that traffic signal cycles are adjusted in a distributed way so as to achieve desirable ratios of queue lengths throughout the street network. This approach tends to reduce traffic congestion due to queue saturation at any particular city block and it appears less susceptible to congestion due to unexpected traffic loads on the street grid. We developed simulation tools based on the MATLAB computing environment to analyze the use of the mathematical consensus approach to manage the signal control on an urban street network.