As one of the most important Active Traffic Management strategies, Adaptive Traffic Signal Control (ATSC) helps improve traffic operation of signalized arterials and urban roads by adjusting the signal timing to accommodate real-time traffic conditions. Recently, with the rapid development of artificial intelligence, many researchers have employed deep reinforcement learning (DRL) algorithms to develop ATSCs. However, most of them are not practice-ready. The reasons are two-fold: first, they are not developed based on real-world traffic dynamics and most of them require the complete information of the entire traffic system. Second, their impact on traffic safety is always a concern by researchers and practitioners but remains unclear. Aiming at making the DRL-based ATSC more implementable, existing traffic detection systems on arterials were reviewed and investigated to provide high-quality data feeds to ATSCs. Specifically, a machine-learning frameworks were developed to improve the quality of and pedestrian and bicyclist's count data. Then, to evaluate the effectiveness of DRL-based ATSC on the real-world traffic dynamics, a decentralized network-level ATSC using multi-agent DRL was developed and evaluated in a simulated real-world network. The evaluation results confirmed that the proposed ATSC outperforms the actuated traffic signals in the field in terms of travel time reduction. To address the potential safety issue of DRL based ATSC, an ATSC algorithm optimizing simultaneously both traffic efficiency and safety was proposed based on multi-objective DRL. The developed ATSC was tested in a simulated real-world intersection and it successfully improved traffic safety without deteriorating efficiency. In conclusion, the proposed ATSCs are capable of effectively controlling real-world traffic and benefiting both traffic efficiency and safety.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Engineering and Computer Science
Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Gong, Yaobang, "Improving Traffic Safety and Efficiency by Adaptive Signal Control Systems Based on Deep Reinforcement Learning" (2020). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 51.