Towards Implementation of Max-Pressure Signal Timing on Minnesota Roads

Status:  Complete
Report Date:  02/07/2023


Long lines and delays at traffic lights are frustrating and costly for everyone. Local agencies, including Hennepin County, search for ways to make traffic signals more adaptive to the real-time traffic to create a more efficient system and minimize delays. Max-pressure traffic signal control, a new signal timing method, has great promise. Some issues that would make implementation impractical, however, needed to be resolved before it can be tested. Max-pressure control detects entire vehicle queues waiting to cross and exit an intersection and uses a mathematically proven algorithm to maximize vehicles moving through to minimize delays. In its previous iteration, the system assumed there were separate turn lanes and the light phases did not have maximum wait times, which could result in drivers or pedestrians waiting long periods of time before crossing. Researchers modified the original model and simulated its performance using data and parameters from intersections in Hennepin County. The result was significantly reduced delays and more traffic moving through the intersections as compared to the current signal controls. Next steps are to test the max-pressure system with the county’s existing equipment to determine what is needed to deploy the traffic signals.

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