A Two-level Traffic Light Control Strategy for Preventing Incident-Based Urban Traffic Congestion

Liang Qi, Meng Chu Zhou, Wen Jing Luan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


This work designs a two-level strategy at signalized intersections for preventing incident-based urban traffic congestion by adopting additional traffic warning lights. The first-level one is a ban signal strategy that is used to stop the traffic flow driving toward some directions, and the second-level one is a warning signal strategy that gives traffic flow a recommendation of not driving to some directions. As a visual and mathematical formalism for modeling discrete-event dynamic systems, timed Petri nets are utilized to describe the cooperation between traffic lights and warning lights, and then verify their correctness. A two-way rectangular grid network is modeled via a cell transmission model. The effectiveness of the proposed two-level strategy is evaluated through simulations in the grid network. The results reveal the influences of some major parameters, such as the route-changing rates of vehicles, operation time interval of the proposed strategy, and traffic density of the traffic network on a congestion dissipation process. The results can be used to improve the state of the art in preventing urban road traffic congestion caused by incidents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7802596
Pages (from-to)13-24
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Automotive Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


  • Timed Petri net (TPN)
  • cell transmission model (CTM)
  • congestion formation and dissipation
  • discrete event system
  • emergency strategy
  • traffic incident
  • traffic light control


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