Effects of winter weather on traffic operations and optimization of signalized intersections

Adverse winter weather has always been a cause of traffic congestion and road collisions. To mitigate the negative impacts of winter weather, transportation agencies are under increasing pressure to introduce weather responsive traffic management strategies. Currently, most traffic signal control systems are designed for normal weather conditions and are therefore suboptimal regarding efficiency and safety for controlling traffic during winter snow events due to changes in traffic patterns and driver behaviors. The main objective of this research is to explore how to modify pre-timed traffic signal control parameters under adverse weather conditions to increase traffic efficiency and road safety. This research consists of two main components. First, the authors examine the impacts of winter weather on three key traffic parameters, i.e., saturation flow rate, start-up lost time, and free flow speed. Secondly, the authors investigate the potential benefits of implementing weather-specific signal control plans for uncoordinated intersections as well as coordinated corridors. Two case studies are conducted, each with varying levels of traffic demand and winter event severity, to compare the performance of different signal plans. Evaluation results from both Synchro and VISSIM show that implementing such signal plans is most beneficial for intersection with a medium level of traffic demand. It is also found that the benefit of implementing weather-responsive plans was more compelling at a coordinated-corridor level than at an uncoordinated-intersection level.


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  • Accession Number: 01699447
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 7 2019 3:04PM