Performance-Based Operations Assessment of Adaptive Control Implementation in Des Moines, Iowa

Project Details







Federal Highway Administration State Planning and Research Funding
Iowa Department of Transportation
Midwest Transportation Center

Principal Investigator
Anuj Sharma

Research Scientist and Leader, REACTOR

Co-Principal Investigator
Skylar Knickerbocker

Research Engineer, REACTOR

Co-Principal Investigator
Ravi Nath

MTC Lead, Creighton University

Co-Principal Investigator
Neal Hawkins

Associate Director, InTrans

About the research

Maintaining optimal mobility on high-volume arterial traffic corridors is important to transportation agencies and the public. Corridor performance often can be enhanced by updating traffic signal timing, but most agencies find it necessary to prioritize their retiming efforts based on resource constraints. To facilitate prioritization, a set of arterial corridor performance measures was developed using INRIX probe vehicle data. These commercially available data are derived from in-vehicle global positioning system (GPS) observations transmitted wirelessly, eliminating the need for supplemental traffic observation infrastructure to be installed in the field.

The main objective of this study was to present a methodology to compare arterial corridors in terms of mobility-based performance measures. This process can help agencies select the corridors that are in need of signal retiming and can help identify corridors suited for adaptive signal control implementation. The two-step methodology began by identifying the number of days in a year with abnormal traffic patterns and comparing the volume-normalized performance of the remaining segments to identify corridors that are problematic on normal days.

The proposed methodology was applied to 12 corridors in Des Moines, Iowa, and 1 in Omaha, Nebraska. Three corridors were found to have a high number of anomalous days. Among the remaining corridors, three were identified as under-performing on normal days. In addition, the impact of implementing an adaptive signal control system on one corridor (University Avenue) was evaluated, where small improvements in travel rate and daily variation were observed, but the overall variability increased.