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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 573171, 17 pages
Research Article

Traffic Congestion Evaluation and Signal Control Optimization Based on Wireless Sensor Networks: Model and Algorithms

School of Computer Science and Technology, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian 116023, China

Received 15 June 2012; Accepted 14 November 2012

Academic Editor: Geert Wets

Copyright © 2012 Wei Zhang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper presents the model and algorithms for traffic flow data monitoring and optimal traffic light control based on wireless sensor networks. Given the scenario that sensor nodes are sparsely deployed along the segments between signalized intersections, an analytical model is built using continuum traffic equation and develops the method to estimate traffic parameter with the scattered sensor data. Based on the traffic data and principle of traffic congestion formation, we introduce the congestion factor which can be used to evaluate the real-time traffic congestion status along the segment and to predict the subcritical state of traffic jams. The result is expected to support the timing phase optimization of traffic light control for the purpose of avoiding traffic congestion before its formation. We simulate the traffic monitoring based on the Mobile Century dataset and analyze the performance of traffic light control on VISSIM platform when congestion factor is introduced into the signal timing optimization model. The simulation result shows that this method can improve the spatial-temporal resolution of traffic data monitoring and evaluate traffic congestion status with high precision. It is helpful to remarkably alleviate urban traffic congestion and decrease the average traffic delays and maximum queue length.