Document Type



Civil Engineering

First Advisor's Name

Fang Zhao

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Albert Gan

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

L. David Shen

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Lee-Fang Chow

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Mohammed Hadi

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


neural network, signal optimization, convergence, traffic assignment, control delay

Date of Defense



As traffic congestion continues to worsen in large urban areas, solutions are urgently sought. However, transportation planning models, which estimate traffic volumes on transportation network links, are often unable to realistically consider travel time delays at intersections. Introducing signal controls in models often result in significant and unstable changes in network attributes, which, in turn, leads to instability of models. Ignoring the effect of delays at intersections makes the model output inaccurate and unable to predict travel time. To represent traffic conditions in a network more accurately, planning models should be capable of arriving at a network solution based on travel costs that are consistent with the intersection delays due to signal controls. This research attempts to achieve this goal by optimizing signal controls and estimating intersection delays accordingly, which are then used in traffic assignment. Simultaneous optimization of traffic routing and signal controls has not been accomplished in real-world applications of traffic assignment. To this end, a delay model dealing with five major types of intersections has been developed using artificial neural networks (ANNs). An ANN architecture consists of interconnecting artificial neurons. The architecture may either be used to gain an understanding of biological neural networks, or for solving artificial intelligence problems without necessarily creating a model of a real biological system. The ANN delay model has been trained using extensive simulations based on TRANSYT-7F signal optimizations. The delay estimates by the ANN delay model have percentage root-mean-squared errors (%RMSE) that are less than 25.6%, which is satisfactory for planning purposes. Larger prediction errors are typically associated with severely oversaturated conditions. A combined system has also been developed that includes the artificial neural network (ANN) delay estimating model and a user-equilibrium (UE) traffic assignment model. The combined system employs the Frank-Wolfe method to achieve a convergent solution. Because the ANN delay model provides no derivatives of the delay function, a Mesh Adaptive Direct Search (MADS) method is applied to assist in and expedite the iterative process of the Frank-Wolfe method. The performance of the combined system confirms that the convergence of the solution is achieved, although the global optimum may not be guaranteed.





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