Effects of metered entry volume on an oversaturated network with dynamic signal timing

Juan C. Medina, Ali Hajbabaie, Rahim F. Benekohal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper analyzes the effects of different traffic metering levels at the entry points of a simulated signalized network to maintain efficient vehicle processing. Metering signals were placed along the network perimeter in advance of the bordering intersections to reduce the vehicle arrival rate and prevent oversaturation. In the simulation environment, traffic signals were externally controlled by independent agents using a learning algorithm based on approximate dynamic programming. Agents operated the signals in a cycle-free mode, reacting in real time to current demands and occupancy estimated from detectors placed at the entry and exit points of all links. The metering strategies were analyzed for delay, throughput, network congestion, and queue management. Results indicate that metering have a significant effect on network performance. Metering to levels just below the maximum throughput capacity of an intersection resulted in increased network throughput (up to 5%); reduced delay (up to 10.9%), including vehicles inside and those metered outside of the network; and queue lengths inside the network that allowed efficient use of green time. However, metering to points well below or above the capacity of an intersection did not always provide network improvements. This finding suggests that an optimal congestion level exists inside the network that can be achieved by a metering strategy. An analysis of the metering effects is presented in a case study, and field implementations and scenarios in which metering can be applied are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-60
Number of pages8
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number2356
StatePublished - 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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