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Volume-Occupancy-Based Actuated Signal Control System: Design and Implementation to Diamond Interchanges in Houston


This paper presents a new volume-occupancy-based actuated signal control system for a diamond interchange, where a two-way arterial street intersects two one-way streets on each side of a freeway, aiming to approximately capture vehicle platoons and thus to improve the traffic by adaptively adjusting the plan. As a sponsored project aiming at immediate implementation, this system had to be designed based on conventional loop detectors and Econolite ASC/3-2100 Controller, which are currently used by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Loop detectors placed in the pavement at each approach were used to collect real-time traffic volume and occupancy every 1 min. These data were then aggregated into 15-min flow and 15-min average occupancy, used in the proposed control logic to help vehicle platoons more smoothly passing through a diamond interchange. Based on onsite observations and data from loop detectors, it shows that the proposed system works well when the traffic flow is higher than 400 veh/h/ln. For arterial roads in the morning peak hours, the occupancy can be reduced by over 10% with a similar or even higher flow rate. The findings exhibit a low-cost method to improve traffic flow at a diamond interchange by using widely used conventional loop detectors.

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Availability of data and material

The real-traffic data used in this paper were collected by TxDOT Houston District Office for use in this project. The data are not shared publicly.

Code availability

PTV VISSIM was used in this project. This software has been licensed to Lamar University since 2013. The codes of data cleaning were prepared in PgSQL.


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This research was sponsored by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) (Project no. 5-6920). The authors would like to appreciate Darrin Jensen, the Project Manager, for his great support and coordination of this project. The authors resume sole responsibilities for the content expressed. The authors also would like to thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions.


This research was sponsored by TxDOT (Project NO. 5-6920).

Author information




XW is the principal investigator (PI) of this project. He organized the whole research team, provided the research direction, developed the programming of data cleaning, and drafted this paper; BA conducted the modelling set-up, simulation, and data analysis; SC collected all traffic data; HY and SS analyzed the data to set up the travel demand matrices, which was used in traffic simulation; and UR helped cleaned the data.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Xing Wu.

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To the best knowledge of the authors, no conflict of interest is found in this paper.

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This paper does not have any human or animal subjects involved. The involved research is NOT sensitive or classified.

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Wu, X., Adhikari, B., Chiu, S. et al. Volume-Occupancy-Based Actuated Signal Control System: Design and Implementation to Diamond Interchanges in Houston. Int J Civ Eng (2021).

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  • Actuated signal control system
  • Diamond interchanges
  • Arterial road
  • Implementation