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Optimal Planning for Traffic Signal Alternative Power Sources in Signal Network
Transportation Research Record (2014)
  • Mo Zhao, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Anuj Sharma, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Dark signals and flash operation during traffic signal malfunction can degrade the efficiency and safety at an intersection warranting a signalized control. Alternative power sources, such as an uninterruptable power supply system, can provide power protection as well as power back-up to the traffic control systems. The policy makers, with limited budgets and unlimited demands, need a tool to choose signalized intersections that can be provided with backup power. They also need to decide the battery capacity at these intersections. At present, there exists no such tool that can help to make an optimal choice for capacity and installation of battery backup systems. This paper aims to estimate the economic impacts of traffic signal malfunction, and develop a decision support tool to optimize the investment plan of backup power. The methodology to estimate the benefits and costs of installing alternative power sources on urban arterials are presented and demonstrated by a case study conducted in Nebraska. The alternative power systems studied in the case study includes a wind turbine and several solar panels mounted on existing traffic poles, and a battery bank. Benefit-cost ratio is considered as decision making criteria. The benefits of the alternative power are stated as user benefits, non-user benefits and others. The primary benefit will be improving traffic network reliability. The renewable sources, if harnessed, would add advantages of cleaner energy and sale of excess production. The costs include initial investment, and operation and maintenance cost. The decision support problem can be solved using a discrete optimization model, which will identify the best installation intersections and the design combinations for each identified site. The solution will maximize the benefit-cost ratio under budget constraints. The proposed model can also be used to evaluate whether the project would warrant the return of investment and prioritize potential project sites. It can help to build safe and efficient transportation infrastructures, as well as promote renewable energy in transportation sector.
  • alternative power,
  • UPS,
  • traffic control,
  • benefit-cost analysis
Publication Date
Citation Information
Mo Zhao and Anuj Sharma. "Optimal Planning for Traffic Signal Alternative Power Sources in Signal Network" Transportation Research Record Vol. 2438 (2014)
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