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Smart Infrastructure for Future Urban Mobility

Date: 10/18/2017, 1:00 PM-2:00 PM EDT

Speaker: Stephen F. Smith, Ph.D., Professor of Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University and head of the Intelligent Coordination and Logistics Laboratory

Organization: The Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University; National University Transportation Center for Improving Mobility

OST-R Office: Office of Research, Development and Technology (RDT) 

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This talk will describe new real-time adaptive traffic signal control technology aimed specifically at reducing congestion and increasing mobility in urban road networks. Real-time traffic signal control is particularly challenging in urban environments where, unlike simpler arterial settings, there are competing dominant traffic flows that shift through the day. 

Urban environments also require attention to multi-modal traffic flows (vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, buses) that move at different speeds and with different priorities. Our work in this area has led to the development of the Surtrac (Scalable URban TRAffic Control) system. Surtrac treats traffic signal control as a decentralized online planning process. Every few seconds each intersection constructs and begins to execute a signal-timing plan that optimizes the movement of locally sensed traffic through the intersection.

Expected outflows from each intersection are communicated to its downstream neighbors to achieve coordinated behavior. Initial deployment of Surtrac in the East End of Pittsburgh has produced significant performance improvements and the technology is now starting to transition to other cities.

Current work with Surtrac focuses on using direct vehicle- (and pedestrian)-to-infrastructure communication to further enhance mobility, online analysis of traffic flow information for real-time incident detection, and integrated optimization of signal control and route choice decisions for vehicles receptive to receiving (re)routing guidance.


Photo of Dr. Stephen SmithDr. Stephen F. Smith is a Research Professor of Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University, where he heads the Intelligent Coordination and Logistics Laboratory.  Dr. Smith’s research focuses broadly on the theory and practice of next-generation technologies for automated planning, scheduling, and coordination.

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