Reduction of traffic emissions using model predictive control

Staff Mentor: B. De Schutter (Bart)


Optimal and model predictive control


The increasing public awareness and the more stringent environmental policies regarding the emission of exhaust gases and particulate matter (in Dutch: ``fijn stof''), in combination with the ever increasing demand for transportation and the related traffic jams, have an increasing impact on the further evolution of our mobility. In order to get a sustainable transportation system these issues have to be addressed. In this project various traffic control measures (such as traffic signals, on-ramp metering, variable speed limits) will be used to obtain reductions in the emissions and fuel waste (e.g.,
due to idling vehicles), either in an entire region or in specific areas (e.g., in cities or in urban areas).

Currently, most of the traffic flow control measures are aimed at
maximizing throughput and minimizing travel times. However, we will use these measures also to minimize the environmental impact of the traffic. Examples of this are slowing down traffic via variable speed limits if the local particulate matter levels are reached, changing the location of recurring traffic jams (e.g., in industrial areas instead of residential areas by rerouting traffic), reducing fuel consumption (by providing smoother traffic flows with less stop-and-go movements), etc.


In this MSc project you will focus on developing a control strategy that can reduce the exhaust emissions. The task will be to design a Model Predictive Controller which predicts the evolution of the emission levels and the traffic flow and coordinates speed limit control and ramp metering to optimally control both emissions and traffic flow. We will first start to integrate the existing traffic and emission models to suit for the MPC control strategy. Then we will design an MPC controller for the integrated traffic and emission models. We will analyze the effects of different weightings of emissions and traffic flow with the designed controller. Finally we will select the most suitable weightings by comparing the gain in the reduction of emissions and the loss in the throughput of the traffic network.

Ramp metering (

© Copyright Delft Center for Systems and Control, Delft University of Technology, 2017.