MSc Thesis Proposal

Multi-agent multi-class traffic flow control

Mentors: Ronald van Katwijk, Rudy Negenborn, Bart De Schutter

Keywords: traffic control, optimization, multi-agent

On the short-term dynamic traffic control is the most viable option to address traffic congestion problems. In this project we will study a distributed control set-up where local controllers (called agents) optimize the traffic control strategy for their own area (which could be a single intersection, a number of intersections, a part of the urban network, an interface between the urban and motorway network, or an entire ringroad). The interactions between areas governed by different autonomous agents have to be considered in order to avoid that the system consists of a collection of locally optimized processes, instead of a network-wide optimal situation. Since the control actions of one agent may have negative effects on the traffic situations controlled by other agents, some form of coordination of their control actions is required. The study of this coordination problem is one of the main subjects of this subproject. Coordination can be effectuated by communication and negotiation between the different autonomous agents, or by an hierarchical control approach, where coordination is done by a higher-level supervisory controller (see figure).

Hierarchical multi-agent
traffic control

Figure 1: A schematic representation of a hierarchical multi-agent traffic control framework.

The agent-based approach has several advantages compared to a centralized control set-up: distributed control is more flexible and robust to individual failures ( graceful degradation ); it has good scaling properties, can be extended more easily, and is also better suited for on-line real-time traffic control applications. The optimization of the interaction between urban and motorway networks (e.g., avoiding jams on highways due to clogging of urban arterials and off-ramps) is a focal point of this subproject. In addition, special attention is deferred to socially and economically important user-classes.

If you are interested in selecting this project as your MSc project, please come along or send us an email for more information.

This page is maintained by Bart De Schutter.