Sensitivity Analysis to Define Guidelines for Predictive Control Design

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Signalized traffic control is important in traffic management to reduce congestion in urban areas. With recent technological developments, more data have become available to the controllers and advanced state estimation and prediction methods have been developed that use these data. To fully benefit from these techniques in the design of signalized traffic controllers, it is important to look at the quality of the estimated and predicted input quantities in relation to the performance of the controllers. Therefore, in this paper, a general framework for sensitivity analysis is proposed, to analyze the effect of erroneous input quantities on the performance of different types of signalized traffic control. The framework is illustrated for predictive control with different adaptivity levels. Experimental relations between the performance of the control system and the prediction horizon are obtained for perfect and erroneous predictions. The results show that prediction improves the performance of a signalized traffic controller, even in most of the cases with erroneous input data. Moreover, controllers with high adaptivity seem to outperform controllers with low adaptivity, under both perfect and erroneous predictions. The outcome of the sensitivity analysis contributes to understanding the relations between information quality and performance of signalized traffic control. In the design phase of a controller, this insight can be used to make choices on the length of the prediction horizon, the level of adaptivity of the controller, the representativeness of the objective of the control system, and the input quantities that need to be estimated and predicted the most accurately.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-398
Number of pages14
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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