Effects of winter weather on traffic operations and optimization of signalized intersections

Benefit Summary HTML

This research focuses on measuring how traffic can affect signal related traffic parameters and exploring how to modify pre-timed signal control under adverse weather conditions.


A field study found that saturation flow rates were 17 percent and 25 percent lower on slushy and snowy road surface than on normal road surface, respectively. Also, the study showed that road surface condition had limited impacts on start-up lost time. Free flow speed is 16.9 percent lower on slushy surface than on dry surface and it is 23.3 percent lower on snowy surface than on dry surface. Using these results as inputs, the research team developed weather-specific signal plans with aid of Synchro for one uncoordinated intersection and one coordinated corridor for adverse weather conditions. Inter-green time, cycle length, green split, and offsets were adjusted accordingly.

Subsequently, these plans were evaluated using both Synchro and VISSIM. The general patterns in terms of the benefits achieved by implementing weather-specific plans found in the VISSIM results agree to those found in the Synchro results. Total network delay in one hour, which is the expected sum of delays experienced by all vehicles traveling within the network (the coordinated corridor) in one hour, was used to quantify the overall traffic performance.

Source Publication Date
Lu, Zhengyang; Tae J. Kwon; and Liping Fu
Journal of Traffic and Transportation Engineering
Other Reference Number
Vol 6 (2), pp 96-208