Signal Timing Optimization for Corridors with Multiple Highway-Rail Grade Crossings Using Genetic Algorithm

Yifeng Chen, Laurence R. Rilett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Safety and efficiency are two critical issues at highway-rail grade crossings (HRGCs) and their nearby intersections. Standard traffic signal optimization programs are not designed to work on roadway networks that contain multiple HRGCs, because their underlying assumption is that the roadway traffic is in a steady-state. During a train event, steady-state conditions do not occur. This is particularly true for corridors that experience high train traffic (e.g., over 2 trains per hour). In this situation, the non-steady-state conditions predominate. This paper develops a simulation-based methodology for optimizing traffic signal timing plan on corridors of this kind. The primary goal is to maximize safety, and the secondary goal is to minimize delay. A Genetic Algorithm (GA) was used as the optimization approach in the proposed methodology. A new transition preemption strategy for dual tracks (TPS-DT) and a train arrival prediction model were integrated in the proposed methodology. An urban road network with multiple HRGCs in Lincoln, NE, was used as the study network. The microsimulation model VISSIM was used for evaluation purposes and was calibrated to local traffic conditions. A sensitivity analysis with different train traffic scenarios was conducted. It was concluded that the methodology can significantly improve both the safety and efficiency of traffic corridors with HRGCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9610430
JournalJournal of Advanced Transportation
StatePublished - 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Automotive Engineering
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Strategy and Management


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