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Swapnil Manohar Shinde
Student, M.E. (Electronics),
Dept. of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering,
SRES Sanjivani College of Engineering, Kopargaon, Maharashtra, India.
{E-mail id: swapnil.shinde81@gmail.com}

ABSTRACT- Conventional traffic light control systems efficiency of road utilization, i.e., real-time traffic
are based on fixed time intervals of the traffic lights. These information systems are also equally important [1].
conventional fixed traffic light controllers have limitations and The techniques of sensing, processing and communication
are less efficient because they use a hardware, which when applied efficiently to the transportation sector can
functions according to the program that lacks the flexibility
bring many improvements to the present traffic light control
of modification and adaptation on a real time basis. Thus due
to the fixed time intervals of green and red signals there is systems.
excess and unnecessary waiting time on roads and vehicles The revolution in the automobile sector in the early 20th
consume more fuel. This eventually adds up to the century has led to a rapid increase in the number of vehicles
environmental pollution and creates several health issues on roads. The available road network and conventional
among the people on road and residing nearby. Also these traffic control systems prove to be inefficient in handling
conventional traffic light control systems do not have any the rapid increase in the traffic load [2]. Thus the traffic
provisions to provide any information on traffic densities on management systems pose many serious challenges in most
various roads, which leads to traffic congestions. Thus, to make of the urban cities out of which congestion, rise in
traffic light controlling and traffic regulation more efficient, we
pollution, excess waiting time on roads are some of the
exploit the emergence of new technique called as Adaptive
Traffic Light Control System (ATLCS). The proposed system most crucial problems. The controlling and monitoring of
makes the use of network of array of sensors for sensing the the urban traffic has become a major problem in many
traffic. On categorising this sensed traffic the timing intervals countries and with rapidly increasing road users the traffic
of red and green lights at each crossing of roads are monitoring authorities have to find new ways of
intelligently decided and varied so as to keep the waiting time overcoming these problems [4].
minimum. Thus, optimization of the traffic light switching The most widely used traffic control scheme is the
increases the road capacity, saves time for travelling and fixed-time traffic control system, but it cannot meet the
prevents traffic congestions. The system also aims at requirements of optimal waiting times on roads. Due to its
incorporating special provisions for making immediate way for
non-adaptive nature it easily causes traffic congestions
the emergency vehicles. GSM cell phone interface provides
traffic information to drivers on demand and also helps in when the traffic flow is uneven on the roads. Adaptive
efficiently regulating the traffic and alternate route taking traffic control becomes the essential way of solving
decisions. Efficiently regulated traffic also reduces pollution. problems that are brought by fixed-time control. Any real-
The performance of this proposed system is compared with the time adaptive or dynamic traffic control system needs to
conventional fixed time traffic light control system. The various correctly detect the traffic flow in real time and quickly and
performance evaluation parameters are efficient operation of efficiently respond to any changes in the current traffic
sensor assembly, time saved per cycle, signal switching situation. One way to improve traffic flow and safety of the
frequency, efficient emergency mode operation and the current transportation system is to apply automation and
satisfactory operation of SMS using GSM mobile. The
intelligent control methods to roadside infrastructure and
effectiveness of this system is shown and discussed in this
paper by means of simulation results and on-board display. vehicles [3]. The major drawbacks of current traffic light
Keywords: Adaptive Traffic Light Control System, control systems are as follows:
performance evaluation.
1. Tedious accumulation of traffic on roads
I. INTRODUCTION With increasing number of vehicles on the roads,
tedious accumulation of vehicles on roads takes place. As a
The efficiency of transportation systems has a result frequent traffic congestions occur and there is
direct effect on the transportation of raw materials, goods, increased waiting time on roads for people. This scenario
industrial equipments and products, machinery, manpower, mostly prevails during the morning time when majority of
the environment, travel time and energy consumption. The the people are heading towards their work places and at the
safety, efficiency and eco-friendliness of these evening times when they are heading back towards their
transportation systems is directly related to the health, well- homes. This issue can be solved by developing a program
being and lives of the people, as the transportation systems that will set time intervals as per the traffic on the roads.
form an important part of their day-to-day life. In parallel For more traffic the green light should be on for more time
with the effort to develop more efficient and environment and for less traffic the green light should be on for less
friendly vehicles, the design of systems that improve the time.

978-1-5090-4264-7/17/$31.00 ©2017 IEEE

2. Unnecessary and excess waiting time on roads in case of and various ways to deal with these problems. Some of these
variable traffic densities contributions are as mentioned below.
Present traffic control systems do not have any Yang and Recker have described a traffic light
provisions to make an estimate of the traffic loads. As a controller with a simple predictor [6]. The several possible
result for variable traffic densities these systems continue to settings for next cycle are test based on the measurements
work with their fixed timed nature and do not adapt as per done during the current cycle and the settings which result
the traffic load. Thus, the roads with minimum traffic loads in the least queue of vehicles is executed. This system
are also served with the same time durations as that of the seems to be highly adaptive as it only uses the data of one
roads with high traffic. Hence the people waiting on roads cycle. The system could not handle strong fluctuations in
with high traffic have to wait unnecessarily for that excess the traffic flow well. The system adapts quickly and results
amount of time when there is almost no vehicle on the road in a poor performance.
being served. This leads to wastage of time and thus Many methods [7-11] are used to detect traffic
increases the total travelling time. Moreover, traffic signals density using image processing. In [12], the Neural
at adjacent junctions should also be also necessarily networks approach has been proposed to control the traffic
synchronized [5]. lights to solve the traffic congestions. The Reinforcement
learning approach [13, 14] has been proposed for the traffic
3. No provisions for emergency vehicle clearance signal control systems.
Emergency vehicles like Ambulance, Fire Brigade W. Wen, Koushik Mandal, Arindam Sen,
and Police van are those high priority vehicles which play a Abhijnan Chakraborty, Siuli Roy [15, 16] have described
very important and a crucial role in life-saving and high another traffic management and emergency vehicle
security situations. With present traffic light control clearance systems using the RFID technology. The range of
systems these vehicles get easily caught into the traffic RFID stands as a major issue of concern while deploying the
congestions. system for traffic management. Also a metal sheet can easily
interfere and block the RFID reader or tag and thus puts an
4. No traffic information to users and lack of alternate upper hand on its use, as metallic structures of tall vehicles
route taking decision assistance can easily interfere and block the tags and readers.
Present traffic control systems do not have Chakkaphong Suthaputchakun, Zhili Sun and
provisions to provide any traffic related information to Mehrdad Dianati [17], have proposed another system for
users either through a broadcast scheme or on-demand on traffic management. This system displays the traffic light
the mobile phones. Thus in case of high traffic situations schedules in advance to all the drivers in their vehicles. This
and congestions more vehicles accumulate on the congested may cause a racing like scenario where every driver will
road and the problem becomes more severe. This leads to speed up the vehicle to meet the green light interval for easy
more waiting time and rise in pollution. If people get the passing. This may also cause accidents and can prove very
traffic information well in advance then they can easily fatal.
avoid high traffic and congested roads by taking an S. Swaminathan and R. Prasanna Venkatesan have
alternate route. have described an embedded system based traffic control
In the proposed Adaptive Traffic Light Control system based on the concept of priority [18]. The traffic
System (ATLCS), all these drawbacks of the present traffic densities on each road at a crossing are estimated and the
light control system are eliminated. This system has simple road with highest traffic is given priority (green signal) over
architecture, efficient control, GSM interface and fast the other roads. Thus the busy-roads are served maximum
response time. The main objective of this system is to number of time leading to excess and unnecessary waiting
design a program and implement hardware for real life time for vehicles on non-busy roads. This approach of
implementations for making a safe, efficient and reliable traffic management proves to be inefficient as there is no
traffic light control system. fair traffic management scheme.
This paper is organized in the following sections: From the above discussion, it is very clear that to
Section II briefs a literature survey on traffic controllers design a traffic light control system which can satisfy all
designed in the past. The proposed model of ATLCS is the necessary criteria simultaneously is a complex task.
discussed in the Section III along with its design, hardware Each of these proposed schemes has its own merits and
and operation. Section IV deals with the performance demerits. Taking into consideration the limitations of the
evaluation of the proposed system. Finally, the paper is above discussed systems there is still a scope to design a
concluded in Section V. better traffic light control system which will have an
improved performance and will work well in uneven traffic
II. LITERATURE SURVEY distribution scenarios. One such attempt to propose a new
way of traffic controlling based on traffic light re-timing
Managing the traffic has now become a severe and GSM has been made in this research work.
problem as the number of road users are increasingly rapidly
and the present traffic control systems are proving III. PROPOSED SYSTEM
inefficient in dealing with this problem. An efficient
approach to reduce waiting times on roads; save fuel and The overview, concept and operation of the proposed
money has now become the most important need of every Adaptive Traffic Light Control System (ATLCS) are shown
road users. In context to this problem many authors have put in Figure 1. The operation of ATLCS can be realized in two
forth limitations of the present traffic light control systems modes namely the Normal Mode and the Emergency Mode.

A. Normal Mode operation vehicle sends SMS of its arrival to the ATLC, along with
In the Figure 1, shown below the junctions are the name of the road through which it is approaching the
labelled with letters A to D. The Infrared sensor assembly Junction-A. On receiving this SMS the ATLC immediately
to detect the vehicles is mounted on the roads through activates the Emergency Mode; gives a Green Signal to the
which the vehicles approach the traffic lights. The presence South Road and sets Red signals to all other roads
or absence of the vehicles on each road is sensed by this approaching the Junction-A. During this emergency mode
sensor assembly. This sensing acts as an input to the the Green light is kept ON for the duration equal to the time
Adaptive Traffic Light Controller (ATLC) unit. These input for a High traffic condition. This gives enough time for the
signals indicate the length of vehicles on each road. The emergency vehicle to pass the Junction without being stuck
ATLC unit then categorizes the traffic on each road into into the traffic on that road. This is a very unique feature of
three broad categories namely Low, Medium and High. It this system which proves to be very efficient in emergency
then generates output signals for Red and Green Signals vehicle clearing, life-saving and high security situations.
and decides their timing intervals according to the traffic More the vehicles wait on the roads, more they
density prevailing on the respective roads. The green light contribute to increase the pollution; as most of the drivers
will remain ON for the shortest duration for a Low traffic do not turn off the engines of their vehicles. Thus to tackle
density condition, whereas will remain ON comparatively this problem of pollution there can be two different
for a longer duration while a Medium traffic density approaches:
prevails on that road. During a high traffic density 1. To make modifications into the engines of the vehicles,
condition the green light remains ON for duration longer so they pollute less.
than the Medium traffic condition. 2. To reduce the time for which the vehicles wait on the
It is worth mentioning that this system does not roads.
work on the concept of priority, where the road with Here we have dealt with the second approach
maximum traffic is always served first by giving a green through which the system intelligently regulates the traffic
light in every cycle of the traffic lights. This system serves with its adaptive nature, avoids heavy traffic congestions
all the roads in a round-robin fashion with adaptive signal and eventually, reduces the time for which the vehicles wait
timing intervals. Thus the system works on a fair basis for on the roads. This efficient traffic regulation directly
managing the traffic at the junction. This adaptive nature of reduces the time for which the vehicles exhaust, thus
the ATLCS eliminates the excess and unnecessary waiting reduces the pollution and proves to be eco-friendly.
time for the vehicles on all the four roads at the Junction. The Figure 2, shows the block schematic of the
This is an additive process as the same happens at every proposed ATLCS. The basic operation of this system can
Junction and the total travelling time is greatly reduced. be realized by using the embedded system. It has the
Suppose a driver at Junction-D wants to pass advantages of simplicity, user friendliness, easy
through Junction-A. If the driver sends SMS to the ATLCS programming and the facility for GSM mobile interface. In
unit and enquires about the traffic densities at Junction A, our proposed system the basic operations are implemented
then the ATLC will acquire the current traffic densities on using ARM LPC2138 microcontroller. The main reason for
all the four roads approaching the Junction-A in terms of selecting this microcontroller is its ease of programming,
Low, Medium and High; and will send it to the driver on fast operation, sufficient number of input-output ports for
his/her GSM phone. The driver when receives these road interfacing the sensor assembly and GSM module,
wise traffic densities on his/her GSM phone comes to know manageable size of RAM and ROM. Also this controller
about the high traffic situation at Junction-A. So he/she eliminates the need of multiplexers required for
now takes a known best possible alternate route and avoids communicating with the external signals, eliminates the
high traffic scenario. Thus saves total travelling time and need for additional RAM and ROM for storing system
fuel. This directly avoids tedious accumulation of vehicles program and application program, Relay Drivers. Thus with
and eliminates traffic congestions on roads. Due to complex the use of LPC2138 the block diagram of this system
distribution of the cities, various factors put an upper hand consists of a fewer hardware components namely the
on the infrastructural changes required to deal efficiently microcontroller, RS232 serial communication interface,
with the traffic problems. As the infrastructural changes are GSM interface and circuit for interfacing LEDs which act
always not feasible or possible so the technological as the traffic lights in the system.
improvements can solve the problem well efficiently. Thus, The signals from the sensor assembly will be
with this ATLCS the need for modifications in the present applied to input signal conditioning circuit. These input
infrastructures can be greatly reduced and the available signals from the sensors will be in the form of digital
infrastructure can be efficiently used. signals which correspond to the presence or absence of the
vehicles. These digital signals from each road will be given
B. Emergency Mode operation to the input ports of the microcontroller, where the
In this emergency mode, any emergency vehicle microcontroller will determine the traffic densities in terms
like ambulance, fire fighter or police car is served on- of Low, Medium and High at each road and set the timing
priority over other vehicles. For easy, fast and immediate intervals of green and red lights for the respective roads.
passing of the emergency vehicle, the signals are altered in This information to the input of microcontroller will
a way so that the emergency vehicle immediately gets a determine various timing signals. The on and off time of the
way to pass without being stopped. For instance as shown four signals will be calculated by microcontroller, in order
in the Figure 1, an emergency vehicle (ambulance) to keep the waiting time minimum. GSM cell phone
approaches from the South Road towards Junction-A. The interface is also provided for users who wish to know the

latest traffic densities on the roads, on his/her GSM mobile This LCD continuously shows the traffic densities per cycle
phone. Microcontroller will also exhibit the emergency of the traffic lights on each road, status of traffic densities
mode after receiving SMS from an emergency vehicle. One at a Junction enquiry SMS received from a GSM mobile
LCD display is interfaced with this prototype of the system. along with the sender’s mobile number, status of traffic
The LCD is mainly used to monitor whether all the densities sent to the mobile number through SMS and the
subsystems like sensor assembly, GSM module message emergency mode execution notification along with the road
reception-transmission and emergency mode execution are on which it takes place. In practice a good LED display can
working properly. be used for better resolution and quality.

Figure 1. Concept of Adaptive Traffic Light Control System

Figure 2. Block Schematic of Adaptive Traffic Light Control System

IV. PERFORMANCE EVALUATION Table 1. Time saved per cycle
NORTH SOUTH EAST WEST Time saved per cycle (sec)

The performance of this proposed system is MED MED LOW LOW 10

evaluated and analysed with the on-board display and HIGH LOW MED HIGH 6
simulation results for various parameters. The various
performance evaluation parameters are efficient operation of
sensor assembly, time saved per cycle, signal switching MED LOW MED HIGH 8

frequency, efficient emergency mode operation and the LOW MED LOW MED 12
satisfactory operation of SMS using GSM mobile. LOW MED LOW HIGH 10


A. Efficient operation of sensor assembly
The sensor assembly used to detect the presence or LOW MED MED LOW 12

absence of vehicles is an important part of this system, as MED LOW LOW LOW 14
the traffic density identification and traffic light re-timing LOW LOW LOW LOW 16
are totally based on the number of sensors giving input to
the microcontroller. This sensor assembly is thoroughly
tested by varying the traffic densities on all the four roads C. Signal switching frequency
approaching the Junction. The outputs on on-board display The system has been configured to record the per
and the simulation results have shown that the sensor cycle data of the traffic lights. The data being fed into this
assembly works well efficiently and the desired results are file contains detailed information regarding the road wise
obtained accurately, where the microcontroller is able to per cycle traffic density, the date on which the traffic data
accurately categorise the traffic into Low, Medium or High gets recorded and the time of the recording interval. The
on all the four roads. The simulation result based on the columns indicating the Time of signal switching for both the
number of sensors giving input to the microcontroller for a schemes in Table 2, show when the signals have switched.
single road is shown in the Figure 3. The signal switching frequency of proposed system is more
as compared to the conventional traffic light control system.
This is obvious because the ATLCS works on the inputs
from the sensor assembly which determines the vehicle
H- High queue length. So for variable traffic densities the signals
M- Medium
L- Low
switch accordingly and are used frequently. Thus the system
Traffic Density

proves to be a dynamic system.

• CTLCS- Conventional traffic light control system
• ATLCS- Adaptive traffic light control system

Table 2. Signal switching frequency


HIGH LOW MED HIGH 30-1-2017 1:01:00PM 12:59:54PM

MED MED LOW LOW 30-1-2017 1:01:24PM 1:01:12PM

MED MED LOW HIGH 30-1-2017 1:01:48PM 1:01:40PM

LOW MED LOW HIGH 30-1-2017 1:02:12PM 1:02:02PM

Figure 3. Simulation result for single road traffic density estimation
LOW MED LOW MED 30-1-2017 1:02:36PM 1:02:24PM
B. Time saved per cycle
MED HIGH LOW HIGH 30-1-2017 1:03:00PM 1:02:54PM
The conventional fixed time traffic light control
system does not have the flexibility to modify the timing LOW LOW LOW LOW 30-1-2017 1:03:24PM 1:03:08PM

intervals of green and red lights as per the variable traffic LOW MED LOW HIGH 30-1-2017 1:03:48PM 1:03:38PM
densities, thus it causes the vehicles to wait more at the MED HIGH LOW MED 30-1-2017 1:04:12PM 1:04:04PM
junctions. The proposed system eliminates this problem with
LOW HIGH LOW MED 30-1-2017 1:04:36PM 1:04:26PM
its adaptive nature and saves excess waiting time on the
roads. This scenario is simulated for a group of 40 vehicles HIGH MED LOW HIGH 30-1-2017 1:05:00PM 1:04:54PM
and analysed for conventional and Adaptive traffic light MED MED MED MED 30-1-2017 1:05:24PM 1:05:16PM
control systems. For evaluation purpose, a fixed time
HIGH MED LOW HIGH 30-1-2017 1:05:48PM 1:05:42PM
interval is assumed as the per cycle time for the
conventional traffic light control system, whereas the per LOW MED HIGH HIGH 30-1-2017 1:06:12PM 1:06:06PM

cycle time of the proposed system depends upon the road LOW MED LOW HIGH 30-1-2017 1:06:24PM 1:06:14PM
wise traffic densities. The difference between these values is
MED LOW MED HIGH 30-1-2017 1:06:48PM 1:06:40PM
the total time saved per cycle by the proposed system.
Table 1 shows the per cycle data for 10
consecutive cycles. The proposed system saves time up to a D. Efficient emergency mode operation
greater extent and reduces the total travelling time of the During the normal mode operation when the
vehicles. ATLCS received SMS from an emergency vehicle (Figure

4, 6, 8, 10), the system immediately activated the emergency
mode by giving a green signal to that particular road through
which the emergency vehicle approached the Junction and a
red signal to all other roads. The green light was also found Figure 9.
glowing for the duration equal to the duration for a high
traffic condition. This is also verified through the LCD
outputs (Figure 5, 7, 9, 11), where it displayed the
emergency mode activation alert along with the road for
which it took place. Here N, W, E and S refer to North,
West, East and South roads respectively.

Figure 10.

Figure 4.

Figure 11.

E. Operation of SMS using GSM mobile

Traffic density enquiry SMS have been sent to the
Figure 5. ATLCS and the system replied with SMS containing the
traffic densities on all the four roads. The LCD also
displayed the SMS received, SMS reading and SMS sent
Here S, N, E and W refer to South, North, East and West

Figure 6.

Figure 7.

Figure 12. SMS from the ATLCS to the driver showing the road wise traffic
densities at the junction.


Improvement of traffic regulation and control in the cities is

Figure 8.
mainly dependent on using intelligent systems for
monitoring and regulating the traffic. An efficient adaptive
traffic regulation system can be implemented by sensing the
traffic density on all the roads at a traffic light junction. It is
highly efficient in case of tedious accumulation of traffic.
The adaptive nature of this system proves to be very

efficient in dealing with the variable traffic densities on [15] W. Wen, “An intelligent traffic management expert system with RFID
technology”, Elsevier, Expert Systems with Applications, 2010, pp.
roads. Also by providing traffic density information to
drivers the traffic can be well managed. A regulated traffic [16] Koushik Mandal, Arindam Sen, Abhijnan Chakraborty, Siuli Roy,
avoids congestions and prevents accidents. With the use of Suvadip Batabyal, Somprakash and yopadhyay, “Road Traffic
GSM module emergency vehicles can be served Congestion Monitoring and Measurement using Active RFID and
GSM Technology”, 14th International IEEE Conference on Intelligent
immediately which is very important in security and life-
Transportation Systems Washington, DC, USA. October 5-7, 2011,
saving scenarios. With this system the excess and pp. 1375-1379.
unnecessary waiting time on the roads is reduced and thus [17] Chakkaphong Suthaputchakun, Zhili Sun and Mehrdad Dianati,
the total travelling time of vehicles is reduced. The system “Applications of Vehicular Communications for Reducing Fuel
Consumption and CO2 Emission: The State of the Art and Research
also reduces pollution along with reduction in fuel Challenges”, IEEE Communications Magazine, December 2012.
consumption and money. It is observed that the proposed [18] Swaminathan and R. Prasanna Venkatesan, “Embedded Traffic
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traffic light control system in respect to reduced waiting Journal of Scientific Research, 2014, pp. 225-227.
time on roads, more distance travelled by the vehicles and
provisions for emergency vehicle clearance. Moreover this
system is eco-friendly, has simple architecture, fast and
reliable operation and economically beneficial.


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