Real-time estimation of lane-based queue lengths at isolated signalized junctions

Seunghyeon Lee, S. C. Wong, Y. C. Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


In this study, we develop a real-time estimation approach for lane-based queue lengths. Our aim is to determine the numbers of queued vehicles in each lane, based on detector information at isolated signalized junctions. The challenges involved in this task are to identify whether there is a residual queue at the start time of each cycle and to determine the proportions of lane-to-lane traffic volumes in each lane. Discriminant models are developed based on time occupancy rates and impulse memories, as calculated by the detector and signal information from a set of upstream and downstream detectors. To determine the proportions of total traffic volume in each lane, the downstream arrivals for each cycle are estimated by using the Kalman filter, which is based on upstream arrivals and downstream discharges collected during the previous cycle. Both the computer simulations and the case study of real-world traffic show that the proposed method is robust and accurate for the estimation of lane-based queue lengths in real time under a wide range of traffic conditions. Calibrated discriminant models play a significant role in determining whether there are residual queued vehicles in each lane at the start time of each cycle. In addition, downstream arrivals estimated by the Kalman filter enhance the accuracy of the estimates by minimizing any error terms caused by lane-changing behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalTransportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2015


  • Conservation equation
  • Discriminant model
  • Isolated signalized junction
  • Kalman filter
  • Queue-length estimation


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