Improving safety and mobility at high-speed intersections with innovations in sensor technology

Anuj Sharma, Darcy M. Bullock, Senem Velipasalar, Mauricio Casares, Jacob Schmitz, Nathaniel Burnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


A series of innovations has been made in the vehicle sensors field. Technologies such as IntelliDrive and radar-based smart sensors make it possible to track each vehicle in proximity to an intersection. However, current technologies have limitations, such as lack of robustness, accuracy, or level of penetration. This paper assumes an accurate wide-area detector (WAD), which might be soon available, and highlights the potential benefits that might be derived in safety and efficiency of operations at high-speed intersections from the deployment of the WAD. Two critical areas in which wide-area detection can lead to significant improvements are discussed: (a) location of crash risk on onset of yellow and (b) location of vehicles on onset of yellow. A case study was conducted at an instrumented intersection in Noblesville, Indiana, to estimate potential improvement from the use of an ideally operating WAD and green extension logic for signal control. Findings revealed that the replacement of the single loop detector sensor with a WAD sensor would lead to an additional 1.4 vehicles being served per lane on the cross street per unit vehicle provided with dilemma zone protection on the highspeed approach. Results also showed that speed traps should be used only after accounting for the trade-off between safety and efficiency and the traffic control logic. When speed traps were designed with generic dilemma zone boundaries at the Noblesville site, the dilemma zone protection was provided only 57% of the time because vehicles accelerated or decelerated after passing the speed trap.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-263
Number of pages11
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number2259
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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