Distributed mutual exclusion algorithms for intersection traffic control

Weigang Wu, Jiebin Zhang, Aoxue Luo, Jiannong Cao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

99 Citations (Scopus)


Traffic control at intersections is a key issue and hot research topic in intelligent transportation systems. Existing approaches, including traffic light scheduling and trajectory maneuver, are either inaccurate and inflexible or complicated and costly. More importantly, due to the dynamics of traffic, it is really difficult to obtain the optimal solution in a real-time way. Inspired by the emergence of vehicular ad hoc network, we propose a novel approach to traffic control at intersections. Via vehicle to vehicle or vehicle to infrastructure communications, vehicles can compete for the privilege of passing the intersection, i.e., traffic is controlled via coordination among vehicles. Such an approach is flexible and efficient. To realize the coordination among vehicles, we first model the problem as a new variant of the classic mutual exclusion problem, and then design algorithms to solve new problem. Both centralized and distributed algorithms are. We conduct extensive simulations to evaluate the performance of our proposed algorithms. The results show that, our approach is efficient and outperforms a reference algorithm based on optimal traffic light scheduling. Moreover, our approach does not rely on traffic light or intersection controller facilities, which makes it flexible and applicable to various kinds of intersections.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6747396
Pages (from-to)65-74
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • distributed algorithm
  • intelligent transportation system
  • intersection traffic control
  • Mutual exclusion
  • vehicular ad hoc network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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