Self-Learning Intelligent Agents for Dynamic Traffic Routing on Transportation Networks
Associate Professor, College of Engineering and Mathematical
Department of Computer Science
Last modified: May 11, 2006
Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) are designed to take advantage of recent advances in communications, electronics, and Information Technology in improving the efficiency and safety of transportation systems. Among the several ITS applications is the notion of Dynamic Traffic Routing (DTR), which involves generating “optimal” routing recommendations to drivers with the aim of maximizing network utilizing. In this paper, we demonstrate the feasibility of using a self-learning intelligent agent to solve the DTR problem to achieve traffic user equilibrium in a transportation network. The core idea is to deploy an agent to a simulation model of a highway. The agent then learns by itself by interacting with the simulation model. Once the agent reaches a satisfactory level of performance, it can then be deployed to the real-world, where it would continue to learn how to refine its control policies over time. To test this concept in this paper, the Cell Transmission Model (CTM) developed by Carlos Daganzo of the University of California at Berkeley is used to simulate a simple highway with two main alternative routes. With the model developed, a Reinforcement Learning Agent (RLA) is developed to learn how to best dynamically route traffic, so as to maximize the utilization of existing capacity. Preliminary results obtained from our experiments are promising. RL, being an adaptive online learning technique, appears to have a great potential for controlling a stochastic dynamic systems such as a transportation system. Furthermore, the approach is highly scalable and applicable to a variety of networks and roadways.