Minimizing Energy Consumption from Connected Signalized Intersections by Reinforcement Learning

Stanley Young, S. M. A. Bin Al Islam, H. Abdul Aziz, Hong Wang

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

10 Scopus Citations


Explicit energy minimization objectives are often discouraged in signal optimization algorithms due to its negative impact on mobility performance. One potential direction to solve this problem is to provide a balanced objective function to achieve desired mobility with minimized energy consumption. This research developed a reinforcement learning (RL) based control with reward functions considering energy and mobility in a joint manner-a penalty function is introduced for number of stops. Further, we proposed a clustering-based technique to make the state-space finite which is critical for a tractable implementation of the RL algorithm. We implemented the algorithm in a calibrated NG-SIM network within a traffic micro-simulator-PTV VISSIM. With sole focus on energy, we report 47% reduction in energy consumption when compared with existing signal control schemes, however causing a 65.6% increase in system travel time. In contrast, the control strategy focusing on energy minimization with penalty for stops yields 6.7% reduction in energy consumption with 27% increase in system travel time. The developed RL algorithm with a flexible penalty function in the reward will achieve desired energy goals for a network of signalized intersections without compromising on the mobility performance. Disclaimer: This manuscript has been authored by UT-Battelle, LLC under Contract No. DE-AC05-00OR22725 with the U.S. Department of Energy. The United States Government retains and the publisher, by accepting the article for publication, acknowledges that the United States Government retains a non-exclusive, paid-up, irrevocable, world-wide license to publish or reproduce the published form of this manuscript, or allow others to do so, for United States Government purposes. The Department of Energy will provide public access to these results of federally sponsored research in accordance with the DOE Public Access Plan (

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 7 Dec 2018
Event21st IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Transportation Systems, ITSC 2018 - Maui, United States
Duration: 4 Nov 20187 Nov 2018


Conference21st IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Transportation Systems, ITSC 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 IEEE.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5400-73257


  • connected vehicles
  • energy minimization
  • fuel consumption
  • Reinforcement learning
  • traffic state observability


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