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Efficient Traffic Control with Variable Speed Limits: Bridging the gap between Theory and Practical Implementation

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "ETC-VSL" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: STEVINWEG 1
city: DELFT
postcode: 2628 CN

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Netherlands [NL]
 Project website
 Total cost 165˙598 €
 EC max contribution 165˙598 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.3.2. (Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility)
 Code Call H2020-MSCA-IF-2015
 Funding Scheme MSCA-IF-EF-ST
 Starting year 2017
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2017-02-01   to  2019-01-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITEIT DELFT NL (DELFT) coordinator 165˙598.00


 Project objective

The main objective ETC-VSL, the proposed MSCA, is the design and testing of a control algorithm for Variable Speed Limits (VSL) that approaches the behavior of an optimal controller and can, at the same time, be applied in practice to large traffic networks. When designing this controller, it has to be taken into account in general that a linear or logic-based controller for VSL, which can performs properly for one particular kind of congestion, is not going to approach an optimal behavior for other kinds of congestion. In fact, all the previously proposed algorithms for VSL performs suboptimally or are difficult to implement in practice. Therefore, this proposal suggests the use of two control levels: In the upper level, a scheduling controller detects online the main kinds of congestion (recurrent congestions, shock waves and unexpected capacity reductions) and, in the lower level, a practically implementable controller for each kind of congestion is used. In order to achieve this objective, the proposal considers the following steps: Step 1: The design or selection of a triggering rule that estimates what kind of congestion the system is showing (if any). Step 2: The design or selection of a controller that works for each kind of congestion. Step 3: The collection of a loop detector data set from the SE-30 ring-road in Spain. Step 4: The testing and evaluation of the proposed algorithm in two freeways (SE-30 in Spain and A12 in The Netherlands) that show the main kinds of congestion allowing an objective evaluation of the designed VSL control algorithm and a comparison with previously proposed techniques. Step 5: The analysis of the economic and social improvements that can be obtained by the implementation of VSL applying a Benefit-Cost Analysis. Step 6: Dissemination of results and communication towards the technical and non-technical community in order to show the potential performance that can be achieved using the newly developed VSL control strategy.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2018 J.R.D.Frejo and B. De Shutter,
A Variable Speed Limit Controller for Recurrent Congestion Based on the Optimal Solution,
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
Proceedings of the 97th Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting (TRB) 2019-09-02
2019 Jose Ramon D. Frejo, Bart De Schutter
Feed-Forward ALINEA: A Ramp Metering Control Algorithm for Nearby and Distant Bottlenecks
published pages: 1-11, ISSN: 1524-9050, DOI: 10.1109/tits.2018.2866121
IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems Early Access 2019-09-02
2019 José Ramón D. Frejo, Ioannis Papamichail, Markos Papageorgiou, Bart De Schutter
Macroscopic modeling of variable speed limits on freeways
published pages: 15-33, ISSN: 0968-090X, DOI: 10.1016/j.trc.2019.01.001
Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies 100 2019-09-02
2019 Jose Ramon D. Frejo, Bart De Schutter
SPERT: A Speed Limit Strategy for Recurrent Traffic Jams
published pages: 692-703, ISSN: 1524-9050, DOI: 10.1109/tits.2018.2833628
IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems 20/2 2019-09-02
2018 J.R.D. Frejo, B. De Schutter
FF-ALINEA: A ramp metering control strategy for nearby and distant bottlenecks
published pages: 130, ISSN: , DOI:
2nd Symposium on Management of Future motorway and urban Traffic Systems (MFTS 2018) 2019-09-02
2018 Jose Ramon D. Frejo, Ioannis Papamichail, Markos Papageorgiou, Bart De Schutter
A new macroscopic model for Variable Speed Limits
published pages: 343-348, ISSN: 2405-8963, DOI: 10.1016/j.ifacol.2018.07.056
IFAC-PapersOnLine 51/9 2019-09-02

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