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Date of Award
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Since its peak in 1950, the City of Detroit has lost over a million people, nearly two
thirds of its population. Unfortunately, its transportation infrastructure has not adapted.
In 2013, Detroit had over 1500 traffic signals, many more than is necessary for a city of
700,000. Signals, once installed, are often incredibly politically difficult to remove when
they are no longer operationally needed, resulting in unnecessary expenses with the
maintenance of these signals; in the case of a city like Detroit, these expenses can be
sizeable. Thus, a methodology to objectively evaluate the removal of these unneeded
signals is beneficial for a depopulating city, like Detroit, to more efficiently operate its
Unfortunately, in an existing urban area, it may not be practical to remove signals
and replace them with traditional unsignalized intersections due to sight distance
restraints. It may also not be practical to rebuild such intersections due to right‐of‐way
restrictions and acquisition cost. There are alternate intersection geometries that have
typically been used at signalized intersections that may be used for unsignalized ones to
allow the removal of these unneeded signals. This research tests a mathematical model
that allows for the analysis of such a conversion that consists of two parts: a net benefit
value analysis, consisting of the benefits provided of such a conversion to travel time,
delay, maintenance and operation, runoff, and stopping versus the difference in
construction costs between the unsignalized geometry and replacement of the signal; a
pedestrian accessibility analysis, a mathematical modeling of the ability of pedestrians to
cross without signals.
Seventeen potential locations along the East Jefferson corridor were analyzed
using this model, with each location having unique proposed unsignalized geometries. For
each location, two different scenarios were tested: a “worst case”, where traffic volumes
do not change from the signalized condition, and a “best case”, where some traffic is
diverted due to the changed geometrics as determined by the California Diversion
Equation. Because of the uniqueness of each proposed design, this method is easily
applicable to any location and could be a useful tool for any transportation practitioner to
Schrader, Michael Howard, "A Model To Evaluate Various Unsignalized Intersection Geometries And Operations For Identification Of Possible Locations To Use In Lieu Of A Traditional Signalized Intersection" (2018). Wayne State University Dissertations. 2065.