Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Civil Engineering

Committee Member

Dr. Wayne A. Sarasua, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Jennifer H. Ogle

Committee Member

Dr. Mashrur Chowdhury


The campus of Clemson University hosts numerous planned special events every year. The largest seasonal events are the home football games played at Clemson Memorial Stadium. These football games attract crowds in excess of 80,000 fans, most of whom arrive by private vehicle. Trying to maneuver traffic for 80,000 people into one venue is a daunting task in itself. However, trying to maneuver it through a local transportation system designed for a campus with approximately 20,000 students and a city that has approximately 12,000 permanent residents can be a nightmare for state and local traffic enforcement officials. One of the major traffic issues that needs to be addressed during home games is oversaturated intersections. Traffic officers typically manage right-of-way at major intersections either entirely or through push button override of traffic signals. The primary goal of the traffic officer is to try move traffic as efficiently as possible so that queues do not back up excessively causing added congestion at upstream intersections. The change of right-of-way is based entirely on the judgment of the officer. Because the queues at some intersections can back up as much as a mile, providing necessary right-of-way to alleviate the queues can cause cycle lengths to be extremely long. Studies have shown that there are diminishing returns on capacity in intersection operations as cycle lengths grow. This research focuses on evaluating how well traffic officers optimize intersection operations in heavily oversaturated conditions. Traffic data, including volumes, queues, and right-of-way times, was collected before and after four football games during the 2014 and 2015 season. The actual count volumes were adjusted to account for queues and input into SYNCHRO along with actual right-of-way timings provided by the traffic officers. The analysis compares the field observed splits and cycle lengths with optimized splits and cycle lengths attained from SYNCHRO which tries to minimize overall delay. Push button-operated signals are also evaluated. A VISSIM model was created for both manual control and optimized control scenarios to find average delays for each approach. Both SYNCHRO and VISSIM were used for the analysis part of this research. The findings of this research are, Officers are using extremely long cycle lengths in severely oversaturated conditions, and this is resulting in increased delays. When intersections are significantly oversaturated, officers tend to misjudge how long vehicles are in a queue, which leads to some approaches receiving significantly more delay than others.



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