Essa: Real-time safety & mobility optimization of traffic signals in a connected-vehicle environment

Guest speaker Dr. Mohamed Abdelhay Essa presented “Real-time Safety and Mobility Optimization of Traffic Signals in a Connected-vehicle Environment” on April 9, 2021 for the UT-ITE seminar series.

In his presentation, Dr. Essa discussed his research methodology and explained the significance of his findings. He summarized three main contributions toward improving safety and mobility of signalized intersections under the CVs environment:

  • A new real-time safety evaluation method;
  • A new procedure to integrate real-time safety models with traffic microsimulation; and
  • A new safety-oriented ATSC algorithm.

View Dr. Essa’s presentation file PDF, which includes part of his PhD research conducted between 2015 and 2020 at the Bureau of Intelligent Transportation Systems and Freight Security, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, under the supervision of Professor Tarek Sayed.

Dr. Essa welcomes any questions about his research and may be contacted by email at: Mohamed.Essa[at]


In the era of connected vehicles (CVs), a considerable amount of high-resolution data on vehicle positions and trajectories will be generated in real time. These data can potentially be used to adapt traffic signals in real time to optimize traffic mobility and safety.

Existing research has focused on real-time mobility optimization at signalized intersections, and disregarded the real-time safety optimization despite the potential safety benefits of the CVs technology. This is most likely due to the lack of tools to evaluate traffic safety at signalized intersections in real time.

This research presents several advances toward the real-time safety and mobility optimization of traffic signals in a connected-vehicle environment. New methods for the real-time safety evaluation of signalized intersections were proposed using real-world traffic data. Then, a novel adaptive signal control algorithm to optimize traffic safety using CVs data was developed using simulation models and artificial intelligence techniques.


head shot of Dr. Mohamed Essa

Dr. Mohamed Essa

Mohamed Essa is a Safety Engineering Specialist at the Transportation Systems and Road Safety Department, the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (BC MoTI).

Before joining the BC MoTI, Dr. Essa worked as a research assistant and transportation engineer at the Bureau of Intelligent Transportation Systems and Freight Security, the University of British Columbia (UBC). He participated in many road-safety projects in various cities in Canada, including Vancouver, Surrey, and Edmonton. He has co-authored more than 18 publications in top-tier transportation engineering journals.

Dr. Essa received his MSc and PhD degrees in civil engineering from UBC in 2015 and 2020. His primary research areas are road safety, collision prediction models, reliability analysis, traffic conflict techniques, surrogate safety measures, connected and autonomous vehicles, traffic simulation, adaptive traffic signal control systems, and real-time traffic management and optimization.

He has received several awards, including the Dr. Michel Van Aerde Memorial Scholarship from the Canadian Institute of Transportation Engineers, the Esch Foundation Scholarship from the Transportation Association of Canada, and the Four-Year Doctoral Fellowship from UBC.

© 2020 Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering