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Control in urban traffic networks constitutes an important and challenging research topic nowadays. In the literature, a lot of work can be found devoted to improving the performance of the traffic flow in such systems, by means of controlling the red-to-green switching times of traffic signals. Different techniques have been proposed and commercially implemented, ranging from heuristic methods to model-based optimization. However, given the complexity of the dynamics and the scale of urban traffic networks, there is still a lot of scope for improvement. In this work, a new hybrid model for the traffic behavior at an intersection is introduced. It captures important aspects of the flow dynamics in urban networks. It is shown how this model can be used in order to obtain control strategies that improve the flow of traffic at intersections, leading to the future possibility of controlling several connected intersections in a distributed way.