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Mixed Manual/Semi-Automated Traffic: A Macroscopic Analysis

  • Author(s): Bose, Arnab
  • Ioannou, Petros
  • et al.
Abstract

The use of advanced technologies and intelligence in vehicles and infrastructure could make the current highway transportation system much more efficient. Semi-automated vehicles with the capability of automatically following a vehicle in front as long as it is in the same lane and in the vicinity of the forward looking ranging sensor are expected to be deployed in the near future. Their penetration into the current manual traffic will give rise to mixed manual/semi-automated traffic. In this paper, we analyze the fundamental flow-density curve for mixed traffic using flow-density curves for 100% manual and 100% semi-automated traffic. Assuming that semi-automated vehicles use a time headway smaller than today's manual traffic average due to the use of sensors and actuators, we have shown using the flow-density diagram that the traffic flow rate will increase in mixed traffic. We have also shown that the flow-density curve for mixed traffic is restricted between the flow-density curves for 100% manual and 100% semi-automated traffic. We have presented in a graphical way that the presence of semi-automated vehicles in mixed traffic propagates a shock wave faster than in manual traffic. We have demonstrated that the presence of semi-automated vehicles does not change the total travel time of vehicles in mixed traffic. Though we observed that with 50% semi-automated vehicles a vehicle travels 10.6% more distance than a vehicle in manual traffic for the same time horizon and starting at approximately the same position, this increase is marginal and is within the modeling error. Lastly, we have shown that when shock waves on the highway produce stop-and-go traffic, the average delay experienced by vehicles at standstill is lower in mixed traffic than in manual traffic, while the average number of vehicles at standstill remains unchanged.

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