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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Design, Field Implementation and Evaluation of Adaptive Ramp Metering Algorithms

  • Author(s): Horowitz, Roberto;
  • May, Adolf;
  • Skabardonis, Alex;
  • Varaiya, Pravin;
  • Zhang, Michael;
  • Gomes, Gabriel;
  • Munoz, Laura;
  • Sun, Xiaotian;
  • Sun, Dengfeng
  • et al.

The main objectives of Task Order 4136 are (1) the design of improved freeway on-ramp metering strategies that make use of recent developments in traffic data collection, traffic simulation, and control theory, and (2) the testing of these methods on a 14-mile segment of Interstate 210 Westbound in southern California. To date, the major accomplishments of this project include (i) the development of a complete procedure for constructing and calibrating a microscopic freeway traffic model using the Vissim microsimulator, which was applied successfully to the full I-210 test site, (ii) a simulation study, using the calibrated Vissim I-210 model, comparing the fixed-rate, Percent Occupancy, and Alinea local ramp metering schemes, which showed that Alinea can improve freeway conditions when mainline occupancies are measured upstream of the on-ramp (as on I-210 and most California freeways), as well as when occupancy sensors are downstream of the on-ramp, (iii) development of computationally efficient macroscopic freeway traffic models, the Modified Cell Transmission Model (MCTM) and Switching-Mode Model (SMM), validation of these models on a 2-mile segment of I-210, and determination of observability and controllability properties of the SMM modes, (iv) design of a semi-automated method for calibrating the parameters of the MCTM and SMM, which, when applied to an MCTM representation of the full I-210 segment, was able to reproduce the approximate behavior of traffic congestion, yielding about 2% average error in the predicted Total Travel Time (TTT), and (v) development of a new technique for generating optimal coordinated ramp metering plans, which minimizes a TTT-like objective function. Simulation results for a macroscopic model of the 14-mile I-210 segment have shown that the optimal plan predicts an 8.4% savings in TTT, with queue constraints, over the 5-hour peak period.

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