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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Design, Field Implementation and Evaluation of Adaptive Ramp Metering Algorithms


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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