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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Get More Out of Variable Speed Limit (VSL) Control: An Integrated Approach to Manage Traffic Corridors with Multiple Bottlenecks

  • Author(s): Gao, Hang
  • Cheng, Shenyang
  • Zhang, Michael
  • et al.

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The model based variable speed limit (VSL) control has been proven effective to resolve capacity-drop and time delay at a single recurrent bottleneck in previous studies. This project applies VSL controls to the traffic corridors with multi-segment and multi-bottleneck with the objective of reducing fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Based on a comprehensive review of existing methods, we develop and compare two fuel consumption centered VSL control (FC-VSL) strategies: flow-based control versus density-based control. These control strategies are implemented in SUMO, a microscopic traffic simulation package, on a 10-mile long freeway section. Results show that the density-based control reduces fuel consumption and gas emissions significantly at the cost of slight increase of travel time. The flow-based control, in contrast, reduces congestion and emissions in the downstream segments but transfers the congestion to the segments upstream of the controlled segments, resulting in an overall performance that is worse than the density-based FC-VSL, and no better than imposing static speed limits.

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