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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Early Opportunities to Apply Automation in California Managed Lanes


Connected and automated vehicles hold the potential for substantial improvements to traffic safety, travel time reliability, roadway capacity, and environmental impacts and managed lanes have the potential to be ideal testbeds for CAV technologies. The purpose of this report is to identify specific opportunities to leverage California’s managed lane network as early experimental and pilot deployment sites for CAVs. To this end, we have conducted a detailed inventory of the managed lane facilities in California and applied evaluation criteria to identify two promising sites for future CAV tests and initial deployments. Our study recommends the I-15 Express Lanes in San Diego and the I-10 Express Lanes in Los Angeles for future CAV tests.


In this report, we have also documented the major CAV applications that are being considered by USDOT for near-term deployment. After assessing which of the CAV applications are best suited for deployment in managed lanes, we selected the following five applications to be considered for testing in the two California sites: highway CACC, V2I speed harmonization, freeway merge coordination, automated bus rapid transit, and automated barrier mover vehicle.


Next, we presented conceptual test and deployment plans for those five CAV applications along with various testing scenarios. We then presented an analysis of the likely timeline for testing and pilot deployment and related vehicle and infrastructure requirements of those applications. For most of the applications, there will be at least two years of preparation required before testing or initial deployment can occur. Finally, our report describes the expected benefits of deploying the selected CAV applications at the proposed sites including increased capacity, reduced congestion and smoother traffic flow in managed lanes and some related improvements to safety.

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