Changes in freeway level of service with the introduction of autonomous and connected vehicles




Espinoza, Edoardo

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Connected and Autonomous vehicles (CAVs) have risen in popularity in recent years and are expected to bring with them many changes including driver safety, expansion of ridership from people currently unable to drive, and more travel miles from long trip commuters. From an engineering standpoint, CAVs are expected to bring with them an increase in highway capacities because of their ability to react faster than human drivers and produce shorter time headways between successive vehicles. CAVs are not anticipated to dominate the traffic stream until another 20 to 40 years and are expected to be introduced gradually into the transportation system. Shorter time headways suggest that freeways may be positively affected by the new technology and new procedures will need to be established in order to analyze highway capacities in the future. The 6th Edition Highway Capacity Manual is one of the main sources that is used by the engineering community to estimate capacities of freeway segments. This study documents a new simulation tool to discover the capacity implications for a basic freeway segment of different CAV market penetrations and reduced time headways


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