Towards reducing traffic congestion using cooperative adaptive cruise control on a freeway with a ramp

Georges Arnaout, Shannon Bowling


Purpose: In this paper, the impact of Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control (CACC) systems on traffic performance is examined using microscopic agent-based simulation. Using a developed traffic simulation model of a freeway with an on-ramp - created to induce perturbations and to trigger stop-and-go traffic, the CACC system’s effect on the traffic performance is studied. The previously proposed traffic simulation model is extended and validated. By embedding CACC vehicles in different penetration levels, the results show significance and indicate the potential of CACC systems to improve traffic characteristics and therefore can be used to reduce traffic congestion. The study shows that the impact of CACC is positive but is highly dependent on the CACC market penetration. The flow rate of the traffic using CACC is proportional to the market penetration rate of CACC equipped vehicles and the density of the traffic.

Design/methodology/approach: This paper uses microscopic simulation experiments followed by a quantitative statistical analysis. Simulation enables researchers manipulating the system variables to straightforwardly predict the outcome on the overall system, giving researchers the unique opportunity to interfere and make improvements to performance. Thus with simulation, changes to variables that might require excessive time, or be unfeasible to carry on real systems, are often completed within seconds.

Findings: The findings of this paper are summarized as follow:

• Provide and validate a platform (agent-based microscopic traffic simulator) in which any CACC algorithm (current or future) may be evaluated.

• Provide detailed analysis associated with implementation of CACC vehicles on freeways.

• Investigate whether embedding CACC vehicles on freeways has a significant positive impact or not.

Research limitations/implications: The main limitation of this research is that it has been conducted solely in a computer laboratory. Laboratory experiments and/or simulations provide a controlled setting, well suited for preliminary testing and calibrating of the input variables. However, laboratory testing is by no means sufficient for the entire methodology validation. It must be complemented by fundamental field testing. As far as the simulation model limitations, accidents, weather conditions, and obstacles in the roads were not taken into consideration. Failures in the operation of the sensors and communication of CACC design equipment were also not considered. Additionally, the special HOV lanes were limited to manual vehicles and CACC vehicles. Emergency vehicles, buses, motorcycles, and other type of vehicles were not considered in this dissertation. Finally, it is worthy to note that the human factor is far more sophisticated, hard to predict, and flexible to be exactly modeled in a traffic simulation model perfectly. Some human behavior could occur in real life that the simulation model proposed would fail to model.

Practical implications: A high percentage of CACC market penetration is not occurring in the near future. Thus, reaching a high penetration will always be a challenge for this type of research. The public accessibility for such a technology will always be a major practical challenge. With such a small headway safety gap, even if the technology was practically proven to be efficient and safe, having the public to accept it and feel comfortable in using it will always be a challenge facing the success of the CACC technology.

Originality/value: The literature on the impact of CACC on traffic dynamics is limited. In addition, no previous work has proposed an open-source microscopic traffic simulator where different CACC algorithms could be easily used and tested. We believe that the proposed model is more realistic than other traffic models, and is one of the very first models to model the behavior CACC vehicles on freeways.


Intelligent Transportation Systems, Vehicular Ad Hoc Networks, Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control, Traffic simulation, agent-based traffic simulation, microscopic simulation

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Licencia de Creative Commons 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management, 2008-2024

Online ISSN: 2013-0953; Print ISSN: 2013-8423; Online DL: B-28744-2008

Publisher: OmniaScience