A Traffic Simulation Modeling Framework for Rural Highways

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Jan Lundgren
Karl-Lennart Bång

Models based on micro-simulation of traffic flows have proven to be useful tools in the study of various traffic systems. Today, there is a wealth of traffic microsimulation models developed for freeway and urban street networks. The road mileage is however in many countries dominated by rural highways. Hence, there is a need for rural road traffic simulation models capable of assessing the performance of such road environments. This thesis introduces a versatile traffic micro-simulation model for the rural roads of today and of the future. The developed model system considers all common types of rural roads including effects of intersections and roundabouts on the main road traffic. The model is calibrated and validated through a simulation study comparing a two-lane highway to rural road designs with separated oncoming traffic lanes. A good general agreement between the simulation results and the field data is established.

The interest in road safety and the environmental impact of traffic is growing. Recent research has indicated that traffic simulation can be of use in these areas as well as in traditional capacity and level-of-service studies. In the road safety area more attention is turning towards active safety improving countermeasures designed to improve road safety by reducing the number of driver errors and the accident risks. One important example is Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). The potential to use traffic simulation to evaluate the road safety effects of ADAS is investigated in the last part of this thesis. A car-following model for simulation of traffic including ADAS-equipped vehicles is proposed and the developed simulation framework is used to study important properties of a traffic simulation model to be used for safety evaluation of ADAS. Driver behavior for ADAS-equipped vehicles has usually not been considered in simulation studies including ADAS-equipped vehicles. The work in this thesis does however indicate that modeling of the behavior of drivers in ADAS-equipped vehicles is essential for reliable conclusions on the road safety effects of ADAS.

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