Analysis of a cooperative variable speed limit system using microscopic traffic simulation

Publisher's full text

Variable speed limit systems where variable message signs are used to show speed limits adjusted to the prevailing road or traffic conditions are installed on motorways in many countries. The objectives of variable speed limit system installations are often to decrease the number of accidents and to increase traffic efficiency. Currently, there is an interest in exploring the potential of cooperative intelligent transport systems including communication between vehicles and/or vehicles and the infrastructure. In this paper, we study the potential benefits of introducing infrastructure to vehicle communication, autonomous vehicle control and individualized speed limits in variable speed limit systems. We do this by proposing a cooperative variable speed limit system as an extension of an existing variable speed limit system. In the proposed system, communication between the infrastructure and the vehicles is used to transmit variable speed limits to upstream vehicles before the variable message signs become visible to the drivers. The system is evaluated by the means of microscopic traffic simulation. Traffic efficiency and environmental effects are considered in the analysis. The results of the study show benefits of the infrastructure to vehicle communication, autonomous vehicle control and individualized speed limits for variable speed limit systems in the form of lower acceleration rates and thereby harmonized traffic flow and reduced exhaust emissions.

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