Effects of a Cooperative Variable Speed Limit System on Traffic Performance and Exhaust Emissions

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Variable Speed Limit Systems (VSLS) where variable message signs show speed limits based on traffic or road conditions exist on motorways in many countries. The purpose of the VSLS is to decrease the number of accidents while increasing efficiency of traffic system. Cooperative systems are a type of intelligent transport system that has received increasing interest lately. The central part of a cooperative system is communication between vehicles and/or vehicles and the infrastructure. In this paper, a cooperative systems extension of a VSLS is proposed and evaluated by means of microscopic traffic simulation. In the proposed cooperative VSLS, communication between the vehicles and the infrastructure is made available via a roadside unit communicating the speed limits to vehicles upstream on the road. Both aggregate and micro-scale emission models are used to estimate emission from vehicle states in traffic flow. The results of the study show that the cooperative VSLS has a potential to contribute to flow harmonization and to reduce environmental impacts. The emission estimates in the study are dependent on the emission models being applied.

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