Research on the Impacts of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) on Traffic Flow

The capability of CAVs is progressing at a great rate, with particular focus on technological performance, and much associated work around safety, operation and regulatory issues.

Microsimulation modelling

This work has utilised a prevalent microsimulation software package, VISSIM 8, to test the impact of:

Different car-following behaviour;

Different lane changing and gap acceptance behaviour;

Different profiles of acceleration and deceleration;

Connectivity to represent the better provision of information; and,

Different levels of CAV penetration in the vehicle fleet.

As a first step, particular parameters were identified that allow the capabilities of connected and autonomous vehicles to be represented in the model. It is recognised that connected and autonomous vehicles may not exhibit "enhanced" behaviour across all aspects of operation. For example, whilst it is often assumed that CAVs will be able to travel at high speed and short time intervals, depending on the configuration and demands for safety, they may not. The capability of CAVs is likely to be dependent, at least in part, on user preference. CAVs are therefore characterised by their behaviour being either more assertive or more cautious than the default situation.

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