24 September 2018
road safety, transportation, road vehicles, road traffic, transportation systems, road transportation, road networks, traffic demand level, network performance, traffic flow, traveling safety, traveling comfort, microscopic simulation, Antwerp ring road connectivity, Antwerp ring road automation, time headways settings, autonomous vehicles, connected AVs, AIMSUN traffic simulation software
As connectivity and automation make their way in to transportation systems, they are expected to have a forceful impact, drastically changing road transportation. The introduction of autonomous vehicles (AVs) and connected autonomous vehicles (CAVs) is expected to advance safety and comfort. But, they can also affect characteristics of road networks, such as capacities, delays and efficiency. To foresee important challenges, reinforce potential benefits and reduce potential disadvantages of this new disruptive technology, its impacts should be well studied and understood before their anticipated introduction. In this paper, a microscopic simulation framework to estimate these impacts is developed. Simulation experiments are conducted for various traffic mixtures of manually driven vehicles, AVs and CAVs, different desired time headways settings and traffic demand levels, to evaluate the sensitivity of the network performance to these factors. The ring road of Antwerp is used for the case study. Thus, the results and conclusions refer to a large real-world network. The consequences of the introduction of AVS and CAVs on traffic flow and pollutant emissions are evaluated. The results show that depending on the demand, AVs introduction can have negative effects on traffic flow, while CAVs may benefit the network performance, depending on their market penetration.