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Microscopic simulation analysis of mainstream traffic flow control with variable speed limits

Müller Eduardo R., Carlson Rodrigo Castelan, Kraus Werner Jr., Papageorgiou Markos

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Year 2013
Type of Item Conference Full Paper
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Mainstream Traffic Flow Control (MTFC) with Variable Speed Limits (VSL) is a freeway traffic control method which aims to maximize throughput by regulating the mainstream flow upstream from a bottleneck. Recent studies in a macroscopic simulator have shown optimal and feedback MTFC potential to improve traffic conditions. In this paper, local feedback MTFC is applied in microscopic simulation for an on-ramp merge bottleneck. Traffic behavior reveals important aspects that had not been previously captured in macroscopic simulation. Mainly, the more realistic VSL application at specific points instead of along an entire freeway section produces a slower traffic response to speed limit changes. In addition, the nonlinear speed limit-flow relation observed in the microscopic model is more pronounced than what was observed at the macroscopic level. After appropriate modifications in the control law significant improvements in traffic conditions were obtained.

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