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Traffic Microsimulation for Flexible Utilization of Urban Roadways

Abstract

The current method of organizing traffic flows in urban networks uses directional right-of-way links to move traffic between urban intersections. Conflict resolution between vehicles is almost exclusively exercised at the intersections, which turns them into bottlenecks of our urban traffic systems. Even an attempt to model a different organization of traffic hits a major barrier, because the traditional simulation models do not offer enough flexibility to model bidirectional traffic on individual links in the network. This paper presents flexible arterial utilization simulation modeling (FAUSIM), a novel microsimulation platform designed to address this deficiency of traditional tools. The outputs from this tool are validated, successfully, in comparison with a commonly utilized Vissim model. The paper then illustrates the ability of FAUSIM to model conventional and unconventional traffic control scenarios. A combined alternate-direction lane assignment and reservation-based intersection control (CADLARIC) scenario is where directional driving paths are altered between neighboring lanes to align vehicles for decreased conflict for left and right turns at intersections where a reservation-based algorithm is utilized to process conflicts. This is compared with a conventional fixed-time (FT) control. The results of the experiments, executed on a small three-intersection corridor, show that CADLARIC significantly outperforms conventional driving with the FT control in relation to traffic efficiency (delays and stops). While the FT control generates fewer (potential) conflicting events, the CADLARIC confidently handles conflicting situations inside and outside the intersections. Future research should further validate the FAUSIM platform and investigate several other unconventional traffic scenarios with connected and automated vehicles.

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