Evaluation of Managed Lane Facilities in a Connected Vehicle Environment

PI (Co-PI): Mohamed Abdel-Aty, Yina Wu

Funded by Safety Research Using Simulation (SAFER-SIM)

In the past decade, managed lanes (MLs, known generally as HOT lanes) is one of the prevalent countermeasures against freeway congestion by providing superior traffic service on the toll lanes and increasing the traffic throughput of the freeway. In recent years, Florida has implemented managed lanes on I-595 and I-95 roadways, and this countermeasure will soon be introduced to I-4 and I-75.  Although managed lanes have received considerable attention, very few researchers have examined how implementing managed lanes could affect the safety conditions of managed lanes and general purpose lanes. The research team has conducted driving simulator experiments to examine the designs of different weaving lengths (e.g. 600 ft., 1,000 ft., and 1,400 ft.). This project will enhance the work through providing a comprehensive investigation of the relationship between weaving length and crash risk based on the simulation results, which will allow us to suggest the optimal design of access for MLs. In addition, recent advances in Connected Vehicle (CV) technologies are expected to provide unprecedented benefits to improve freeway safety, capacity and implement MLs, since real-time communication (e.g., speed, position, acceleration) could be fulfilled under CV environment based on vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication (V2I). We envision that CV lanes would be an extension of the concept of MLs. Hence, this project will also provide insights on the performance of the 3 lane types (CV lanes, MLs, and general purpose lanes) utilizing microsimulation, while a blueprint about infrastructure improvement considering the increase of CV market penetration rates will be provided.

The research team will evaluate the roadways with the 3 lane types (CV lanes, MLs, and general purpose lanes) and the impact of different CV market penetration rates by microsimulation experiments. The optimal weaving length will be suggested based on the simulation results and the suggested weaving length will be also utilized in the extended simulation experiments. Microsimulation experiments will be undertaken in order to evaluate the data collection strategies of CV, the feasibility of the CV lane, the traffic conditions of the 3 lane types and their transitions based on the microsimulation results.

There are three main objectives to be fulfilled as discussed above:

  • Recommend the optimal weaving length of managed lanes;
  • Evaluate the safety, operation, and infrastructure of the 3 lane types (ML, Connected vehicle lane, and general purpose lane);
  • Examine the traffic conditions at the transition zones of the abovementioned 3 lane types.

Illustration of Connected-Vehicle Managed Lane