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Traffic Management for the 21st Century

Final Report Summary - TRAMAN21 (Traffic Management for the 21st Century)

Traffic congestion on motorways is a serious threat for the economic and social life of modern society as well as for the environment, which calls for drastic and radical solutions. Some conventional traffic management measures currently applied, face limitations. During the last decade, there has been a considerable effort to develop a variety of Vehicle Automation and Communication Systems (VACS) that are expected to revolutionise the features and capabilities of individual vehicles within the next decades. VACS are typically developed to benefit the individual vehicle, without a clear view or understanding for the implications, potential advantages and disadvantages they may have for the resulting, accordingly modified traffic characteristics. The gradual introduction of VACS brings along the necessity and continuously growing opportunities for accordingly adapted or utterly new traffic management actions and strategies aiming at a sensible decrease of traffic congestion and its detrimental implications for travel delays, traffic safety and the environment. It was the main objective of TRAMAN21 to develop the foundations and first steps that pave the way towards a new era of future motorway traffic management research and practice, which is indispensable in order to accompany, complement and exploit the evolving VACS deployment.

TRAMAN21 has produced a number of innovative concepts, tools and results that open up new horizons for traffic management research and practice in presence of VACS. In a first step, an extensive review established the set of VACS features, which are most relevant from a motorway traffic management perspective. Traffic flow modelling in presence of VACS is a prerequisite for the design and testing of efficient traffic management approaches and was handled within TRAMAN21 at two levels, microscopic and macroscopic. A microscopic simulator in presence of VACS was developed as an add-on of a commercial conventional simulator by appropriately modifying the vehicle behaviour to reflect the impact of selected VACS. At the macroscopic level, novel macroscopic traffic flow models were developed, able to capture multi-lane highway traffic as well as traffic comprising VACS-equipped vehicles at arbitrary penetration levels.

In the evolving traffic environment with VACS, equipped vehicles may act as moving sensors as well as actuators, exhibiting a driving behaviour that improves the emerging traffic flow and executing orders and advice received from the traffic control centre so as to maximize network efficiency and minimize congestion. To this end, innovative traffic estimation and control methods and tools were developed and elaborately tested in simulation. In particular, traffic control has been addressed at vehicle level, local level and network level and comprises unconventional actions that are not feasible by use of the current road-side actuator technology. Last not least, a field test was carried out successfully at an Australian motorway and is being continued beyond the lifetime of TRAMAN21.

More detailed information on project activities and outcome may be obtained from the TRAMAN21 website