An optimal variable speed limits system to ameliorate traffic safety risk
Abbreviated Journal Title
Transp. Res. Pt. C-Emerg. Technol.
Variable speed limit; Traffic safety; Driver compliance; Crash risk; Micro-simulation; CRASHES; FREEWAYS; WEATHER; MODELS; Transportation Science & Technology
Active Traffic Management (ATM) systems have been emerging in recent years in the US and Europe. They provide control strategies to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion on freeways. This study investigates the feasibility of utilizing a Variable Speed Limits (VSL) system, one key part of ATM, to improve traffic safety on freeways. A proactive traffic safety improvement VSL control algorithm is proposed. First, an extension of the METANET (METANET: A macroscopic simulation program for motorway networks) traffic flow model is employed to analyze VSL's impact on traffic flow. Then, a real-time crash risk evaluation model is estimated for the purpose of quantifying crash risk. Finally, optimal VSL control strategies are achieved by employing an optimization technique to minimize the total crash risk along the VSL implementation corridor. Constraints are setup to limit the increase of average travel time and the differences of the posted speed limits temporarily and spatially. This novel VSL control algorithm can proactively reduce crash risk and therefore improve traffic safety. The proposed VSL control algorithm is implemented and tested for a mountainous freeway bottleneck area through the micro-simulation software VISSIM. Safety impacts of the VSL system are quantified as crash risk improvements and speed homogeneity improvements. Moreover, three different driver compliance levels are modeled in VISSIM to monitor the sensitivity of VSL effects on driver compliance. Conclusions demonstrated that the proposed VSL system could improve traffic safety by decreasing crash risk and enhancing speed homogeneity under both the high and moderate compliance levels; while the VSL system fails to significantly enhance traffic safety under the low compliance scenario. Finally, future implementation suggestions of the VSL control strategies and related research topics are also discussed. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Transportation Research Part C-Emerging Technologies
"An optimal variable speed limits system to ameliorate traffic safety risk" (2015). Faculty Bibliography 2010s. 6338.