Comprehensive analysis of automated vehicles in mixed traffic finds they could reduce travel time by up to 26 percent.

An analysis of automated vehicles (AVs) in mixed traffic flows shows that AVs can improve vehicle throughput, travel time, and the maximum volume of a roadway.


Summary Information

The authors state that it is highly unlikely that automated vehicles (AVs) will achieve rapid market penetration. Thus, there will likely be a long transition period in which AVs are operating alongside manually operated vehicles.


Within this context researchers in Germany studied the potential benefits and drawbacks of AVs in mixed traffic environments. The research team microscopically simulated traffic conditions along a 5.3 km (3.29 mile) stretch of roadway in Auckland, New Zealand. The team simulated traffic conditions across a range of AV penetration rates, ranging from zero percent penetration to complete penetration and across a range of traffic conditions ranging from no traffic to heavy traffic conditions.

  • Significant congestion relief benefits were not realized until AVs achieved 70 percent market penetration.
  • At 100 percent market penetration AVs resulted in an 83 percent improvement in throughput, 88 percent improvement in maximum vehicle volume, and a 26 percent improvement in total travel time compared to no AV scenarios.
  • However, researchers also noted that as throughput and maximum volume increase, environmental benefits from reduced traffic attenuate.

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Impacts of Gradual Automated Vehicle Penetration on Motorway Operation: A Comprehensive Evaluation

Author: Li, Duo and Peter Wagner

Published By: European Transport Research Review

Source Date: 07/09/2019

Other Reference Number: Vol. 11, No. 1



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Benefit ID: 2020-01438