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Evaluation of Variable Speed Limits: Empirical Evidence and Simulation Analysis of Stockholm’s Motorway Control System
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Transport and Economics, Traffic and Logistics.
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Variable Speed Limits (VSL) are often used to improve traffic conditions on congested motorways. VSL can be implemented as mandatory or advisory. The objective of the thesis isto study in detail the effectiveness of VSL. The focus is on both, design parameters and conditions under which VSL are most effective. The MCS system on the E4 motorway inStockholm is used as a case study.

The evaluation was conducted using empirical methods (including aggregate data from microwave sensors and other sources, and disaggregate data from a mobile study), and microscopic traffic simulation. The empirical analysis is based on before and after VSL data, including evaluation of individual measures of performance, and multivariate analysis in the form of the fundamental diagram, and speed-density relationships. The results from the empirical study are mixed with an indication that driver behavior has a strong impact on the effectiveness of the system.

The microscopic traffic simulation analysis included the development of a platform for testing VSL and more generally motorway control strategies. The simulation platform was calibrated and validated with the empirical data and includes in addition to VSL, and Automatic Incident Detection (AID) system, the ALINEA ramp metering algorithm. The test-platform allows the testing of different control strategies and various combinations of control strategies, under different scenarios and in a controlled environment. The results from the simulation study indicate that driver compliance is an important factor and VSL performance quickly deteriorates as compliance rate drops. Hence, VSL should be implemented as mandatory instead of advisory. In addition, mandatory VSL can be effective both, under incident and moderately congested conditions. A combined VSL and ramp metering strategy can be most effective in reducing travel time, improving traffic conditions on the motorway. Furthermore, the results indicate that such a strategy also has the least impact on the flows entering the motorway from the ramps.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH , 2010. , x, 148 p.
Trita-TEC-PHD, ISSN 1653-4468 ; 10:003
Keyword [en]
Motorway Control System, Mainline Control, Variable Speed Limits, Driver Behavior, Capacity, Intelligent Transport Systems, microsimulation model
National Category
Social Sciences Energy Engineering Energy Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-13200ISBN: 978-91-85539-60-4OAI: diva2:321836
Public defence
2010-06-10, V1, Teknikringen 76, KTH, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
QC20100630Available from: 2010-06-02 Created: 2010-06-02 Last updated: 2010-06-30Bibliographically approved

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