Authors: Mark L. Franz and Gang-Len Chang
Date: July 21, 2014
This research project developed vital operational guidelines for design of a variable speed limit (VSL) system and its integrated operations with ramp metering control in contending with recurrent highway congestion. The developed guidelines can serve as an effective tool for traffic engineers to determine when to activate a VSL control and under what traffic conditions it needs to be supplemented by ramp metering operations to ensure the stability of traffic evolution over the congested highway segment. This report also presents various measures of effectiveness for evaluating the benefits of VSL and its integration with ramp metering control. A VSL control algorithm to compute the time-varying speeds in real time, based on detected traffic conditions, was developed in this study. Extensive simulation experiments, calibrated with the field data from US100 in Maryland, were conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the developed VSL algorithm. Both the experimental results and sensitivity analyses with respect to key model parameters confirmed that proper implementation of VSL can indeed mitigate the congestion caused by the high-speed variance among vehicles and allow traffic flows to better utilize the available roadway capacity.