Authors: Gang-Len Chang & Sung Yoon Park
Date: Dec. 2010
This report presents the research results of two ITS applications: The first is an innovative field implementation of variable speed limit (VSL) control for a recurrently congested highway segment, and the second is a laboratory experiment of a lane-based signal merge (LBSM) control for highway work zone. VSL control is an advanced traffic management strategy (ATMS) that has received increasing interest from the transportation community since the advent of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) in the 1980s. A complete VSL system typically comprises a set of traffic sensors to collect flow and speed data, several properly located variable message signs (VMSs) to display messages, a reliable control algorithm to compute the optimal speed limit for all control locations, a real-time database, and a communications system to convey information between all principal modules. The field experimental results over a 10-week period clearly indicate that VSL control supplemented with the display of estimated travel times can significantly increase both the average speed and throughput for highway segments plagued by recurrent congestion. LBSM is a new merge control strategy that employs a signal at the proper merging point to assign the right-of-way for traffic in each lane if the approaching volume exceeds 800 vehicles per hour per lane. The results of extensive simulation evaluation clearly indicate that the design, even preliminary in nature, can significantly increase the throughput and reduce the average vehicle delay, average vehicle stop delay, and the number of vehicle stops for highway work zones under congested traffic conditions.