Integration of automated vehicles in mixed traffic: Evaluating changes in performance of following human-driven vehicles

The introduction of Automated Vehicles (AVs) into the transportation network is expected to improve system performance, but the impacts of AVs in mixed traffic streams have not been clearly studied. As AV’s market penetration increases, the interactions between conventional vehicles and AVs are inevitable but by no means clear. This study aims to create new knowledge by quantifying the behavioral changes caused when conventional human-driven vehicles follow AVs and investigating the impact of these changes (if any) on safety and the environment. This study analyzes data obtained from a field experiment by Texas A&M University to evaluate the effects of AVs on the behavior of a following human-driver. The dataset is comprised of nine drivers that attempted to follow 5 speed-profiles, with two scenarios per profile. In scenario one, a human-driven vehicle follows an AV that implements a human driver speed profile (base). In scenario two, the human-driven vehicle follows an AV that executes an AV speed profile. In order to evaluate safety, these scenarios are compared using time-to-collision (TTC) and several other driving volatility measures. Likewise, fuel consumption and emissions are used to investigate environmental impacts. Overall, the results show that AVs in mixed traffic streams can induce behavioral changes in conventional vehicle drivers, with some beneficial effects on safety and the environment. On average, a driver that follows an AV exhibits lower driving volatility in terms of speed and acceleration, which represents more stable traffic flow behavior and lower crash risk. The analysis showed a remarkable improvement in TTC as a result of the notably better speed adjustments of the following vehicle (i.e., lower differences in speeds between the lead and following vehicles) in the second scenario. Furthermore, human-driven vehicles were found to consume less fuel and produce fewer emissions on average when following an AV.


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  • Accession Number: 01765950
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 10 2021 3:56PM