Sustainability effects of next-generation intersection control for autonomous vehicles
Transportation sustainability is adversely affected by recurring traffic congestions, especially at urban intersections. Frequent vehicle deceleration and acceleration caused by stop-and-go behaviours at intersections due to congestion adversely impacts energy consumption and ambient air quality. Availability of the maturing vehicle technologies such as autonomous vehicles and Vehicle-To-Vehicle (V2V) / Vehicle-To-Infrastructure (V2I) communications provides technical feasibility to develop solutions that can reduce vehicle stops at intersections, hence enhance the sustainability of intersections. This paper presents a next-generation intersection control system for autonomous vehicles, which is named ACUTA. ACUTA employs an enhanced reservation-based control algorithm that controls autonomous vehicles’ passing sequence at an intersection. Particularly, the intersection is divided into n-by-n tiles. An intersection controller reserves certain time-space for each vehicle, and assures no conflict exists between reservations. The algorithm was modelled in microscopic traffic simulation platform VISSIM. ACUTA algorithm modelling as well as enhancement strategies to minimize vehicle intersection stops and eventually emission and energy consumption were discussed in the paper. Sustainability benefits offered by this next-generation intersection were evaluated and compared with traditional intersection control strategies. The evaluation reveals that multi-tile ACUTA reduces carbon monoxide (CO) and Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 emissions by about 5% under low to moderate volume conditions and by about 3% under high volume condition. Meanwhile, energy consumption is reduced by about 4% under low to moderate volume conditions and by about 12% under high volume condition. Compared with four-way stop control, single-tile ACUTA reduces CO and PM 2.5 emissions as well as energy consumption by about 15% under any prevailing volume conditions. These findings validated the sustainability benefits of employing next-generation vehicle technologies in intersection traffic control. In addition, extending the ACUTA to corridor level was explored in the paper.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.