A cooperative space distribution method for autonomous vehicles at a lane-drop bottleneck on multi-lane freeways

Tung Thanh Phan, Long Bao Le, Dong Ngoduy

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With the help of inter-vehicle communication (IVC), autonomous vehicles (AVs) can drive cooperatively, thus significantly improve road safety, traffic efficiency, and environmental sustainability. While substantial research has been conducted to investigate the efficiency of AVs in transportation systems, few attempts have been carried out to explore the lane-changing operations of AVs in multi-lane freeways, especially the dynamics of AVs at lane-drop bottlenecks. To this end, this paper aims to develop a cooperative space distribution method (CSDM) not only to increase the lane-drop bottleneck's throughput but also to equally distribute the AVs in the dropped lane to other lanes by efficiently coordinating the dynamics of AVs upstream of the bottleneck in a multi-lane freeway. More specifically, we propose a novel framework where the freeway (region of interest) is divided into three segments: i) platoon segment, ii) acceleration segment, and iii) merging segment. In the first segment, AVs travel together in the platoon to guarantee their safety; they will then speed up to attain the maximum velocity and reach the determined position in the second segment. Finally, these AVs change lanes in the last segment and pass through the bottleneck with maximum velocity and minimum gap (i.e., gap distance). Simulation results are tested to demonstrate the performance of the proposed method, where we show that the proposed framework can significantly decrease the average travel time of all vehicles.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 Dec 2020


  • Autonomous vehicles (AVs)
  • flow rate
  • platoon
  • throughput.

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