Studying the Safety Impact of Autonomous Vehicles Using Simulation-Based Surrogate Safety Measures

Mark Mario Morando, Qingyun Tian, Long T. Truong, Hai L. Vu

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61 Citations (Scopus)


Autonomous vehicle (AV) technology has advanced rapidly in recent years with some automated features already available in vehicles on the market. AVs are expected to reduce traffic crashes as the majority of crashes are related to driver errors, fatigue, alcohol, or drugs. However, very little research has been conducted to estimate the safety impact of AVs. This paper aims to investigate the safety impacts of AVs using a simulation-based surrogate safety measure approach. To this end, safety impacts are explored through the number of conflicts extracted from the VISSIM traffic microsimulator using the Surrogate Safety Assessment Model (SSAM). Behaviours of human-driven vehicles (HVs) and AVs (level 4 automation) are modelled within the VISSIM's car-following model. The safety investigation is conducted for two case studies, that is, a signalised intersection and a roundabout, under various AV penetration rates. Results suggest that AVs improve safety significantly with high penetration rates, even when they travel with shorter headways to improve road capacity and reduce delay. For the signalised intersection, AVs reduce the number of conflicts by 20% to 65% with the AV penetration rates of between 50% and 100% (statistically significant at p<0.05). For the roundabout, the number of conflicts is reduced by 29% to 64% with the 100% AV penetration rate (statistically significant at p<0.05).

Original languageEnglish
Article number6135183
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Advanced Transportation
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2018

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