DECENTRALIZED APPROACHES TO ADAPTIVE TRAFFIC CONTROL AND AN EXTENDED LEVEL OF SERVICE CONCEPT
Traffic systems are highly complex multi-component systems suffering from instabilities and non-linear dynamics, including chaos. This is caused by the non-linearity of interactions, delays, and fluctuations, which can trigger phenomena such as stop-and-go waves, noise-induced breakdowns, or slower-is-faster effects. The recently upcoming information and communication technologies (ICT) promise new solutions leading from the classical, centralized control to decentralized approaches in the sense of collective (swarm) intelligence and ad hoc networks. An interesting application field is adaptive, self-organized traffic control in urban road networks. We present control principles that allow one to reach a self-organized synchronization of traffic lights. Furthermore, vehicles will become automatic traffic state detection, data management, and communication centers when forming ad hoc networks through inter-vehicle communication (IVC). We discuss the mechanisms and the efficiency of message propagation on freeways by short-range communication. Our main focus is on future adaptive cruise control systems (ACC), which will not only increase the comfort and safety of car passengers, but also enhance the stability of traffic flows and the capacity of the road (“traffic assistance”). We present an automated driving strategy that adapts the operation mode of an ACC system to the autonomously detected, local traffic situation. The impact on the traffic dynamics is investigated by means of a multi-lane microscopic traffic simulation. The simulation scenarios illustrate the efficiency of the proposed driving strategy. Already an ACC equipment level of 10% improves the traffic flow quality and reduces the travel times for the drivers drastically due to delaying or preventing a breakdown of the traffic flow. For the evaluation of the resulting traffic quality, we have recently developed an extended level of service concept (ELOS). We demonstrate our concept on the basis of travel times as the most important variable for a user-oriented quality of service.