Office: INR 240
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Modern highways offer a very convenient and safe means of transportation. They are usually characterized by high throughput and efficient use: i.e. the debit of cars which traverse a given highway segment is high, the average speed in most situations is quite high and on the average, the speed of cars is quite constant (this eliminates unnecessary brakes and acceleration which leads to an efficient fuel usage).
However, there are some settings in which modern highways seem to perform very poorly. Above a certain degree of occupation, two very disturbing phenomena might appear:
- The accordion: A transient mode in which cars accelerate to a given speed S (usually less than the desired cruising speed), only to brake to almost a full stop immediately after reaching the speed S. In this mode, the highway throughput is usually far from the optimal one, and cars function in a very inefficient way (high fuel consumption due to constant breaking and acceleration)
- Traffic jams: usually occur in highway segments preceding a bottleneck. Bottlenecks can be permanent (e.g. tunnels, highway exits, joins or splits) or temporary (e.g. due to an accident that temporarily makes one lane unusable). Traffic jams are also characterized by far from optimal throughput and inefficient fuel usage.
The intuition behind this project is that adaptive speed limitations on the highway segments preceding (and including) the one where problems might appear will drastically decrease the negative effects previously discussed. Therefore the main goal of this project is to:
- investigate whether speeding restrictions can increase the efficiency of highways, and
- to determine automatic speeding restrictions that optimize highway utilization.
The methodology of the project is to use an agent-based simulation to investigate the above hypothesis and to determine optimal speeding policies. Each vehicle on the highway will be modeled by an agent which takes decisions based on a local view.
We assume that the highway is split into segments with constant length, and that on each segment we can impose one speed limitation. Constraints between the speed limit on neighboring segments have to ensure that the vehicles do not have to break too abruptly. Each segment is under the responsibility of one agent which observes the state of the highway segment (number of cars, average speed, etc) and can decide on the speed limitation for that segment. Neighboring agents can communicate (i.e. we can assume that each agent can communicate with the preceding and the following N agents).
Each vehicle is also modeled by one agent which takes decisions based on a local view: a driver wants to get to the destination as fast as possible and guides her action depending on the traffic in her immediate vicinity. We further assume that drivers respect the speed limits (within certain bounds).
- Develop a model for the driver's behavior. You might take into consideration different types of drivers (e.g. drivers which prefer to drive faster, drivers which prefer constant speed, etc). A model of the acceleration, braking and reaction time is also needed.
- Model the behavior of an agent that controls a highway segment (e.g. what information to collect, how to communicate with neighbors)
- Define efficiency criteria for the highway (e.g. throughput, average speed, fuel consumption, etc)
- Investigate the conditions under which the above described phenomena appear. Identify the impact of these phenomena on highway efficiency
- Investigate speeding policies which increase highway efficiency
Last modified: May 4, 2005 11:38 AM