Performance analysis and control design for on-ramp metering of active merging bottlenecks
PI: W. Jin, UC Irvine
Abstract: The complex interplay among merging, lane changing and accelerating behaviors plays an important role in determining the performance of a congested merging area. Especially, once a merging bottleneck is activated, the discharging flow-rate can drop by 10 percent (about 800 vph on a four-lane freeway); such a capacity drop can lead to excessive traffic queues and stop-and-go traffic patterns and increase fuel consumption and GHG emissions. The objective of this research is to analyze the performance and design the control parameters for both pre-timed and traffic-responsive on-ramp metering of congested merging bottlenecks. In this research we will (1) quantify the congestion mitigation effects of different ramp metering algorithms at an active merging bottleneck, (2) design control parameters for efficient and robust traffic responsive ramp metering algorithms, (3) identify demand patterns when ramp metering algorithms are effective and (4) develop a set of simple decision-support tools for ramp metering with both kinematic wave models and microscopic simulations. The research will help Caltrans to make decisions on the necessity, priority, algorithm and parameter tuning related to ramp metering.
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