Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil & Environmental Engineering


Civil Engineering

Committee Director

Mecit Cetin

Committee Member

Sherif S. Ishak

Committee Member

Hong Yang


Connected vehicles (CVs) will enable new applications to improve traffic flow. This study’s focus is to investigate how potential implementation of variable speed limit (VSL) through different types of communication and sensing technologies on CVs may improve traffic flow at a sag curve. At sag curves, the gradient changes from negative to positive values which causes a reduction in the roadway capacity and congestion. A VSL algorithm is developed and implemented in a simulation environment for controlling the inflow of vehicles to a sag curve on a freeway to minimize delays and increase throughput. Both vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and infrastructure-to-vehicle (I2V) options for CVs are investigated while implementing the VSL control strategy in a simulation environment. Through a feedback control algorithm, the speed of CVs are manipulated in the upstream of the sag curve to avoid the formation of bottlenecks caused by the change in longitudinal driver behavior. A modified version of the intelligent driver model (IDM) is used to simulate driving behavior on the sag curve. Depending on the traffic density at a sag curve, the feedback control algorithm adjusts the approach speeds of CVs so that the throughput of the sag curve is maximized. A meta-heuristic algorithm is employed to determine the critical control parameters. Various market penetration rates for CVs are considered in the simulations for three alternative communications and sensing technologies. It is demonstrated that for higher Market Penetration Rates (MPR) the performance is the same for all three scenarios which means there is no need for infrastructure-based sensing when the MPR is high enough. The results demonstrate that not only the MPR of CVs but also how CVs are distributed in the traffic stream is critical for system performance. While MPR could be high, uneven distribution of CVs and lack of CVs at the critical time periods as congestion is building up may cause a deterioration in system performance.


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