Cooperative, Connected and Automated Mobility (CCAM) enabled by Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) has potential to change future transport systems. The findings from previous studies suggest that these technologies will improve traffic flow, reduce travel time and delays. Furthermore, these CAVs will be safer compared to existing vehicles. As these vehicles may have the ability to travel at a higher speed and with shorter headways, it has been argued that infrastructure-based measures are required to optimise traffic flow and road user comfort. One of these measures is the use of a dedicated lane for CAVs on urban highways and arterials and constitutes the focus of this research. As the potential impact on safety is unclear, the present study aims to evaluate the safety impacts of dedicated lanes for CAVs. A calibrated and validated microsimulation model developed in AIMSUN was used to simulate and produce safety results. These results were analysed with the help of the Surrogate Safety Assessment Model (SSAM). The model includes human-driven vehicles (HDVs), 1st generation and 2nd generation autonomous vehicles (AVs) with different sets of parameters leading to different movement behaviour. The model uses a variety of cases in which a dedicated lane is provided at different type of lanes (inner and outer) of highways to understand the safety effects. The model also tries to understand the minimum required market penetration rate (MPR) of CAVs for a better movement of traffic on dedicated lanes. It was observed in the models that although at low penetration rates of CAVs (around 20%) dedicated lanes might not be advantageous, a reduction of 53% to 58% in traffic conflicts is achieved with the introduction of dedicated lanes in high CAV MPRs. In addition, traffic crashes estimated from traffic conflicts are reduced up to 48% with the CAVs. The simulation results revealed that with dedicated lane, the combination of 40-40-20 (i.e., 40% human-driven – 40% 1st generation AVs– 20% 2nd generation AVs) could be the optimum MPR for CAVs to achieve the best safety benefits. The findings in this study provide useful insight into the safety impacts of dedicated lanes for CAVs and could be used to develop a policy support tool for local authorities and practitioners.
Network-wide safety impacts of dedicated lanes for connected and autonomous vehicles