Potential of Connected Fully Autonomous Vehicles in Reducing Congestion and Associated Carbon Emissions

Article


Neufville, R., Abdalla, H. and Abbas, A. 2022. Potential of Connected Fully Autonomous Vehicles in Reducing Congestion and Associated Carbon Emissions. Sustainability. 14 (Art. 6910). https://doi.org/10.3390/su14116910
AuthorsNeufville, R., Abdalla, H. and Abbas, A.
Abstract

Congestion is an ongoing problem for many urban centres worldwide (such as London), leading to excessive delays, noise and air pollution, frustrated drivers, and high energy consumption. The carbon footprint of conventional transport systems can be high as a result and transport is among the highest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, with the growing interest in developing connected fully autonomous vehicles (ConFAVs), there is a pressing need to consider their effects within the congested urban setting. To address this, the current research study was designed to investigate the potential for ConFAVs in providing a sustainable transport solution. During this research, a simulation model was developed, calibrated, and validated using field data collected from several sites in East London, using the graphical user interface (GUI) simulation software PTV VISSIM to simulate the proposed driving and car following behaviour, which included the platooning of these ConFAVs, to assess how they could improve the level of service of the roads. Using the new model, this research addresses the shortcomings of two other adaptations of the Wiedemann 99 car-following models by changing the ConFAV’s behaviour to be more cautious when travelling behind a human driven vehicle, and less cautious when behind another ConFAV. As little is known about the transitional period from zero autonomy to full autonomy on the already congested road network, due to the fact that these vehicles are typically tested in small numbers (often one at a time in a controlled environment), the present research study introduced ConFAVs to the simulated network gradually and in large numbers at 20% intervals (namely 0% where there are no ConFAVs, 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, and finally 100% where all vehicles within the network were ConFAVs). The average delays and subsequent level of service for the roads within the networks were then assessed against each ConFAV penetration level. This helped understand how the network’s efficiency changes when the number of ConFAVs increases, and the potential benefits for these self-driving vehicles on congestion and the ensuing greenhouse gas emissions. The model showed that a reduction in delay of up to 100% can be achieved by introducing ConFAVs, which translates to a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. This, coupled with the fact that ConFAVs are predominantly electric, points to a future sustainable road transport system. The primary purpose of this research would be to investigate the potential of ConFAVs in reducing traffic congestion and, as a result, greenhouse gas emissions.

JournalSustainability
Journal citation14 (Art. 6910)
ISSN2071-1050
Year2022
PublisherMDPI
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Anyone
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3390/su14116910
Publication dates
Online06 Jun 2022
Publication process dates
Accepted01 Jun 2022
Deposited06 Jun 2022
Copyright holder© 2022 The Authors
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