Optimal traffic operation for maximum energy efficiency in signal-free urban networks: A macroscopic analytical approach


Civil and Environmental Engineering

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The integration of artificial intelligence and wireless communication technologies in communicant autonomous vehicles (CAVs) enables coordinating the movement of CAV platoons at signal-free intersections. The capacity of signal-free intersections can be significantly improved by adjusting traffic variables at a macroscopic scale; however, the resulting improvement in the capacity does not necessarily have a positive impact on the energy consumption of CAVs at the network level. In this research, we develop an analytical model to enhance energy efficiency by optimizing macroscopic traffic variables in signal-free networks. To this end, we adopt a macroscopic modeling approach to estimate the operational capacity by accounting for the stochasticity resulting from the error in synchronizing the arrival and departure of consecutive platoons in crossing directions at intersections. We also develop a macrolevel analytical model to estimate expected energy loss during the acceleration/deceleration maneuver required for resynchronization at intersections as a function of synchronization success probability. We then maximize energy efficiency by minimizing expected energy loss and maximizing expected capacity in a biobjective optimization framework. We solve the energy efficiency problem using an analytical approach to derive a closed-form solution for the optimal traffic speed and the length of the marginal gap between the passage of consecutive platoons in crossing directions through intersections for a (general) normal distribution of the operational error. Having the closed-form solution of the energy efficiency problem, we balance the trade-off between energy loss and operational capacity at a large scale by extending the analytical model to the network level using the Macroscopic Fundamental Diagram (MFD) concept. The results of our two-ring simulation model indicate the accuracy of the proposed analytical model in estimating the macroscopic relationship between the expected energy loss at intersections and the vehicular density in signal-free networks. Our numerical results also show that optimizing the traffic speed and marginal gap length can improve energy efficiency by 31% at the cost of a 16% decrease in maximum capacity.

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Applied Energy

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