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Advanced Freeway Merge Assistance: Harnessing the Potential of Connected Vehicles

Project Information

Project ID: 
Project Status: 
Start Date: 
Thursday, October 29, 2009
End Date: 
Saturday, June 30, 2012
FHWA Program: 
Exploratory Advanced Research
FHWA Topics: 
Research/Technologies--Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC)
TRT Terms: 
Traffic Control; Operations; Research; Communication Systems; Safety; Traffic Simulation; Merging; Ramps
FHWA Discipline: 
TRB Subject Area: 
Operations and Traffic Management

Contact Information

First Name: 
Last Name: 
(202) 493-3045
Email Address: 
Program Management
Office of Operations Research and Development
Office Code: 

Project Details

Project Description: 

This project will investigate advanced freeway merge assistance strategies that can potentially be enabled by harnessing the potential of connected vehicle communication technologies. Strategies will be developed and assessed using simulation models of traffic and communication systems that provide measures of mobility and safety impacts.


The strategies to be developed and evaluated will include:

(1) Dynamic Lane Control: Connected Vehicle technology will be used to identify available capacity in lanes to the left of the mainline merge lane and then encourage vehicles in the merge lane to shift, creating additional merge capacity. The ability of Connected Vehicles to provide rich monitoring data and to pinpoint vehicle advisories and lane specific speed/pricing will be used.

(2) Gaps, Responsive Metering: Using high-resolution individual vehicle trajectory data from connected vehicles, the system will be able to institute aggressive dynamic metering rates to take advantage of gaps for merging traffic.

(3) Merge Control: Finally, as vehicles attempt to merge into traffic, vehicle-to-vehicle communications will be utilized to provide cooperative merging. In essence, this will provide a high-tech, late merge approach that has proven successful in work zones. The capabilities of connected vehicles will allow for merging in smaller gaps, increasing capacity. The automation provided by connected vehicles will be used to mitigate potential driver error to significantly reduce crashes.


Deliverable Name: 
Final Report and Datasets
Deliverable Type: 
Research report or guidelines
Deliverable Description: 
Technical report summarizing research findings, data, and recommendations.
Deliverable Name: 
Simulation Testbed Operational
Deliverable Type: 
Deliverable Description: 
Simulation testbed available for research at University of Virginia.
Deliverable Name: 
Concept developed for gap-responsive ramp signals
Deliverable Type: 
Research report or guidelines
Deliverable Description: 
Documented concept for gap-responsive algorithm and microscopic simulation through VISSIM results. (VISSIM is a German acronym that refers to a simulation model for traffic in cities.)
Deliverable Name: 
Concept developed for merging control
Deliverable Type: 
Research report or guidelines
Deliverable Description: 
Algorithm and tests using microsimulation model.