Influence of connected and autonomous vehicles on traffic flow stability and throughput

Alireza Talebpour, Hani S Mahmassani*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

827 Scopus citations


The introduction of connected and autonomous vehicles will bring changes to the highway driving environment. Connected vehicle technology provides real-time information about the surrounding traffic condition and the traffic management center's decisions. Such information is expected to improve drivers’ efficiency, response, and comfort while enhancing safety and mobility. Connected vehicle technology can also further increase efficiency and reliability of autonomous vehicles, though these vehicles could be operated solely with their on-board sensors, without communication. While several studies have examined the possible effects of connected and autonomous vehicles on the driving environment, most of the modeling approaches in the literature do not distinguish between connectivity and automation, leaving many questions unanswered regarding the implications of different contemplated deployment scenarios. There is need for a comprehensive acceleration framework that distinguishes between these two technologies while modeling the new connected environment. This study presents a framework that utilizes different models with technology-appropriate assumptions to simulate different vehicle types with distinct communication capabilities. The stability analysis of the resulting traffic stream behavior using this framework is presented for different market penetration rates of connected and autonomous vehicles. The analysis reveals that connected and autonomous vehicles can improve string stability. Moreover, automation is found to be more effective in preventing shockwave formation and propagation under the model's assumptions. In addition to stability, the effects of these technologies on throughput are explored, suggesting substantial potential throughput increases under certain penetration scenarios.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-163
Number of pages21
JournalTransportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Autonomous vehicles
  • Connected vehicles
  • Stability analysis
  • Throughput

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Computer Science Applications


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