Network flow relations and travel time reliability in a connected environment

Archak Mittal, Hani S Mahmassani*, Alireza Talebpour

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Connected vehicle technology provides the opportunity to create a connected network of vehicles and infrastructure. In such a network, individual vehicles can communicate with each other and with the infrastructure, including a traffic management center. The effects of connectivity on reducing congestion and improving throughput and reliability have been extensively investigated at the segment (facility) level. To complement the segment-level studies and to assess the large-scale effects of connectivity, this paper presents a networkwide evaluation of the effect of connectivity on travel time reliability. This study uses a microscopic simulation framework to establish the speed–density relationships at different market penetration rates (MPRs) of connected vehicles. Calibrated speed–density relationships are then used as inputs to the mesoscopic simulation tools to simulate the networkwide effects of connectivity. The Chicago, Illinois, and Salt Lake City, Utah, networks are simulated. Numerical results from the simulations confirm that the linear relationship between distance-weighted travel time rate and standard deviation holds for both networks and is not affected by either the demand level or the MPR of connected vehicles. In addition, with an increase in the MPR of connected vehicles, the network attains a lower maximum density and gets an increased flow rate for the same density level. Highly connected environment has the potential to help a congested network to recover from a breakdown and avoid gridlock. It is shown that a connected environment can improve a system’s performance by providing increased traffic flow rate and better travel time reliability at all demand levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-37
Number of pages14
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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