A Hierarchical Model-Based Optimization Control Approach for Cooperative Merging by Connected Automated Vehicles

N. Chen, B. van Arem, Tom Alkim, M. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)
109 Downloads (Pure)


Gap selection and dynamic speed profiles of interacting vehicles at on-ramps affect the safety and efficiency of highway merging sections. This paper puts forward a hierarchical control approach for Connected Automated Vehicles (CAVs) to achieve efficient and safe merging operations. A tactical layer controller employs a second-order car-following model with a cooperative merging mode to represent a cooperative merging process and generates an optimal vehicle merging sequence and time instants when on-ramp CAVs start to adapt their speeds and positions to prepare merging into the target gaps respectively. An operational layer controller is designed based on Model Predictive Control (MPC). It uses a third-order vehicle dynamics model and optimizes desired accelerations for CAVs and the time instants when the on-ramp CAVs initiate the lane-changing executions respectively. Both the tactical layer controller and operational layer controller derive their control commands by minimizing an objective function for different time horizons. The objective function penalizes deviations of CAVs' inter-vehicle gaps to their desired values, relative speeds to their direct predecessors, and actual or desired accelerations, subject to constraints on velocities, actual or desired accelerations, and inter-vehicle gaps. The performance of the proposed hierarchical control framework and a benchmark on-ramp merging method using a first-in-first-out rule to determine the merging sequence is demonstrated under 135 scenarios with different initial conditions, desired time gap settings, and numbers of on-ramp vehicles. The experimental results show the superiority of the hierarchical control approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7712-7725
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems
Volume22 (2021)
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Connected automated vehicles (CAVs)
  • merging sequence
  • on-ramp merging
  • optimization control


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