Definition of a merging assistant strategy using intelligent vehicles

Riccardo Scarinci*, Andreas Hegyi, Benjamin Heydecker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


In the area of active traffic management, new technologies provide opportunities to improve the use of current infrastructure. Vehicles equipped with in-car communication systems are capable of exchanging messages with the infrastructure and other vehicles. This new capability offers many opportunities for traffic management. This paper presents a novel merging assistant strategy that exploits the communication capabilities of intelligent vehicles. The proposed control requires the cooperation of equipped vehicles on the main carriageway in order to create merging gaps for on-ramp vehicles released by a traffic light. The aim is to reduce disruptions to the traffic flow created by the merging vehicles. This paper focuses on the analytical formulation of the control algorithm, and the traffic flow theories used to define the strategy. The dynamics of the gap formation derived from theoretical considerations are validated using a microscopic simulation. The validation indicates that the control strategy mostly developed from macroscopic theory well approximates microscopic traffic behaviour. The results present encouraging capabilities of the system. The size and frequency of the gaps created on the main carriageway, and the space and time required for their creation are compatible with a real deployment of the system. Finally, we summarise the results of a previous study showing that the proposed merging strategy reduces the occurrence of congestion and the number of late-merging vehicles. This innovative control strategy shows the potential of using intelligent vehicles for facilitating the merging manoeuvre through use of emerging communications technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-179
Number of pages19
JournalTransportation Research. Part C: Emerging Technologies
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2017


  • Active Traffic Management (ATM)
  • Cooperative vehicle
  • Intelligent Transport System (ITS)
  • Intelligent vehicle
  • Motorway merging
  • Ramp metering


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