Hierarchical Optimal Maneuver Planning and Trajectory Control at On-Ramps With Multiple Mainstream Lanes

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Connected Automated Vehicles (CAVs) have the potential to improve traffic operations when they cooperatively maneuver in merging sections. State-of-the-art approaches in cooperative merging either build on heuristics solutions or prohibit mainline CAVs to change lane on multilane highways. This paper proposes a hierarchical cooperative merging control approach that ensures collision-free and traffic-efficient merging through the interaction of a maneuver planner and an operational trajectory controller. The planner predicts future vehicular trajectories, including acceleration trajectories and time instants when lane changes start, in a long horizon up to 50 seconds with a linear prediction model. It establishes the optimal dynamic vehicle sequence in each lane by minimizing predicted traffic disturbances that can propagate upstream and lead to traffic breakdown. During the process, mainline vehicles may change lane to facilitate the on-ramp merging, albeit with a higher ego cost. The operational controller follows the established instructions from the planner and regulates vehicular trajectories with model predictive control in a shorter horizon of 6 seconds. The performance of the designed hierarchical cooperative merging control approach was compared to a cooperative merging method utilizing widely used first-in-first-out rule to establish merging sequences and the same operational controller to generate vehicular trajectories. Systematic comparison shows that the proposed approach consistently results in less disturbances during merging under 528 different scenarios with different traffic states, initial vehicular states, and desired time gap settings. On average, a decrease of 39.18% in disturbances was observed.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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
  • lane-changing decision
  • Merging
  • merging sequence
  • multiple lanes.
  • on-ramp merging
  • Predictive control
  • Predictive models
  • Road transportation
  • Trajectory
  • Vehicle dynamics
  • Vehicle-to-everything


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