The impact of a dedicated lane for connected and automated vehicles on the behaviour of drivers of manual vehicles

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Connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) are expected to enhance traffic efficiency by driving at shorter time headways, and traffic safety by shorter reaction times. However, one of the main concerns regarding their deployment is the mixed traffic situation, in which CAVs and manually driven vehicles (MVs) share the same road. This study investigates the behavioural adaptation of MV drivers in car-following and lane changing behaviour when they drive next to a dedicated lane (DL) for CAVs and compares that to a mixed traffic situation. The expectation is that in a mixed traffic situation, the behavioural adaptation of MV drivers is negligible due to lower exposure time and scarce platoons, while concentrating the CAVs on one dedicated lane may cause significant behavioural adaptation of MV drivers due to a higher exposure time and conspicuity of CAV platoons. Fifty-one participants were asked to drive an MV on a 3-lane motorway in three different traffic scenarios, in a fixed-base driving simulator: (1) Base, only MVs were present in traffic, (2) Mixed, platoons of 2–3 CAVs driving on any lane and mixed with MVs, (3) DL, platoons of 2–3 CAVs driving only on a DL. The DL was recognizable by road signs and a buffer demarcation which separated the DL from the other lanes. A moderate penetration rate of 43% was assumed for CAVs. During the drives, the car following headways and the accepted merging gaps by participants were collected and used for comparisons of driving behaviour in different scenarios. Based on the results, we conclude that there is no significant difference in the driving behaviour between Base and Mixed scenarios at tested penetration rate, confirming our research expectation. However, in DL scenario, MV drivers drove closer to their leaders specially when driving on the middle lane next to the platoons and accepted shorter gaps (up to 12.7% shorter at on-ramps) in lane changing manoeuvres. Dedicating a lane to CAVs increases the density of CAV platoons on one lane and consequently their conspicuity becomes higher. As a result, MV drivers are influenced by CAV platoons on a DL and imitate their behaviour. The literature suggests that dedicating a lane to CAVs improves the traffic efficiency by providing more possibilities for platooning. This study shows that implementing such a solution will affect the driving behaviour of human drivers. This should be taken into consideration when evaluating the impacts of dedicated lanes on traffic efficiency and traffic safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-153
Number of pages13
JournalTransportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Behavioural adaptation
  • Car-following
  • Connected and automated vehicles
  • Dedicated lanes
  • Gap acceptance in lane changing


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