Using advanced adaptive cruise control systems to reduce congestion at sags: An evaluation based on microscopic traffic simulation

Bernat Goñi-Ros, Wouter J. Schakel, Alexandros E. Papacharalampous, Meng Wang, Victor L. Knoop, Ichiro Sakata, Bart van Arem, Serge P. Hoogendoorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
45 Downloads (Pure)


Sags are roadway sections along which the gradient increases gradually in the direction of traffic. Sags are generally bottlenecks in freeway networks. Previous research suggests that traffic management measures using advanced Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) systems could reduce congestion on freeways, but little is known about their potential effectiveness at sags. This article evaluates the effectiveness of a basic ACC system (B-ACC) and two advanced ACC systems – Traffic State-Adaptive ACC (TSA-ACC) and Cooperative ACC (C-ACC) – in mitigating congestion at sags. TSA-ACC adapts the ACC parameters to the macroscopic traffic state estimated by the vehicle itself. C-ACC uses information of other vehicles in the surroundings to adjust its accelerations. Results are obtained using microscopic traffic simulations with different penetration rates. They show that, under high-demand conditions, congestion decreases with increasing percentage of vehicles equipped with B-ACC. With high penetration rates (75% and above), traffic no longer becomes congested at the sag. Moreover, the results show that TSA-ACC and C-ACC reduce congestion more than B-ACC, mainly because they increase the queue discharge capacity of the sag. The two advanced ACC systems prevent the formation of congestion at the sag at lower penetration rates than B-ACC. TSA-ACC is the most effective system. C-ACC is only more effective than B-ACC in scenarios with 20% penetration rate or higher; below that, connectivity between equipped vehicles is too low. Our findings show the potential of using advanced ACC systems to mitigate congestion at sags and indicate some challenges of this traffic management approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-426
Number of pages16
JournalTransportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project 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.


  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Freeway capacity
  • Microscopic traffic simulation
  • Sag vertical curve
  • Traffic management


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