AbstractIn the conventional human driving environment, due to poor traffic information transmission and the inability to actively control vehicles, variable speed limits (VSLs) and ramp metering (RM) strategies often fail to achieve the desired results when dealing with the merging zone of an expressway under high traffic demand. To improve traffic efficiency, an integrated control method for traffic flow in the merging area of expressways is proposed by combining connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) active lane change (LC) technology with traditional VSL and entrance RM strategies. This method uses an upgraded cell transmission model (CTM) to estimate the state of the mainline and ramp input traffic volume and then uses the genetic algorithm (GA) to solve for the optimal combination of the mainline speed limit, number of mainline vehicles changing lanes, and ramp regulation under maximized flow in the merging zone. This integrated control strategy incorporating VSL, LC, and RM (VSL-LC-RM) enables synergistic control of the mainline and ramp traffic entering the merging zone in time-space. Finally, simulation experiments are conducted with the mainline two-lane and on-ramp single-lane expressway merging zone scenarios. The results show that compared with the VSL strategy and the strategy incorporating only VSL and RM (VSL-RM), the proposed VSL-LC-RM strategy can enhance the regulation of traffic flow, improve the flow of merging bottlenecks, and make full use of the road space-time resources.

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