Atkins are using PTV software to help with a project for the Department for Transport to simulate the potential impact that connected and autonomous vehicles will have on traffic flow and capacity of the British road network.
PTV Vissim is used to analyse if the wide range of regularly-predicted benefits can actually be realised, or whether more caution is required.
Atkins project manager Dr Dave Williams explains, “There are lots of uncertainties around the future of connected and autonomous vehicles. Whilst we are starting to understand what the capabilities might be, our aim for this project is to contemplate a range of different possible futures for CAVs. For example, whilst it is often assumed that CAVs will be able to travel at shorter headways, we are considering scenarios where CAVs are more cautious than the existing vehicle fleet, and looking at the implications for road capacity.
“Our testing in PTV Vissim 8 involves modifying the car-following and lane-changing models to look at a range of different behaviours. Through the COM API we have configured CAVs to change their behaviour type according to the situation – this is an important aspect of evaluating the potential impacts of connectivity.”
PTV Vissim software models all road users and their interactions and is used to model transport networks and travel demand. This means planners can analyse expected traffic flows, plan public transport services and develop advanced transport strategies and solutions.
The project is due to report later this year.