Reducing Traffic Jams via VANETs
A transition from free flow to congested traffic on highways often spontaneously originates, despite the fact that the road could satisfy a higher traffic demand. The reasons for such a traffic breakdown are perturbations caused by human drivers in dense traffic. We present a strategy to reduce traffic congestion with the help of vehicle-to-vehicle communication. Periodically emitted beacons are used to analyze traffic flow and to warn other drivers of a possible traffic breakdown. Drivers who receive such a warning are told to keep a larger gap to their predecessor. By doing so, they are less likely to be the source of perturbations, which can cause a traffic breakdown. We analyze the proposed strategy via computer simulations and investigate which fraction of communicating vehicles is necessary until a beneficial influence on traffic flow is observable. We show that penetration rates of 10$%$ and less can have significant influence on traffic flow and travel times. In addition to applying a realistic mobility model, we further increase the degree of realism by the use of empirical traffic data from loop detectors on a German Autobahn.
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