Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Major Professor

Xiaopeng Li, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Fred Mannering, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Bertini, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Changhyun Kwon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kaiqi Xiong, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Xiaobo Qu, Ph.D.


Traffic Smoothing, CAV, Mixed Traffic, Traffic Control, Trajectory Prediction


Emerging connected and autonomous vehicle technologies (CAV) provide an opportunity to improve highway capacity and reduce adverse impacts of stop-and-go traffic. To realize the potential benefits of CAV technologies, this study provides insightful methodological and managerial tools in microscopic and macroscopic traffic scales. In the macroscopic scale, this dissertation proposes an analytical method to formulate highway capacity for a mixed traffic environment where a portion of vehicles are CAVs and the remaining are human-driven vehicles (HVs). The proposed analytical mixed traffic highway capacity model is based on a Markov chain representation of spatial distribution of heterogeneous and stochastic headways. This model captures not only the full spectrum of CAV market penetration rates but also all possible values of CAV platooning intensities that largely affect the spatial distribution of different headway types. Numerical experiments verify that this analytical model accurately quantifies the corresponding mixed traffic capacity at various settings. This analytical model allows for examination of the impact of different CAV technology scenarios on mixed traffic capacity. We identify sufficient and necessary conditions for the mixed traffic capacity to increase (or decrease) with CAV market penetration rate and platooning intensity. These theoretical results caution scholars not to take CAVs as a sure means of increasing highway capacity for granted but rather to quantitatively analyze the actual headway settings before drawing any qualitative conclusion.

In the microscopic scale, this study develops innovative control strategies to smooth highway traffic using CAV technologies. First, it formulates a simplified traffic smoothing model for guiding movements of CAVs on a general one-lane highway segment. The proposed simplified model is able to control the overall smoothness of a platoon of CAVs and approximately optimize traffic performance in terms of fuel efficiency and driving comfort. The elegant theoretical properties for the general objective function and the associated constraints provides an efficient analytical algorithm for solving this problem to the exact optimum. Numerical examples reveal that this exact algorithm has an efficient computational performance and a satisfactory solution quality. This trajectory-based traffic smoothing concept is then extended to develop a joint trajectory and signal optimization problem. This problem simultaneously solves the optimal CAV trajectory function shape and the signal timing plan to minimize travel time delay and fuel consumption. The proposed algorithm simplifies the vehicle trajectory and fuel consumption functions that leads to an efficient optimization model that provides exact solutions. Numerical experiments reveal that this algorithm is applicable to any signalized crossing points including intersections and work-zones. Further, the model is tested with various traffic conditions and roadway geometries. These control approaches are then extended to a mixed traffic environment with HVs, connected vehicles (CVs), and CAVs by proposing a CAV-based speed harmonization algorithm. This algorithm develops an innovative traffic prediction model to estimate the real-time status of downstream traffic using traffic sensor data and information provided by CVs and CAVs. With this prediction, the algorithm controls the upstream CAVs so that they smoothly hedge against the backward deceleration waves and gradually merge into the downstream traffic with a reasonable speed. This model addresses the full spectrum of CV and CAV market penetration rates and various traffic conditions. Numerical experiments are performed to assess the algorithm performance with different traffic conditions and CV and CAV market penetration rates. The results show significant improvements in damping traffic oscillations and reducing fuel consumption.