Document Type


Publication Date

January 1997

Publication Title

Transportation Science

First Page


Last Page



Industrial Engineering | Systems Engineering


Highway congestion has in recent years become a pervasive problem for urban and suburban areas alike. The concept of Automated Highway Systems is based on the belief that integration of sensing, communication, and control technologies into vehicles and highways can lead to a large improvement in capacity and safety without requiring a significant amount of additional highway right-of-way. A fundamental determinant of Automated Highway Systems capacity is the vehicle-following rule, the rule that governs the behavior of vehicles traveling along a common lane (e.g., the spacing between any two longitudinally adjacent vehicles). Vehicle following affects the longitudinal capacity (achievable flow within a lane), the lateral capacity (achievable flow between lanes) and the conflicting relationship between the longitudinal flow and lateral capacity. The issues are investigated by developing probabilistic models for vehicle/platoon and gap distributions, for vehicles that travel in platoons, in slots, or as free-agents. Mathematical models are also developed to estimate the completion time of a lane change, which can be used as a surrogate for the lateral capacity. Numerical results for the three major vehicle-following rules and their comparison are also provided.