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Truck platooning is an essential application of connected and autonomous vehicles, where several trucks are connected to each other forming a platoon. It is envisioned that truck platooning can assist in minimizing transportation challenges related to freight movements in the US by improving traffic operation, safety and reducing fuel consumption and emission. One of the most valuable truck corridors in the US is in the South-central region. This study investigates the impacts of truck platooning on US highways in that region using both corridor and network-level simulation analysis. Also, the impact of truck platooning on the pavement was quantified using finite element modeling.

A microsimulation model was developed in Vissim to model the operational, environmental (fuel savings, and emission), and safety impacts of various truck platooning scenarios at the corridor level. An economic feasibility study was also performed to quantify the impacts of truck platoons in monetary terms. The results of the analysis were compared with a base scenario with human-driven trucks. The microsimulation results suggest that truck platooning improved traffic operation, traffic safety, minimize vehicular emissions and fuel consumptions during off-peak hours. However, it deteriorates the traffic performance in the peak period if the truck platoon contains more than two trucks. Recommendations for the best truck platooning configurations during peak and off-peak hours were also provided based on the economic analysis.

In addition to the microscopic analysis, a large-scale analysis of the impacts of truck platooning on congestion and traffic flow dynamics is conducted. Accordingly, a simulation model of I-35 is developed and the impacts of various market penetration rates of truck platooning as well as the size of the platoon on traffic flow dynamics were explored. The findings show that smaller platoons and higher market penetration rates results in less scatter in flow-density diagram and smoother traffic flow.

Finally, the impact of truck platooning on pavement were also addressed using the elastic and dynamic-viscoelastic finite element method (FEM) models. The mechanical response obtained from the simulations are implemented to predict the effects of platooning due to limited wandering (lateral movement of truck tires). Based on the results, it can be concluded that wandering pattern can have influential effect on the fatigue life and permanent deformation damage. Economic analysis shows that the fixed-path platooning can significantly increase the construction-maintenance cost of the pavement.


Tran-SET Project: 19PITSLSU14