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Helmond: low level AVs reduce traffic flows for all road users

Posted: 06.05.2020
6 May 2020

Helmond is home to 90,000 inhabitants, of whom a significant portion like to cycle. Thus, the Dutch city in the South-East of the Netherland has an extensive cycling network. Signalised intersections are necessary to guarantee the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians. The interactions between AVs, pedestrians and cyclists and these intersections were modelled to assess the impact of AVs on other road users.  

Results based on the models show that AVs act very cautiously at low levels of automation, as they strictly comply to speed limits and do not accelerate as quickly as a car, driven by a normal person. Since a system of adaptive traffic control is in place, which guarantees cars and AVs a longer green time at the signalised intersection, delays for pedestrians and bicyclists occur.

This negative situation for non-motorised road users only improves, once a significant number of more advanced connected automated vehicles are deployed on the roads.  

Since Helmond is in close proximity to Eindhoven, a Dutch university city and one of the economic centers in the South-East of the Netherlands, many inhabitants of Helmond are commuting to Eindhoven. Even though a fast train connects both cities in ten minutes, around 35.000 still drive on the stretch of highway every single day. Therefore, the ten-kilometer stretch of highway that connects both cities is highly frequented and is divided in zones with different speed limits, an ideal scenario to model tests for AVs.  

Similar to the negative side effects for bicyclists and pedestrians in the other scenario, AVs with a lower level of automation significantly reduced the traffic flows, due to full speed limit compliance and cautious driving behaviour. Advanced and connected AVs enhanced traffic flows, which could be further improved, if these CAVs could create a platoon. It shows when penetration rate is rising and CAV’s become more sophisticated, positive effects will be reached in traffic performance and space utilisation. 

For further information please consult our dedicated page for Helmond.

Further information for Helmond and the three other cities is available in our brochure.