Investigating the safety and operational benefits of mixed traffic environments with different automated vehicle market penetration rates in the proximity of a driveway on an urban arterial.
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Traffic congestion is monotonically increasing, especially in large cities, due to rapid urbanization. Traffic congestion not only deteriorates traffic operation and degrades traffic safety, but also imposes costs to the road users. The concerns associated with traffic congestion increase when considering more complicated situations such as unsignalized intersections and driveways at which maneuvers are entirely dependent upon drivers' judgment. Urban arterials are characterized by closely spaced signalized and unsignalized intersections and high traffic volumes, which make them a priority while analyzing traffic safety and operation. Autonomous Vehicles (AV) provide ample opportunities to overcome the aforementioned challenges. In essence, this study evaluates the impact of various AV Market Penetration Rates (MPR) on the safety and operation of urban arterials in proximity of a driveway under different traffic levels of service (LOS). Twenty-four separate scenarios were developed using VISSIM, considering six AV MPRs of 0 %, 10 %, 25 %, 50 %, 75 %, and 100 %, and four LOS including A, B, C, and D. Various operational and safety measures were analyzed including traffic density, traffic speed, traffic conflict (rear-end and lane-changing), and driving volatility. The trajectory and lane-based analysis of the traffic density indicates that MPR significantly improves the overall traffic density for all the scenarios, especially under high traffic LOS. Additionally, by increasing the MPR and decreasing the traffic volume of the network, the mean speed increases significantly by up to 6 %. Exploring the safety of the scenarios indicates that by increasing the MPR from 0% to 100 % for all the LOS, the number of rear-end conflicts and lane-changing conflicts decreases 84 %-100 % and 42 %-100 %, respectively. Moreover, assessing the longitudinal driving volatility measures, which represent risky driving behaviors, showed that higher MPRs significantly reduce some of the driving volatility measures and enhance safety.