Thursday 15 Dec 2016Dynamics seminar: A New Theory of Lane Selection on Highways

Prof. Eddie Wilson - University of Bristol

H101 14:30-16:30

For general interest, I will begin with a brisk overview of where I think Mathematics / Data Analytics can make key contributions to transport systems over the next few years. The technical part of my talk will then focus on a new theory that I have developed with Femke van Wageningen-Kessels (TU Delft) - presently under review - which attempts to explain how multiclass traffic (cars, trucks etc) distributes itself across the lanes of a highway. The theory is not concerned with the mechanics of lane-changing moves themselves, but rather the rationale for a driver's long-term lane choice, which we place in a game-theory setting. As one varies the numbers of lanes and classes, the parameters of the vehicle classes, and the total traffic demand (in terms of flow or density), the game-theory model displays a range of bifurcations in how the various classes choose to share the lanes of the highway - including interesting nonlinear effects such as coexistence etc. The phase diagrams that we derive suggest control strategies that would improve capacity, some of which have already been discovered on an ad hoc basis. The basic theory that I will describe is in fact steady state, and assumes perfect rationality on the part of drivers. If time permits, I will discuss extensions to include spatiotemporal dynamics and stochastic decision making.

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