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Open AccessArticle

Platooning of Autonomous Public Transport Vehicles: The Influence of Ride Comfort on Travel Delay

1
Institute of Road, Railway and Airfield Construction, Technical University of Munich, Baumbachstr. 7, 81245 Munich, Germany
2
Rapid Road Transport, TUMCREATE Ltd., 1 Create Way, #10-02 CREATE Tower, Singapore 138602, Singapore
3
Centre for Infrastructure Systems, Nanyang Technological University, N1-01b-51, 50 Nanyang Avenue, Singapore 639798, Singapore
4
Chair of Traffic Engineering and Control, Technical University of Munich, Arcisstr. 21, 80333 Munich, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(19), 5237; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195237
Received: 3 September 2019 / Revised: 20 September 2019 / Accepted: 21 September 2019 / Published: 24 September 2019
The development of advanced technologies has led to the emergence of autonomous vehicles. Herein, autonomous public transport (APT) systems equipped with prioritization measures are being designed to operate at ever faster speeds compared to conventional buses. Innovative APT systems are configured to accommodate prevailing passenger demand for peak as well as non-peak periods, by electronic coupling and decoupling of platooned units along travel corridors, such as the dynamic autonomous road transit (DART) system being researched in Singapore. However, there is always the trade-off between high vehicle speed versus passenger ride comfort, especially lateral ride comfort. This study analyses a new APT system within the urban context and evaluates its performance using microscopic traffic simulation. The platooning protocol of autonomous vehicles was first developed for simulating the coupling/decoupling process. Platooning performance was then simulated on VISSIM platform for various scenarios to compare the performance of DART platooning under several ride comfort levels: three bus comfort and two railway criteria. The study revealed that it is feasible to operate the DART system following the bus standing comfort criterion (ay = 1.5 m/s2) without any significant impact on system travel time. For the DART system operating to maintain a ride comfort of the high-speed train (HST) and light rail transit (LRT), the delay can constitute up to ≈ 10% and ≈ 5% of travel time, respectively. This investigation is crucial for the system delay management towards precisely designed service frequency and improved passenger ride comfort. View Full-Text
Keywords: autonomous public transport; passenger ride comfort; travel time; horizontal alignment; microscopic traffic simulation autonomous public transport; passenger ride comfort; travel time; horizontal alignment; microscopic traffic simulation
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Nguyen, T.; Xie, M.; Liu, X.; Arunachalam, N.; Rau, A.; Lechner, B.; Busch, F.; Wong, Y.D. Platooning of Autonomous Public Transport Vehicles: The Influence of Ride Comfort on Travel Delay. Sustainability 2019, 11, 5237.

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