Adaptive cruise control system design and its impact on highway traffic flow

Junmin Wang, Rajesh Rajamani

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


This paper deals with the design of new adaptive cruise control (ACC) systems that can improve traffic flow while at the same time ensuring safe operation on today's highways. ACC systems are commonly designed to maintain a constant time-gap (CTG) between vehicles during vehicle-following. In this paper, a new inter-vehicle spacing policy that is a nonlinear function of vehicle speed is developed. The new spacing policy, referred to as a variable time-gap (VTG) policy, leads to stable traffic flow and a higher capacity. Practical advantages of using the new spacing policy are demonstrated through traffic simulations. However, a detailed analysis of safety shows that the traditional CTG policy is superior in several scenarios. The VTG policy is then modified by explicitly taking inter-vehicle relative velocity into account in the definition of desired spacing. The resulting new spacing policy is shown to provide stable traffic flow, a higher capacity and the same level of safety as the CTG policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3690-3695
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the American Control Conference
StatePublished - 2002
Event2002 American Control Conference - Anchorage, AK, United States
Duration: May 8 2002May 10 2002


  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Safety
  • Traffic flow


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