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Technical and economic viability of automated highway systems : preliminary analysis
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    Transferred from EDL on 5/14/2008

    Technical and economic investigations of automated highway systems (AHS) are addressed. It has generally been accepted that such systems show potential to alleviate urban traffic congestion, so most of the AHS research has been focused instead on technical design and implementation issues. It is demonstrated that, despite making a number of assumptions that are favorable to AHS, the actual viable implementation opportunities for AHS are scarce, and that most existing congested urban areas can be disqualified on the basis of at least one criterion developed herein. Technical investigations are described, including realistic estimates of AHS capacity, interfacing with the local street system, and storage issues. Discussion then turns to identifying criteria to help establish the types of urban areas that might be likely candidates for AHS technology. These criteria relate to the nature of the surrounding infrastructure and the traffic demands placed on it, as well as the economic realities of AHS implementation. Certain “boutique” locations where AHS might be beneficial are identified, but it is uncertain whether enough benefit could be realized to make AHS palatable to the general public. AHS technology is not dismissed, but the simple analyses contained herein should warn that much more research into these areas is required before fully informed decision making about the future of AHS technologies can be accomplished.

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