Traffic congestion on metropolitan motorways is a serious threat for the economic and social life of modern societies, as well as for the environment, which calls for drastic and radical solutions. Some conventional traffic management measures currently applied, face limitations. During the last decade, there has been an enormous effort to develop a variety of Vehicle Automation and Communication Systems (VACS) that are expected to revolutionise the features and capabilities of individual vehicles within the next decades. VACS are typically developed to benefit the individual vehicle, without a clear view or understanding for the implications, potential advantages and disadvantages they may have for the resulting, accordingly modified traffic characteristics. Thus, the gradual introduction of VACS brings along the (largely ignored) necessity and continuously growing opportunities for accordingly adapted or utterly new traffic management actions and strategies.

It is the main objective of TRAMAN21 to develop the foundations and first steps that will pave the way towards a new era of future motorway traffic management research and practice, which is indispensable in order to accompany, complement and exploit the evolving VACS deployment. TRAMAN21 assesses the relevance of VACS for improved traffic flow and develops specific options for a sensible upgrade of the traffic conditions, particularly at the network’s weak points, i.e. at bottlenecks and incident locations. The proposed work comprises the development of new traffic flow modelling and control approaches, on the basis of appropriate methods from many-particle Physics, Automatic Control and Optimisation, to consider and exploit the novel vehicle capabilities at a network-wide level. A field trial is included, aiming at a preliminary testing and demonstration of the developed concepts.

TRAMAN21 risk stems from the uncertainty in the VACS evolution, which is a challenge for the required modelling and control developments. But, if successful, TRAMAN21 will contribute to a substantial reduction of the estimated annual European traffic congestion cost of 120 billion € and related environmental pollution and will trigger further innovative developments and a new era of traffic flow modelling and control research.