Impacts of autonomous vehicles on traffic flow characteristics under mixed traffic environment: Future perspectives

Mohammed Al-Turki*, Nedal T. Ratrout, Syed Masiur Rahman, Imran Reza

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Vehicle automation and communication technologies are considered promising approaches to improve operational driving behavior. The expected gradual implementation of autonomous vehicles (AVs) shortly will cause unique impacts on the traffic flow characteristics. This paper focuses on reviewing the expected impacts under a mixed traffic environment of AVs and regular vehicles (RVs) considering different AV characteristics. The paper includes a policy implication discussion for possible actual future practice and research interests. The AV implementation has positive impacts on the traffic flow, such as improved traffic capacity and stability. However, the impact depends on the factors including penetration rate of the AVs, characteristics, and operational settings of the AVs, traffic volume level, and human driving behavior. The critical penetration rate, which has a high potential to improve traffic characteristics, was higher than 40%. AV’s intelligent control of operational driving is a function of its operational settings, mainly car-following modeling. Different adjustments of these settings may improve some traffic flow parameters and may deteriorate others. The position and distribution of AVs and the type of their leading or following vehicles may play a role in maximizing their impacts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11052
Issue number19
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: The authors would like to gratefully acknowledge the support of King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM) in conducting this research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Autonomous vehicle (AV)
  • Mixed traffic environment
  • Policy implication
  • Regular vehicle (RV)
  • Road capacity
  • Traffic stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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