loading page

Sight Distance of Automated Vehicle Considering Highway Vertical Alignments and Its Implications for Speed Limits
  • +3
  • Shuyi Wang ,
  • Yang Ma ,
  • Said M. Easa ,
  • Hao Zhou ,
  • Yuanwen Lai ,
  • Weijie Chen
Shuyi Wang
College of Civil Engineering

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile
Said M. Easa
Author Profile
Yuanwen Lai
Author Profile
Weijie Chen
Author Profile


Most existing road infrastructures were constructed before the emergence of automated vehicles (AV) without considering their operational needs. Whether and how AV could safely adapt to as-built highway geometry remain inconclusive, and a plausible concern is a challenge from vertical alignments. To fill this gap, this study uses virtual simulation to investigate the available sight distance (ASD) for AV on vertical alignments subject to the current highway geometric design specification, and its implications for speed limits. According to the scenario generation framework, several scenarios featuring vertical geometric elements and the light detection and ranging (LiDAR) sensor were created and tested. Moreover, the maximum speed for adequate ASD is calculated to determine the AV speed limit, considering safe sight distance and speed consistency requirements. The results indicate that crest curves are not disadvantaged in ASD compared with either the sag curves or tangent grades. Only equipped with multi-channel LiDAR and advanced perception algorithms enabling a lower detection threshold, would Level 4 AV be compatible with the as-built vertical alignment with a design speed (Vd) of 100 km/h. However, Level 3 AV can only adapt to the vertical profile with Vd = 60 km/h. The findings of this study should be of interest to the road-oriented operational design domain and support road administrators in regulating AV safe speeds.
2023Published in IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Magazine on pages 2-18. 10.1109/MITS.2023.3334769