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General Accounting Office Report on Intelligent Vehicle Highway Systems

Smart Highways, An Assessment of Their Potential to Improve Travel

Program Evaluation and Methodology Division

May 1991

GAO / PEMD-91-18

Potential Effects

A broad research consensus exists that IVHS can have noteworthy transportation effects, although the empirical basis for this consensus is limited. The most examined effect was on traffic congestion; 36 of the 38 IVHS studies GAO reviewed examined this effect, and all 36 noted positive congestion benefits likely from IVHS. However, only 4 of these studies provided results based on direct field testing, while other results were based on either analytical projections (19) or expert opinion (17).... [O]ne major simulaton study of advanced vehicle control systems found dramatic possibilities in terms of capacity and safety improvements, such as doubling of freeway capacity. This report did, however, caution about the potentially travel-inducing aspects of these systems, which could counteract some of the capacity gains.

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