In Chicago, a 2004 feasibility study indicated that automated truck-way technologies (automatic truck steering, speed, and platoon spacing control) would be economically feasible by 2015 assuming there was an increase in demand and lower relative costs for future deployments.

August 2004
Chicago,Illinois,United States

Summary Information

This study investigated the feasibility of implementing a Cooperative Vehicle-Highway Automation System (CVHAS) to improve the performance of bus rapid transit (BRT) operations and freight movement in Chicago, Illinois. The sites chosen for the case study included a metropolitan bus rapid transit circulator system and an intermodal freight interchange system at the port of Chicago.


Using available rail rights-of-way, a new truck-only facility was proposed to serve a selected set of intermodal rail yards, industrial parks, and points-of-entry to the region. The following CVHAS technologies were evaluated to determine their impacts on truck operations:
  • Automatic steering control
  • Automatic longitudinal control in platoons
  • Fully automated driving
The economic feasibility of these technologies was evaluated by comparing five alternative operational concepts.

Alternative 1
  • Baseline (no CVHAS technologies, no truck-only facilities)
Alternative 2
  • Truck-only facility without CVHAS technologies, open to all trucks
  • One standard 12-foot lane in each direction prior to the Year 2015, and a second lane added for several segments of the facility by the Year 2015
Alternative 3
  • Truck-only facility with CVHAS technologies (automatic steering) for equipped trucks only
  • One 10-foot lane in each direction. Automatic steering control makes it possible for equipped trucks to follow lanes very accurately. For maximum width trucks of 9 feet, lanes need only be 10 feet wide rather than the standard 12 feet
Alternative 4
  • Truck-only facility with fully automated CVHAS technologies (automatic steering, automatic speed and spacing control with two or three truck platoons if warranted) for equipped trucks only
  • One 10-foot lane in each direction
Alternative 5
  • Truck-only facility without CVHAS technologies before Year 2015
  • At Year 2015, upgrading the facility to be an automated truck-way (automatic steering, speed and spacing control with two or three truck platoons)
  • One standard 12-foot lane in each direction
A benefit-cost analysis was performed for each alternative operational concept. The analysis used an annual discount rate of seven percent over a period of twenty years (2005 to 2025).
  • The costs associated with each alternative included the following primary cost categories:
  • Construction costs of truck-only roadway
  • Right-of-way costs
  • Annual facility operation and maintenance cost
  • CVHAS equipment and installation costs (facility)
  • CVHAS equipment and installation costs (vehicles)

The benefits for each alternative were limited to estimates of travel time savings and reductions in fuel consumption.

The Chicago Area Transportation Study (CATS) travel forecast model was used to estimate the impacts of CVHAS on the proposed facility for the year 2003. These data were further extrapolated to estimate impacts in future years.

For comparison purposes, the evaluation results below—excerpted from Table 4.16 of the report—are expressed in terms of 2003 dollars.

Alternative 2

Alternative 3

Alternative 4

Alternative 5

Construction costs





ROW costs





Annual O&M





CVHAS costs (facility)





CVHAS costs (vehicles)










Travel time savings





Reduction of fuel consumption










B/C ratio





Factors that had significant influence on each alternative included: Construction costs; CVHAS in-vehicle unit cost; and Travel time savings. A sensitivity analysis was conducted to account for uncertainties associated with these factors and a Monte-Carlo analysis was performed to determine if these factors were independent. Accounting for increased demand and the assumption that the relative costs of each technology would decrease in future years, a t-test indicated that Alternative 5 was economically feasible compared to the baseline case with no truck-only facility.

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Assessment of the Applicability of Cooperative Vehicle-Highway Automation Systems to Bus Transit and Intermodal Freight: Case Study Feasibility Analyses in the Metropolitan Chicago Region

Author: Shladover, Steven E., et al.

Published By: California PATH Program, University of California

Source Date: August 2004

Other Reference Number: Report No. UCB-ITS-PRR-2004-26



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Benefit ID: 2006-00299