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Transportation Systems Engineering

1. Fundamental Parameters of Traffic Flow

Chapter 1
Fundamental Parameters of Traffic
Flow
1.1

Overview

Traffic engineering pertains to the analysis of the behavior of traffic and to design the facilities
for a smooth, safe and economical operation of traffic. Traffic flow, like the flow of water,
has several parameters associated with it. The traffic stream parameters provide information
regarding the nature of traffic flow, which helps the analyst in detecting any variation in flow
characteristics. Understanding traffic behavior requires a thorough knowledge of traffic stream
parameters and their mutual relationships. In this chapter the basic concepts of traffic flow is
presented.

1.2

Traffic stream parameters

The traffic stream includes a combination of driver and vehicle behavior. The driver or human
behavior being non-uniform, traffic stream is also non-uniform in nature. It is influenced not
only by the individual characteristics of both vehicle and human but also by the way a group
of such units interacts with each other. Thus a flow of traffic through a street of defined
characteristics will vary both by location and time corresponding to the changes in the human
behavior.
The traffic engineer, but for the purpose of planning and design, assumes that these changes
are within certain ranges which can be predicted. For example, if the maximum permissible
speed of a highway is 60 kmph, the whole traffic stream can be assumed to move on an average
speed of 40 kmph rather than 100 or 20 kmph.
Thus the traffic stream itself is having some parameters on which the characteristics can
be predicted. The parameters can be mainly classified as : measurements of quantity, which
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

1.1

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

1. Fundamental Parameters of Traffic Flow

includes density and flow of traffic and measurements of quality which includes speed. The
traffic stream parameters can be macroscopic which characterizes the traffic as a whole or
microscopic which studies the behavior of individual vehicle in the stream with respect to each
other.
As far as the macroscopic characteristics are concerned, they can be grouped as measurement
of quantity or quality as described above, i.e. flow, density, and speed. While the microscopic
characteristics include the measures of separation, i.e. the headway or separation between
vehicles which can be either time or space headway. The fundamental stream characteristics
are speed, flow, and density and are discussed below.

1.3

Speed

Speed is considered as a quality measurement of travel as the drivers and passengers will be
concerned more about the speed of the journey than the design aspects of the traffic. It is
defined as the rate of motion in distance per unit of time. Mathematically speed or velocity v
is given by,
d
(1.1)
v=
t
where, v is the speed of the vehicle in m/s, d is distance traveled in m in time t seconds. Speed
of different vehicles will vary with respect to time and space. To represent these variation,
several types of speed can be defined. Important among them are spot speed, running speed,
journey speed, time mean speed and space mean speed. These are discussed below.

1.3.1

Spot Speed

Spot speed is the instantaneous speed of a vehicle at a specified location. Spot speed can be
used to design the geometry of road like horizontal and vertical curves, super elevation etc.
Location and size of signs, design of signals, safe speed, and speed zone determination, require
the spot speed data. Accident analysis, road maintenance, and congestion are the modern fields
of traffic engineer, which uses spot speed data as the basic input. Spot speed can be measured
using an enoscope, pressure contact tubes or direct timing procedure or radar speedometer or
by time-lapse photographic methods. It can be determined by speeds extracted from video
images by recording the distance travelling by all vehicles between a particular pair of frames.

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1.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

1.3.2

1. Fundamental Parameters of Traffic Flow

Running speed

Running speed is the average speed maintained over a particular course while the vehicle is
moving and is found by dividing the length of the course by the time duration the vehicle was
in motion. i.e. this speed doesnt consider the time during which the vehicle is brought to a
stop, or has to wait till it has a clear road ahead. The running speed will always be more than
or equal to the journey speed, as delays are not considered in calculating the running speed

1.3.3

Journey speed

Journey speed is the effective speed of the vehicle on a journey between two points and is the
distance between the two points divided by the total time taken for the vehicle to complete the
journey including any stopped time. If the journey speed is less than running speed, it indicates
that the journey follows a stop-go condition with enforced acceleration and deceleration. The
spot speed here may vary from zero to some maximum in excess of the running speed. A
uniformity between journey and running speeds denotes comfortable travel conditions.

1.3.4

Time mean speed and space mean speed

Time mean speed is defined as the average speed of all the vehicles passing a point on a highway
over some specified time period. Space mean speed is defined as the average speed of all the
vehicles occupying a given section of a highway over some specified time period. Both mean
speeds will always be different from each other except in the unlikely event that all vehicles
are traveling at the same speed. Time mean speed is a point measurement while space mean
speed is a measure relating to length of highway or lane, i.e. the mean speed of vehicles over
a period of time at a point in space is time mean speed and the mean speed over a space at a
given instant is the space mean speed.

1.4

Flow

There are practically two ways of counting the number of vehicles on a road. One is flow or
volume, which is defined as the number of vehicles that pass a point on a highway or a given
lane or direction of a highway during a specific time interval. The measurement is carried out
by counting the number of vehicles, nt , passing a particular point in one lane in a defined period
t. Then the flow q expressed in vehicles/hour is given by
q=
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

nt
t

1.3

(1.2)
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Transportation Systems Engineering

1. Fundamental Parameters of Traffic Flow

Flow is expressed in planning and design field taking a day as the measurement of time.

1.4.1

Variations of Volume

The variation of volume with time, i.e. month to month, day to day, hour to hour and within a
hour is also as important as volume calculation. Volume variations can also be observed from
season to season. Volume will be above average in a pleasant motoring month of summer, but
will be more pronounced in rural than in urban area. But this is the most consistent of all the
variations and affects the traffic stream characteristics the least.
Weekdays, Saturdays and Sundays will also face difference in pattern. But comparing day
with day, patterns for routes of a similar nature often show a marked similarity, which is useful
in enabling predictions to be made.
The most significant variation is from hour to hour. The peak hour observed during mornings and evenings of weekdays, which is usually 8 to 10 per cent of total daily flow or 2 to 3
times the average hourly volume. These trips are mainly the work trips, which are relatively
stable with time and more or less constant from day to day.

1.4.2

Types of volume measurements

Since there is considerable variation in the volume of traffic, several types of measurements of
volume are commonly adopted which will average these variations into a single volume count
to be used in many design purposes.
1. Average Annual Daily Traffic(AADT) : The average 24-hour traffic volume at a
given location over a full 365-day year, i.e. the total number of vehicles passing the site
in a year divided by 365.
2. Average Annual Weekday Traffic(AAWT) : The average 24-hour traffic volume
occurring on weekdays over a full year. It is computed by dividing the total weekday
traffic volume for the year by 260.
3. Average Daily Traffic(ADT) : An average 24-hour traffic volume at a given location
for some period of time less than a year. It may be measured for six months, a season, a
month, a week, or as little as two days. An ADT is a valid number only for the period
over which it was measured.
4. Average Weekday Traffic(AWT) : An average 24-hour traffic volume occurring on
weekdays for some period of time less than one year, such as for a month or a season.
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Transportation Systems Engineering

1. Fundamental Parameters of Traffic Flow

Figure 1:1: Illustration of density


The relationship between AAWT and AWT is analogous to that between AADT and ADT.
Volume in general is measured using different ways like manual counting, detector/sensor counting, moving-car observer method, etc. Mainly the volume study establishes the importance of
a particular route with respect to the other routes, the distribution of traffic on road, and the
fluctuations in flow. All which eventually determines the design of a highway and the related
facilities. Thus, volume is treated as the most important of all the parameters of traffic stream.

1.5

Density

Density is defined as the number of vehicles occupying a given length of highway or lane and
is generally expressed as vehicles per km. One can photograph a length of road x, count the
number of vehicles, nx , in one lane of the road at that point of time and derive the density k
as,
nx
(1.3)
k=
x
This is illustrated in figure 1:1. From the figure, the density is the number of vehicles between
the point A and B divided by the distance between A and B. Density is also equally important
as flow but from a different angle as it is the measure most directly related to traffic demand.
Again it measures the proximity of vehicles in the stream which in turn affects the freedom to
maneuver and comfortable driving.

1.6

Derived characteristics

From the fundamental traffic flow characteristics like flow, density, and speed, a few other
parameters of traffic flow can be derived. Significant among them are the time headway,
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

1.5

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

1. Fundamental Parameters of Traffic Flow

distance headway and travel time. They are discussed one by one below.

1.6.1

Time headway

The microscopic character related to volume is the time headway or simply headway. Time
headway is defined as the time difference between any two successive vehicles when they cross
a given point. Practically, it involves the measurement of time between the passage of one rear
bumper and the next past a given point. If all headways h in time period, t, over which flow
has been measured are added then,
nt
X
hi = t
(1.4)
1

But the flow is defined as the number of vehicles nt measured in time interval t, that is,
q=

nt
1
nt
= Pnt =
t
hav
1 hi

(1.5)

where, hav is the average headway. Thus average headway is the inverse of flow. Time headway
is often referred to as simply the headway.

1.6.2

Distance headway

Another related parameter is the distance headway. It is defined as the distance between
corresponding points of two successive vehicles at any given time. It involves the measurement
from a photograph, the distance from rear bumper of lead vehicle to rear bumper of following
vehicle at a point of time. If all the space headways in distance x over which the density has
been measured are added,
nx
X
si = x
(1.6)
1

But the density (k) is the number of vehicles nx at a distance of x, that is


k=

1
nx
nx
= P nx =
x
sav
1 si

(1.7)

Where, sav is average distance headway. The average distance headway is the inverse of density
and is sometimes called as spacing.

1.6.3

Travel time

Travel time is defined as the time taken to complete a journey. As the speed increases, travel
time required to reach the destination also decreases and vice-versa. Thus travel time is inversely
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

1.6

February 19, 2014

1. Fundamental Parameters of Traffic Flow

distance

distance

Transportation Systems Engineering

time
(a)

(b)

distance

time

time
(c)

Figure 1:2: Time space diagram for a single vehicle


proportional to the speed. However, in practice, the speed of a vehicle fluctuates over time and
the travel time represents an average measure.

1.7

Time-space diagram

Time space diagram is a convenient tool in understanding the movement of vehicles. It shows
the trajectory of vehicles in the form of a two dimensional plot. Time space diagram can be
plotted for a single vehicle as well as multiple vehicles. They are discussed below.

1.7.1

Single vehicle

Taking one vehicle at a time, analysis can be carried out on the position of the vehicle with
respect to time. This analysis will generate a graph which gives the relation of its position on
a road stretch relative to time. This plot thus will be between distance x and time t and x
will be a functions the position of the vehicle for every t along the road stretch. This graphical
representation of x(t) in a (t, x) plane is a curve which is called as a trajectory. The trajectory
provide an intuitive, clear, and complete summary of vehicular motion in one dimension.
In figure 1:2(a), the the distance x goes on increasing with respect to the origin as time
progresses. The vehicle is moving at a smooth condition along the road way. In figure 1:2(b),
the vehicle at first moves with a smooth pace after reaching a position reverses its direction of
movement. In figure 1:2(c), the vehicle in between becomes stationary and maintains the same
position.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

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Transportation Systems Engineering

1. Fundamental Parameters of Traffic Flow

From the figure, steeply increasing section of x(t) denote a rapidly advancing vehicle and
horizontal portions of x(t) denote a stopped vehicle while shallow sections show a slow-moving
vehicle. A straight line denotes constant speed motion and curving sections denote accelerated
motion; and if the curve is concave downwards it denotes acceleration. But a curve which is
convex upwards denotes deceleration.

1.7.2

Multiple Vehicles

Time-space diagram can also be used to determine the fundamental parameters of traffic flow
like speed, density and volume. It can also be used to find the derived characteristics like space
headway and time headway. Figure 1:3 shows the time-space diagram for a set of vehicles
traveling at constant speed. Density, by definition is the number of vehicles per unit length.
From the figure, an observer looking into the stream can count 4 vehicles passing the stretch
of road between x1 and x2 at time t. Hence, the density is given as
k=

4 vehicles
x2 x1

(1.8)

We can also find volume from this time-space diagram. As per the definition, volume is the
number of vehicles counted for a particular interval of time. From the figure 1:3 we can see
that 6 vehicles are present between the time t1 and t2 . Therefore, the volume q is given as
q=

3 vehicles
t2 t1

(1.9)

Again the averages taken at a specific location (i.e., time ranging over an interval) are called
time means and those taken at an instant over a space interval are termed as space means.
Another related definition which can be given based on the time-space diagram is the headway. Space headway is defined as the distance between corresponding points of two successive
vehicles at any given time. Thus, the vertical gap between any two consecutive lines represents
space headway. The reciprocal of density otherwise gives the space headway between vehicles
at that time.
Similarly, time headway is defined as the time difference between any two successive vehicles
when they cross a given point. Thus, the horizontal gap between the vehicles represented by the
lines gives the time headway. The reciprocal of flow gives the average time headway between
vehicles at that point.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

1.8

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

1. Fundamental Parameters of Traffic Flow

x2

distance

spacing (s)
headway(h)
x1

t1

t
Time

t2

Figure 1:3: Time space diagram for many vehicles

1.8

Summary

Speed, flow and density are the basic parameters of traffic flow. Different measures of speed
are used in traffic flow analysis like spot speed, time mean speed, space mean speed etc. Timespace diagram also can be used for determining these parameters. Speed and flow of the traffic
stream can be computed using moving observer method.

1.9

References

1. Highway Capacity Manual. Transportation Research Board. National Research Council,


Washington, D.C., 2000.
2. L. R Kadiyali. Traffic Engineering and Transportation Planning. Khanna Publishers,
New Delhi, 1987.
3. Adolf D. May. Fundamentals of Traffic Flow. Prentice - Hall, Inc. Englewood Cliff New
Jersey 07632, second edition, 1990.
4. William R McShane, Roger P Roesss, and Elena S Prassas. Traffic Engineering. PrenticeHall, Inc, Upper Saddle River, New Jesery, 1998.
5. C. S Papacostas.
Delhi, 1987.

Fundamentals of Transportation Engineering.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

1.9

Prentice-Hall, New

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

2. Fundamental Relations of Traffic Flow

Chapter 2
Fundamental Relations of Traffic Flow
2.1

Overview

Speed is one of the basic parameters of traffic flow and time mean speed and space mean
speed are the two representations of speed. Time mean speed and space mean speed and the
relationship between them will be discussed in detail in this chapter. The relationship between
the fundamental parameters of traffic flow will also be derived. In addition, this relationship
can be represented in graphical form resulting in the fundamental diagrams of traffic flow.

2.2

Time mean speed (vt)

As noted earlier, time mean speed is the average of all vehicles passing a point over a duration
of time. It is the simple average of spot speed. Time mean speed vt is given by,
1X
vi ,
vt =
n i=1
n

(2.1)

where vi is the spot speed of ith vehicle, and n is the number of observations. In many speed
studies, speeds are represented in the form of frequency table. Then the time mean speed is
given by,
Pn
qi vi
vt = Pi=1
,
(2.2)
n
i=1 qi
where qi is the number of vehicles having speed vi , and n is the number of such speed categories.

2.3

Space mean speed (vs)

The space mean speed also averages the spot speed, but spatial weightage is given instead of
temporal. This is derived as below. Consider unit length of a road, and let vi is the spot speed
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

2.1

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

2. Fundamental Relations of Traffic Flow

of ith vehicle. Let ti is the time the vehicle takes to complete unit distance and is given by
If there are n such vehicles, then the average travel time ts is given by,
ts =

ti
1 1
= .
n
n vi

If tav is the average travel time, then average speed vs =


n
vs = Pn

1
i=1 vi

1
.
ts

1
.
vi

(2.3)
Therefore, from the above equation,
(2.4)

This is simply the harmonic mean of the spot speed. If the spot speeds are expressed as a
frequency table, then,
Pn
qi
vs = Pni=1 qi
(2.5)
i=1 vi

where qi vehicle will have vi speed and ni is the number of such observations.
Numerical Example
If the spot speeds are 50, 40, 60, 54 and 45, then find the time mean speed and space mean
speed.
i
Solution Time mean speed vt is the average of spot speed. Therefore, vt = v
= 50+40+60+54+45
=
n
5
n
249
= 49.8. Space mean speed is the harmonic mean of spot speed. Therefore, vs = 1 =
5
vi

1
1
1
1
1
+ 40
+ 60
+ 54
+ 45
50

5
0.12

= 48.82.

Numerical Example
The results of a speed study is given in the form of a frequency distribution table. Find the
time mean speed and space mean speed.
speed range frequency
2-5
1
6-9
4
10-13
0
7
14-17
Solution The time mean speed and space mean speed can be found out from the frequency
table given below. First, the average speed is computed, which is the mean of the speed range.
For example, for the first speed range, average speed, vi = 2+5
= 3.5 seconds. The volume of
2
flow qi for that speed range is same as the frequency. The terms vi .qi and vqii are also tabulated,
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

2.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

2. Fundamental Relations of Traffic Flow

qi
No. speed range average speed (vi ) volume of flow (qi ) vi qi
vi
1
2-5
3.5
1
3.5 2.29
2
6-9
7.5
4
30.0 0.54
3
10-13
11.5
0
0
0
4
14-17
15.5
7
108.5 0.45
total
12
142 3.28

10 m/s

10 m/s
50

10 m/s
50

20 m/s

10 m/s
50

10 m/s
50

20 m/s

20 m/s

100

100

hs = 50/20 = 5sec

ns = 60/5 = 12

ks = 1000/50 = 20

hf = 100/20 = 5sec

nf = 60/5 = 12

kf = 1000/100 = 10

Figure 2:1: Illustration of relation between time mean speed and space mean speed
and their summations given in the last row. Time mean speed can be computed as, vt =
142
12
= 11.83. Similarly, space mean speed can be computed as, vs = qqii = 3.28
= 3.65.
12

qi vi
qi

vi

2.4

Illustration of mean speeds

In order to understand the concept of time mean speed and space mean speed, following illustration will help. Let there be a road stretch having two sets of vehicle as in figure 2:1.
The first vehicle is traveling at 10m/s with 50 m spacing, and the second set at 20m/s with
100 m spacing. Therefore, the headway of the slow vehicle hs will be 50 m divided by 10 m/s
which is 5 sec. Therefore, the number of slow moving vehicles observed at A in one hour ns
will be 60/5 = 12 vehicles. The density K is the number of vehicles in 1 km, and is the inverse
of spacing. Therefore, Ks = 1000/50 = 20 vehicles/km. Therefore, by definition, time mean
= 15 m/s. Similarly, by definition, space mean speed is
speed vt is given by vt = 1210+1220
24
= 13.3 m/s. This is same as
the mean of vehicle speeds over time. Therefore, vs = 2010+1020
30
the harmonic mean of spot speeds obtained at location A; ie vs = 12 1 24
1 = 13.3 m/s. It
+12 20
10
may be noted that since harmonic mean is always lower than the arithmetic mean, and also as
observed, space mean speed is always lower than the time mean speed. In other words, space
mean speed weights slower vehicles more heavily as they occupy the road stretch for longer
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

2.3

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

2. Fundamental Relations of Traffic Flow

duration of time. For this reason, in many fundamental traffic equations, space mean speed is
preferred over time mean speed.

2.5

Relation between time mean speed and space mean


speed

The relation between time mean speed(vt ) and space mean speed(vs ) is given by the following
relation:
2
vs

vt = vs +

(2.6)

where, 2 is the standard deviation of the spot speed. The derivation of the formula is given in
the next subsection. The standard deviation( 2 ) can be computed in the following equation:
2 =

qi vi2
(vt )2
qi

(2.7)

where,qi is the frequency of the vehicle having vi speed.

2.5.1

Derivation of the relation

The relation between time mean speed and space mean speed can be derived as below. Consider
a stream of vehicles with a set of sub-stream flow q1 , q2 , . . . qi , . . . qn having speed v1 ,v2 , . . . vi ,
. . . vn . The fundamental relation between flow(q), density(k) and mean speed vs is,
q = k vs

(2.8)

Therefore for any sub-stream qi , the following relationship will be valid.


qi = ki vi

(2.9)

The summation of all sub-stream flows will give the total flow q:
qi = q.

(2.10)

Similarly the summation of all sub-stream density will give the total density k.
ki = k.

(2.11)

Let fi denote the proportion of sub-stream density ki to the total density k,


fi =
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

ki
.
k

2.4

(2.12)
February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

2. Fundamental Relations of Traffic Flow

Space mean speed averages the speed over space. Therefore, if ki vehicles has vi speed, then
space mean speed is given by,
ki vi
vs =
.
(2.13)
k
Time mean speed averages the speed over time. Therefore,
vt =

qi vi
.
q

(2.14)

vt =

ki vi 2
q

(2.15)

Substituting 2.9, vt can be written as,

Rewriting the above equation and substituting 2.12, and then substituting 2.8, we get,
ki
vt = k vi2
k
kfi vi 2
=
q
fi vi 2
=
vs
By adding and subtracting vs and doing algebraic manipulations, vt can be written as,
fi (vs + (vi vs ))2
vs
2
fi (vs ) + (vi vs )2 + 2.vs .(vi vs )
=
vs
fi vs 2 fi (vi vs )2 2.vs .fi (vi vs )
=
+
+
vs
vs
vs

vt =

(2.16)
(2.17)
(2.18)

The third term of the equation will be zero because fi (vi vs ) will be zero, since vs is the
mean speed of vi . The numerator of the second term gives the standard deviation of vi . fi
by definition is 1.Therefore,
vt = vs fi +
= vs +

2
vs

2
+0
vs

(2.19)
(2.20)

Hence, time mean speed is space mean speed plus standard deviation of the spot speed divided
by the space mean speed. Time mean speed will be always greater than space mean speed since
standard deviation cannot be negative. If all the speed of the vehicles are the same, then spot
speed, time mean speed and space mean speed will also be same.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

2.5

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

No.
1
2
3
4
5

speed
range
vl < v < vu
0-10
10-20
20-30
30-40
40-50
total

2. Fundamental Relations of Traffic Flow

mid interval
u
vi = vl +v
2

flow
qi

5
15
20
25
30

6
16
24
25
17
88

qi vi

vi2

qi vi2

qi /vi

30
25
150
6/5
240 225 3600 16/15
600 625 15000 24/25
875 1225 30625 25/35
765 2025 34425 17/45
2510
83800 4.3187

Numerical Example
For the data given below,compute the time mean speed and space mean speed. Also verify the
relationship between them. Finally compute the density of the stream.
speed range frequency
0-10
5
10-20
15
20
20-30
25
30-40
40-50
30
Solution The solution of this problem consist of computing the time mean speed vt =
qi vi
2
i
,space mean speed vs = q
qi ,verifying their relation by the equation vt = vs + v ,and
qi
s
vi

using this to compute the density. To verify their relation, the standard deviation also need to
2
be computed 2 = qv
vt2 . For convenience,the calculation can be done in a tabular form as
q
shown in table 2.5.1.
The time mean speed(vt ) is computed as:
qi vi
qi
2510
=
= 28.52
88

vt =

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

2.6

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

2. Fundamental Relations of Traffic Flow

The space mean speed can be computed as:

vs =
=

qi
qi
vi

88
= 20.38
4.3187

The standard deviation can be computed as:


qv 2
vt2
q
83800
28.522 = 138.727
=
88

2 =

The time mean speed can also vt can also be computed as:
vt = vs +

138.727
2
= 20.38 +
= 27.184
vs
20.38

The density can be found as:


k =

2.6

q
88
=
= 4.3 vehicle/km
v
20.38

Fundamental relations of traffic flow

The relationship between the fundamental variables of traffic flow, namely speed, volume, and
density is called the fundamental relations of traffic flow. This can be derived by a simple
concept. Let there be a road with length v km, and assume all the vehicles are moving with v
km/hr.(Fig 2:2). Let the number of vehicles counted by an observer at A for one hour be n1 .
By definition, the number of vehicles counted in one hour is flow(q). Therefore,
n1 = q.

(2.21)

Similarly, by definition, density is the number of vehicles in unit distance. Therefore number
of vehicles n2 in a road stretch of distance v1 will be density distance.Therefore,
n2 = k v.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

2.7

(2.22)
February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

2. Fundamental Relations of Traffic Flow


v km
A

B
8

Figure 2:2: Illustration of relation between fundamental parameters of traffic flow


Since all the vehicles have speed v, the number of vehicles counted in 1 hour and the number
of vehicles in the stretch of distance v will also be same.(ie n1 = n2 ). Therefore,
q = k v.

(2.23)

This is the fundamental equation of traffic flow. Please note that, v in the above equation refers
to the space mean speed will also be same.

2.7

Fundamental diagrams of traffic flow

The relation between flow and density, density and speed, speed and flow, can be represented
with the help of some curves. They are referred to as the fundamental diagrams of traffic flow.
They will be explained in detail one by one below.

2.7.1

Flow-density curve

The flow and density varies with time and location. The relation between the density and the
corresponding flow on a given stretch of road is referred to as one of the fundamental diagram
of traffic flow. Some characteristics of an ideal flow-density relationship is listed below:
1. When the density is zero, flow will also be zero,since there is no vehicles on the road.
2. When the number of vehicles gradually increases the density as well as flow increases.
3. When more and more vehicles are added, it reaches a situation where vehicles cant move.
This is referred to as the jam density or the maximum density. At jam density, flow will
be zero because the vehicles are not moving.
4. There will be some density between zero density and jam density, when the flow is maximum. The relationship is normally represented by a parabolic curve as shown in figure 2:3

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

2.8

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

2. Fundamental Relations of Traffic Flow

qmax

flow(q)

A
D

k0

k1

kmax

k2

kjam

density (k)

Figure 2:3: Flow density curve


The point O refers to the case with zero density and zero flow. The point B refers to the
maximum flow and the corresponding density is kmax . The point C refers to the maximum
density kjam and the corresponding flow is zero. OA is the tangent drawn to the parabola at O,
and the slope of the line OA gives the mean free flow speed, ie the speed with which a vehicle
can travel when there is no flow. It can also be noted that points D and E correspond to same
flow but has two different densities. Further, the slope of the line OD gives the mean speed at
density k1 and slope of the line OE will give mean speed at density k2 . Clearly the speed at
density k1 will be higher since there are less number of vehicles on the road.

2.7.2

Speed-density diagram

Similar to the flow-density relationship, speed will be maximum, referred to as the free flow
speed, and when the density is maximum, the speed will be zero. The most simple assumption
is that this variation of speed with density is linear as shown by the solid line in figure 2:4.
Corresponding to the zero density, vehicles will be flowing with their desire speed, or free flow
speed. When the density is jam density, the speed of the vehicles becomes zero. It is also
possible to have non-linear relationships as shown by the dotted lines. These will be discussed
later.

2.7.3

Speed flow relation

The relationship between the speed and flow can be postulated as follows. The flow is zero
either because there is no vehicles or there are too many vehicles so that they cannot move.
At maximum flow, the speed will be in between zero and free flow speed. This relationship is
shown in figure 2:5. The maximum flow qmax occurs at speed u. It is possible to have two
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

2.9

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

2. Fundamental Relations of Traffic Flow

speed u

uf

density (k)

k0

kjam

Figure 2:4: Speed-density diagram

uf

speed u

u2

u1
u0

Qmax

flow q

Figure 2:5: Speed-flow diagram

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

2.10

February 19, 2014

2. Fundamental Relations of Traffic Flow

speed u

speed u

Transportation Systems Engineering

density k

qmax

flow q

flow q

density k

Figure 2:6: Fundamental diagram of traffic flow


different speeds for a given flow.

2.7.4

Combined diagrams

The diagrams shown in the relationship between speed-flow, speed-density, and flow-density
are called the fundamental diagrams of traffic flow. These are as shown in figure 2:6. One
could observe the inter-relationship of these diagrams.

2.8

Summary

Time mean speed and space mean speed are two important measures of speed. It is possible to
have a relation between them and was derived in this chapter. Also, time mean speed will be
always greater than or equal to space mean speed. The fundamental diagrams of traffic flow
are vital tools which enables analysis of fundamental relationships. There are three diagrams speed-density, speed-flow and flow-density. They can be together combined in a single diagram
as discussed in the last section of the chapter.

2.9

References

1. L. R Kadiyali. Traffic Engineering and Transportation Planning. Khanna Publishers,


New Delhi, 1987.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

2.11

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

3. Traffic Stream Models

Chapter 3
Traffic Stream Models
3.1

Overview

To figure out the exact relationship between the traffic parameters, a great deal of research
has been done over the past several decades. The results of these researches yielded many
mathematical models. Some important models among them will be discussed in this chapter.

3.2

Greenshields macroscopic stream model

Macroscopic stream models represent how the behaviour of one parameter of traffic flow changes
with respect to another. Most important among them is the relation between speed and density.
The first and most simple relation between them is proposed by Greenshield. Greenshield
assumed a linear speed-density relationship as illustrated in figure 3:1 to derive the model. The
equation for this relationship is shown below.
 
vf
.k
(3.1)
v = vf
kj
where v is the mean speed at density k, vf is the free speed and kj is the jam density. This
equation ( 3.1) is often referred to as the Greenshields model. It indicates that when density
becomes zero, speed approaches free flow speed (ie. v vf when k 0). Once the relation
between speed and flow is established, the relation with flow can be derived. This relation
between flow and density is parabolic in shape and is shown in figure 3:3. Also, we know that
q = k.v
Now substituting equation 3.1 in equation 3.2, we get
 
vf 2
q = vf .k
k
kj
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

3.1

(3.2)

(3.3)
February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

3. Traffic Stream Models

speed u

uf

k0

kjam

density (k)

Figure 3:1: Relation between speed and density

speed, u

uf

u0

q
flow, q

qmax

Figure 3:2: Relation between speed and flow

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

3.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

3. Traffic Stream Models

qmax

flow(q)

A
D

k0

k1

kmax

k2

kjam

density (k)

Figure 3:3: Relation between flow and density 1


Similarly we can find the relation between speed and flow. For this, put k = vq in equation 3.1
and solving, we get
 
kj 2
v
(3.4)
q = kj .v
vf
This relationship is again parabolic and is shown in figure 3:2. Once the relationship between
the fundamental variables of traffic flow is established, the boundary conditions can be derived.
The boundary conditions that are of interest are jam density, free-flow speed, and maximum
flow. To find density at maximum flow, differentiate equation 3.3 with respect to k and equate
it to zero. ie.,
dq
= 0
dk
vf
vf .2k = 0
kj
kj
k =
2
Denoting the density corresponding to maximum flow as k0 ,
kj
(3.5)
2
Therefore, density corresponding to maximum flow is half the jam density. Once we get k0 , we
can derive for maximum flow, qmax . Substituting equation 3.5 in equation 3.3
 2
kj vf kj
qmax = vf . .
2
kj 2
kj
kj
= vf . vf .
2
4
vf .kj
=
4
k0 =

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

3.3

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

3. Traffic Stream Models

Thus the maximum flow is one fourth the product of free flow and jam density. Finally to get
the speed at maximum flow, v0 , substitute equation 3.5 in equation 3.1 and solving we get,
v0 = vf

vf kj
.
kj 2

vf
2
Therefore, speed at maximum flow is half of the free speed.
v0 =

3.3

(3.6)

Calibration of Greenshields model

In order to use this model for any traffic stream, one should get the boundary values, especially
free flow speed (vf ) and jam density (kj ). This has to be obtained by field survey and this is
called calibration process. Although it is difficult to determine exact free flow speed and jam
density directly from the field, approximate values can be obtained from a number of speed and
density observations and then fitting a linear equation between them. Let the linear equation
be y = a + bx such that y is density k and x denotes the speed v. Using linear regression
method, coefficients a and b can be solved as,
P
P
P
n ni=1 xi yi ni=1 xi . ni=1 yi
P
P
(3.7)
b =
n. ni=1 xi 2 ( ni=1 xi )2
a = y b
x
(3.8)
Alternate method of solving for b is,

Pn
)(yi y)
i=1 (xi x
b =
Pn
)2
i=1 (xi x

(3.9)

where xi and yi are the samples, n is the number of samples, and x and y are the mean of xi
and yi respectively.
Numerical example
For the following data on speed and density, determine the parameters of the Greenshields
model. Also find the maximum flow and density corresponding to a speed of 30 km/hr.
v
k
171 5
129 15
20 40
70 25
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

3.4

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering


x(k)
171
129
20
70
390

y(v)
5
15
40
25
85

(xi x)
73.5
31.5
-77.5
-27.5

3. Traffic Stream Models


(yi y)
-16.3
-6.3
18.7
3.7

(xi x)(yi y)
-1198.1
-198.5
-1449.3
-101.8
-2947.7

(xi x2 )
5402.3
992.3
6006.3
756.3
13157.2

Solution Denoting y = v and x = k, solve for a and b using equation 3.8 and equation 3.9.
= 390
= 97.5, y = y
= 85
= 21.3. From
The solution is tabulated as shown below. x = x
n
4
n
4
= -0.2 a = y b
x = 21.3 + 0.297.5 = 40.8 So the linear regression
equation 3.9, b = 2947.7
13157.2
equation will be,
v = 40.8 0.2k
(3.10)
v

= 204 veh/km. The basic parameters of


Here vf = 40.8 and kfj = 0.2. This implies, kj = 40.8
0.2
Greenshields model are free flow speed and jam density and they are obtained as 40.8 kmph
and 204 veh/km respectively. To find maximum flow, use equation 3.6, i.e., qmax = 40.8204
=
4
2080.8 veh/hr Density corresponding to the speed 30 km/hr can be found out by substituting
= 54 veh/km.
v = 30 in equation 3.10. i.e, 30 = 40.8 - 0.2 k Therefore, k = 40.830
0.2

3.4

Other macroscopic stream models

In Greenshields model, linear relationship between speed and density was assumed. But in
field we can hardly find such a relationship between speed and density. Therefore, the validity
of Greenshields model was questioned and many other models came up. Prominent among
them are Greenbergs logarithmic model, Underwoods exponential model, Pipes generalized
model, and multi-regime models. These are briefly discussed below.

3.4.1

Greenbergs logarithmic model

Greenberg assumed a logarithmic relation between speed and density. He proposed,


v = v0 ln

kj
k

(3.11)

This model has gained very good popularity because this model can be derived analytically.
(This derivation is beyond the scope of this notes). However, main drawbacks of this model is
that as density tends to zero, speed tends to infinity. This shows the inability of the model to
predict the speeds at lower densities.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

3.5

February 19, 2014

3. Traffic Stream Models

speed, v

Transportation Systems Engineering

density, k

speed, v

Figure 3:4: Greenbergs logarithmic model

density, k

Figure 3:5: Underwoods exponential model

3.4.2

Underwoods exponential model

Trying to overcome the limitation of Greenbergs model, Underwood put forward an exponential
model as shown below.
k
v = vf .e k0
(3.12)
where vf The model can be graphically expressed as in figure 3:5. is the free flow speed and ko
is the optimum density, i.e. the density corresponding to the maximum flow. In this model,
speed becomes zero only when density reaches infinity which is the drawback of this model.
Hence this cannot be used for predicting speeds at high densities.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

3.6

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

qA, vA, kA

3. Traffic Stream Models

qB , vB , kB

Figure 3:6: Shock wave: Stream characteristics

3.4.3

Pipes generalized model

Further developments were made with the introduction of a new parameter (n) to provide for a
more generalized modeling approach. Pipes proposed a model shown by the following equation.

 n 
k
v = vf 1
(3.13)
kj
When n is set to one, Pipes model resembles Greenshields model. Thus by varying the values
of n, a family of models can be developed.

3.4.4

Multi-regime models

All the above models are based on the assumption that the same speed-density relation is
valid for the entire range of densities seen in traffic streams. Therefore, these models are
called single-regime models. However, human behaviour will be different at different densities.
This is corroborated with field observations which shows different relations at different range
of densities. Therefore, the speed-density relation will also be different in different zones of
densities. Based on this concept, many models were proposed generally called multi-regime
models. The most simple one is called a two-regime model, where separate equations are used
to represent the speed-density relation at congested and uncongested traffic.

3.5

Shock waves

The flow of traffic along a stream can be considered similar to a fluid flow. Consider a stream of
traffic flowing with steady state conditions, i.e., all the vehicles in the stream are moving with
a constant speed, density and flow. Let this be denoted as state A (refer figure 3:6. Suddenly
due to some obstructions in the stream (like an accident or traffic block) the steady state
characteristics changes and they acquire another state of flow, say state B. The speed, density
and flow of state A is denoted as vA , kA , and qA , and state B as vB , kB , and qB respectively.
The flow-density curve is shown in figure 3:7. The speed of the vehicles at state A is given
by the line joining the origin and point A in the graph. The time-space diagram of the traffic
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

3.7

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

3. Traffic Stream Models

vA

flow

qA

A
B

qB

kA

density

kB

vB

kj

distance

Figure 3:7: Shock wave: Flow-density curve

time

Figure 3:8: Shock wave : time-distance diagram

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

3.8

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

3. Traffic Stream Models

stream is also plotted in figure 3:8. All the lines are having the same slope which implies that
they are moving with constant speed. The sudden change in the characteristics of the stream
leads to the formation of a shock wave. There will be a cascading effect of the vehicles in the
upstream direction. Thus shock wave is basically the movement of the point that demarcates
the two stream conditions. This is clearly marked in the figure 3:7. Thus the shock waves
produced at state B are propagated in the backward direction. The speed of the vehicles at
state B is the line joining the origin and point B of the flow-density curve. Slope of the line AB
gives the speed of the shock wave (refer figure 3:7). If speed of the shock-wave is represented
as AB , then
qA qB
AB =
(3.14)
kA kB
The above result can be analytically solved by equating the expressions for the number vehicles
leaving the upstream and joining the downstream of the shock wave boundary (this assumption
is true since the vehicles cannot be created or destroyed. Let NA be the number of vehicles
leaving the section A. Then, NA = qB t. The relative speed of these vehicles with respect to
the shock wave will be vA AB . Hence,
NA = kA (vA AB ) t

(3.15)

Similarly, the vehicles entering the state B is given as


NB = kA (vB AB ) t

(3.16)

Equating equations 3.15 and 3.16, and solving for AB as follows will yield to:
NA = NB
kA (vA AB ) t = kB (vB AB ) t
kA vA t kA AB t = kB vB t kB AB t
kA AB t kB AB t = kA vA kB vB
AB (kA kB ) = qA qB
This will yield the following expression for the shock-wave speed.
AB =

qA qB
kA kB

(3.17)

In this case, the shock wave move against the direction of traffic and is therefore called a
backward moving shock wave. There are other possibilities of shock waves such as forward
moving shock waves and stationary shock waves. The forward moving shock waves are formed
when a stream with higher density and higher flow meets a stream with relatively lesser density
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

3.9

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

3. Traffic Stream Models

and flow. For example, when the width of the road increases suddenly, there are chances for a
forward moving shock wave. Stationary shock waves will occur when two streams having the
same flow value but different densities meet.

3.6

Macroscopic flow models

If one looks into traffic flow from a very long distance, the flow of fairly heavy traffic appears
like a stream of a fluid. Therefore, a macroscopic theory of traffic can be developed with the
help of hydrodynamic theory of fluids by considering traffic as an effectively one-dimensional
compressible fluid. The behaviour of individual vehicle is ignored and one is concerned only
with the behaviour of sizable aggregate of vehicles. The earliest traffic flow models began by
writing the balance equation to address vehicle number conservation on a road. In fact, all
traffic flow models and theories must satisfy the law of conservation of the number of vehicles
on the road. Assuming that the vehicles are flowing from left to right, the continuity equation
can be written as
k(x, t) q(x, t)
+
=0
(3.18)
t
x
where x denotes the spatial coordinate in the direction of traffic flow, t is the time, k is the
density and q denotes the flow. However, one cannot get two unknowns, namely k(x, t) by
and q(x, t) by solving one equation. One possible solution is to write two equations from two
regimes of the flow, say before and after a bottleneck. In this system the flow rate before and
after will be same, or
k1 v1 = k2 v2
(3.19)
From this the shock wave velocity can be derived as
v(to )p =

q2 q1
k2 k1

(3.20)

This is normally referred to as Stocks shock wave formula. An alternate possibility which
Lighthill and Whitham adopted in their landmark study is to assume that the flow rate q is
determined primarily by the local density k, so that flow q can be treated as a function of only
density k. Therefore the number of unknown variables will be reduced to one. Essentially this
assumption states that k(x,t) and q (x,t) are not independent of each other. Therefore the
continuity equation takes the form
k(x, t) q(k(x, t))
+
=0
t
x

(3.21)

However, the functional relationship between flow q and density k cannot be calculated from
fluid-dynamical theory. This has to be either taken as a phenomenological relation derived from
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

3.10

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

3. Traffic Stream Models

the empirical observation or from microscopic theories. Therefore, the flow rate q is a function
of the vehicular density k; q = q(k). Thus, the balance equation takes the form
k(x, t) q(k(x, t))
+
=0
t
x

(3.22)

Now there is only one independent variable in the balance equation, the vehicle density k. If
initial and boundary conditions are known, this can be solved. Solution to LWR models are
kinematic waves moving with velocity
dq(k)
(3.23)
dk
This velocity vk is positive when the flow rate increases with density, and it is negative when
the flow rate decreases with density. In some cases, this function may shift from one regime to
the other, and then a shock is said to be formed. This shock wave propagate at the velocity
vs =

q(k2 ) q(k1 )
k2 k1

(3.24)

where q(k2 ) and q(k1 ) are the flow rates corresponding to the upstream density k2 and downstream density k1 of the shock wave. Unlike Stocks shock wave formula there is only one
variable here.

3.7

Summary

Traffic stream models attempt to establish a better relationship between the traffic parameters.
These models were based on many assumptions, for instance, Greenshields model assumed a
linear speed-density relationship. Other models were also discussed in this chapter. The models
are used for explaining several phenomena in connection with traffic flow like shock wave. The
topics of further interest are multi-regime model (formulation of both two and three regime
models) and three dimensional representation of these models.

3.8

References

1. Adolf D. May. Fundamentals of Traffic Flow. Prentice - Hall, Inc. Englewood Cliff New
Jersey 07632, second edition, 1990.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

3.11

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

4. Moving Observer Method

Chapter 4
Moving Observer Method
4.1

Overview

For a complete description of traffic stream modeling, one would require flow, speed, and density.
Obtaining these parameters simultaneously is a difficult task if we use separate techniques.
Since we have a fundamental equation of traffic flow, which gives the flow as the product of
density and space mean speed, if we knew any two parameters, the third can be computed.
Moving car or moving observer method of traffic stream measurement has been developed to
provide simultaneous measurement of traffic stream variables. It has the advantage of obtaining
the complete state with just three observers, and a vehicle. Determination of any of the two
parameters of the traffic flow will provide the third one by the equation q = u.k. Thus,
moving observer method is the most commonly used method to get the relationship between
the fundamental stream characteristics. In this method, the observer moves in the traffic stream
unlike all other previous methods.

4.2

Theory

Consider a stream of vehicles moving in the north bound direction. Two different cases of
motion can be considered. The first case considers the traffic stream to be moving and the
observer to be stationary. If no is the number of vehicles overtaking the observer during a
period, t, then flow q is nt0 , or
n0 = q t
(4.1)
The second case assumes that the stream is stationary and the observer moves with speed vo .
If np is the number of vehicles overtaken by observer over a length l, then by definition, density
k is nlp , or
np = k l
(4.2)

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

4.1

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

4. Moving Observer Method

Figure 4:1: Illustration of moving observer method


or
np = k.vo .t

(4.3)

where v0 is the speed of the observer and t is the time taken for the observer to cover the road
stretch. Now consider the case when the observer is moving within the stream. In that case
mo vehicles will overtake the observer and mp vehicles will be overtaken by the observer in the
test vehicle. Let the difference m is given by m0 - mp , then from equation 4.1 and equation
4.3,
m = m0 mp = q t k vo t
(4.4)
This equation is the basic equation of moving observer method, which relates q, k to the counts
m, t and vo that can be obtained from the test. However, we have two unknowns, q and k, but
only one equation. For generating another equation, the test vehicle is run twice once with the
traffic stream and another one against traffic stream, i.e.
mw = q tw k vw tw

(4.5)

= q tw k l
ma = q ta + k va ta

(4.6)

= q ta + k l
where, a, w denotes against and with traffic flow. It may be noted that the sign of equation 4.6
is negative, because test vehicle moving in the opposite direction can be considered as a case
when the test vehicle is moving in the stream with negative velocity. Further, in this case, all
the vehicles will be overtaking, since it is moving with negative speed. In other words, when the
test vehicle moves in the opposite direction, the observer simply counts the number of vehicles
in the opposite direction. Adding equation 4.5 and 4.6, we will get the first parameter of the
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

4.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

4. Moving Observer Method

stream, namely the flow(q) as:

mw + ma
tw + ta
Now calculating space mean speed from equation 4.5,
q=

(4.7)

mw
= q kvw
tw
q
= q vw
v 
q l
= q
v tw


1
l
= q 1
v tw


tavg
= q 1
tw
If vs is the mean stream speed, then average travel time is given by tavg =

l
.
vs

Therefore,

tavg
mw
= tw (1
) = tw tavg
q
tw
mw
l
tavg = tw
= ,
q
v

Rewriting the above equation, we get the second parameter of the traffic flow, namely the mean
speed vs and can be written as,
l
(4.8)
vs =
tw mqw
Thus two parameters of the stream can be determined. Knowing the two parameters the third
parameter of traffic flow density (k) can be found out as
k=

q
vs

(4.9)

For increase accuracy and reliability, the test is performed a number of times and the average
results are to be taken.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

4.3

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

4.3

Proof

4.4

Assumptions

4. Moving Observer Method

Numerical Example
The length of a road stretch used for conducting the moving observer test is 0.5 km and the speed
with which the test vehicle moved is 20 km/hr. Given that the number of vehicles encountered
in the stream while the test vehicle was moving against the traffic stream is 107, number of
vehicles that had overtaken the test vehicle is 10, and the number of vehicles overtaken by the
test vehicle is 74, find the flow, density and average speed of the stream.
Solution Time taken by the test vehicle to reach the other end of the stream while it is
= 0.025 hr
moving along with the traffic is tw = 0.5
20
Time taken by the observer to reach the other end of the stream while it is moving against the
traffic is ta = tw = 0.025 hr
= 860 veh/hr
Flow is given by equation, q = 107+(1074)
0.025+0.025
0.5
Stream speed vs can be found out from equationvs = 0.025
10.74 = 5 km/hr
860

Density can be found out from equation as k =

860
5

= 172veh/km

Numerical Example
The data from four moving observer test methods are shown in the table. Column 1 gives
the sample number, column 2 gives the number of vehicles moving against the stream, column
3 gives the number of vehicles that had overtaken the test vehicle, and last column gives the
number of vehicles overtaken by the test vehicle. Find the three fundamental stream parameters
for each set of data. Also plot the fundamental diagrams of traffic flow.
Sample no.
1
2
3
4

1
107
113
30
79

2 3
10 74
25 41
15 5
18 9

Solution From the calculated values of flow, density and speed, the three fundamental diagrams can be plotted as shown in figure 4:2.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

4.4

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

4. Moving Observer Method

ma

mo

mp

mw = (mo mp )

ta

tw

1
2
3
4

107
113
30
79

10
25
15
18

74
41
5
9

-64
-16
10
9

0.025
0.025
0.025
0.025

0.025
0.025
0.025
0.025

q=

ma +mw
ta +tw

860
1940
800
1760

u=

l
tw mqw

5.03
15.04
40
25.14

k=
171
129
20
70

800

40

speed u

speed u

Sample no.

25.14
15.04
5.03

1940
860
flow q

flow q

density k

1760

20 70 129171
density k

Figure 4:2: Fundamental diagrams of traffic flow

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

4.5

February 19, 2014

q
v

Transportation Systems Engineering

4.5

4. Moving Observer Method

Summary

Traffic engineering studies differ from other studies in the fact that they require extensive data
from the field which cannot be exactly created in any laboratory. Speed data are collected
from measurements at a point or over a short section or over an area. Traffic flow data are
collected at a point. Moving observer method is one in which both speed and traffic flow data
are obtained by a single experiment.

4.6

References

1. L. R Kadiyali. Traffic Engineering and Transportation Planning. Khanna Publishers,


New Delhi, 1987.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

4.6

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

5. Measurement at a Point

Chapter 5
Measurement at a Point
5.1

Introduction

The data required by a traffic engineer can mainly be observed on field rather than at laboratory.
Now the field studies can be classified into three types depending upon the length of observation:
1. Measurement at a point
2. Measurement over a short section
3. Measurement over a long section
Out of these we will be discussing the first type here. Flow is the main traffic parameter
measured at a point. Flow can be defined as the no of vehicles passing a section per unit time.
Traffic volume studies are mainly carried out to obtain factual data concerning the movement
of vehicles at selected point on the street or highway system.

5.2
5.2.1

Basic concepts
Types of Volume Measurement

Volume count varies considerably with time. Hence, several types of measurement of volume
are commonly adopted to average these variations. These measurements are described below:
Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT)
This is given by the total no. of vehicles passing through a section in a year divided by 365.
This can be used for following purposes:
1. Measuring the present demand for service by the street or highway
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

5.1

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

5. Measurement at a Point

2. Developing the major or arterial street


3. Evaluating the present traffic flow with respect to the street system
4. Locating areas where new facilities or improvements to existing facilities are needed.
Average Annual Weekday Traffic (AAWT)
This is defined as the average 24-hour traffic volume occurring on weekdays over a full year.
Average Daily Traffic (ADT)
An average 24-hour traffic volume at a given location for some period of time less than a year.
It may be measured for six months, a season, a month, a week, or as little as two days. An
ADT is a valid number only for the period over which it was measured.
Average Weekday Traffic (AWT)
An average 24-hour traffic volume occurring on weekdays for some period of time less than one
year, such as for a month or a season.

5.2.2

Type of Counts

Various types of traffic counts are carried out, depending on the anticipated use of the data to
be collected. They include:
Cordon Count
These are made at the perimeter of an enclosed area (CBD, shopping center etc.). Vehicles or
persons entering and leaving the area during a specified time period are counted.
Screen Line Count
These are classified counts taken at all streets intersecting an imaginary line (screen line)
bisecting the area. These counts are used to determine trends, expand urban travel data,
traffic assignment etc.
Pedestrian Count
These are used in evaluating sidewalk and crosswalk needs, justifying pedestrian signals, traffic
signal timings etc.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

5.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

5. Measurement at a Point

Intersection Count
These are measured at the intersections and are used in planning turn prohibitions, designing
channelization, computing capacity, analyzing high accident intersections etc.

5.2.3

Counting Techniques

Number of vehicles can be counted either manually or by machine depending upon the duration
of study, accuracy required, location of study area etc.
Manual counting
In its simplest form an observer counts the numbers of vehicles along with its type, passing
through the section for a definite time interval. For light volumes, tally marks on a form are
adequate. Mechanical or electrical counters are used for heavy traffic. Although it is good to
take some manual observations for every counting for checking the instruments, some other
specific uses of manual counts are following:
1. Turning and through movement studies
2. Classification and occupancy studies
3. For analysis of crosswalks, sidewalks, street corner space and other pedestrian facilities
Automatic counting
These can be used to obtain vehicular counts at non-intersection points. Total volume, directional volume or lane volumes can be obtained depending upon the equipment available.
Permanent Counters
These are installed to obtain control counts on a continuous basis. A detector (sensor) which
responds on the passage of vehicle past a selected point is an essential part of this type of
counters. These can be mainly grouped into contact types, pulsed types, radar types. Among
the contact type counters, pneumatic tubes are mostly used. Air pulse actuated by vehicle
wheels, pass along the tube thereby increasing the count. Pulsed types mainly depend upon
the interruption of a beam generated from a station located near the site, which is detected
by the receiver. In radar types, a continuous beam of energy is directed towards the vehicle.
The frequency shift of energy reflected from approaching vehicle is conceived by sensors. Due
to tedious reduction of the voluminous amount of data obtained, use of such counters was
decreasing. But the use of computers and data readable counters has reversed the trend.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

5.3

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

5. Measurement at a Point

Portable Counters
These are used to obtain temporary or short term counts. Generally these make use of a
transducer unit actuated by energy pulses. Each axle or vehicle passage operates a switch
attached to a counter which is usually set to register one unit for every two axles. If significant
number of multi-axle vehicles is present, an error is introduced. A correction factor, obtained
from a sample classification count, is introduced to reduce this error. This can further be
sub-divided into two types:
1. Recording counters provides a permanent record of volumes by printing the total
volume. These may be set for various counting intervals.
2. Non-Recording Counters must be read by an observer at desired intervals.

5.2.4

Counting Periods

The time and length that a specific location should be counted depends upon the data desired
and the application in which the data are used. Counting periods vary from short counts at spot
points to continuous counts at permanent stations. Hourly counts are generally significant in all
engineering design, while daily and annual traffic is important in economic calculations, road
system classification and investment programmes. Continuous counts are made to establish
national and local highway use, trends of use and behaviour and for estimating purposes. Some
of the more commonly used intervals are:
1. 24-hour counts normally covering any 24-hour period between noon Monday and noon
Friday. If a specific day count is desired, the count should be from midnight to midnight.
2. 16 hour counts usually 5:30 am to 9:30 pm or 6 am to 9 pm.
3. 12 hour counts usually from 7 am to 7 pm
4. Peak Period counting times vary depending upon size of metropolitan area, proximity to
major generators and the type of facility. Commonly used periods are 7 to 9 am and 4
to 6 pm.

5.3

Variation of Volume Counts and Peak Hour Factors

Variation of volume counts can be further sub-divided into daily, weekly and seasonal variation.
For studying the daily variation, the flow in each hour has been expressed as percentage of daily
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

5.4

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

5. Measurement at a Point

flow. Weekdays, Saturdays and Sundays usually show different patterns. Thats why comparing
day with day is much more useful. Peak Hour Volume is very important factor in the design of
roads and control of traffic, and is usually 2 - 2.5 times the average hourly volume. Apart from
this there is one additional feature of this variation: two dominant peaks (morning and evening
peak), especially in urban areas. These mainly include work trips and are not dependent on
weather and other travel conditions.
Similar to daily variation, weekly variation gives volumes expressed as a percentage of total
flow for the week. Weekdays flows are approximately constant but the weekend flows vary a
lot depending upon the season, weather and socio-economic factors. Seasonal variation is the
most consistent of all variation patterns and represents the economic and social condition of
the area served.
Peak hour factors should be applied in most capacity analyses in accordance with the
Highway Capacity Manual, which selected 15 minute flow rates as the basis for most of its
procedures. The peak-hour factor (PHF) is descriptive of trip generation patterns and may
apply to an area or portion of a street and highway system. The PHF is typically calculated
from traffic counts. It is the average volume during the peak 60 minute period Vav60 divided by
four times the average volume during the peak 15 minutes period Vav15 .
P HF =

60
Vav
15
4 Vav

(5.1)

One can also use 5, 10, or 20 minutes instead of 15 minutes interval for the calculation of
PHF. But in that case we have to change the multiplying factor in the denominator from 4.
Generalizing,
V 60
P HF = 60 av n
(5.2)

V
av
n
where Vavn is the peak n minute flow. The Highway Capacity Manual advises that in absence
of field measurements reasonable approximations for peak hour factor can be made as follows:
0.95 for congested condition
0.92 for urban areas
0.88 for rural areas
General guidelines for finding future PHF can be found in the Development Review Guidelines,
which are as follows:
0.85 for minor street inflows and outflows
0.90 for minor arterial
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

5.5

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

5. Measurement at a Point
Time interval
4:00 - 4:15
4:15 - 4:30
4:30 - 4:45
4:45 - 5:00
5:00 - 5:15
5:15 - 5:30
5:30 - 5:45
5:45 - 6:00
6:00 - 6:15
6:15 - 6:30

Cars
30
26
35
40
49
55
65
50
39
30

Table 5:1: Volumetric data


0.95 for major streets
Numerical Example
The table below shows the volumetric data observed at an intersection. Calculate the peak
hour volume, peak hour factor (PHF), and the actual (design) flow rate for this approach.
Solution We can locate the hour with the highest volume and the 15 minute interval with
the highest volume. The peak hour is shown in blue below with the peak 15 minute period
shown in bold font. The peak hour volume is just the sum of the volumes of the four 15 minute
intervals within the peak hour (219). The peak 15 minute volume is 65 in this case. The peak
hour factor (PHF) is found by dividing the peak hour volume by four times the peak 15 minute
219
= 0.84 The actual (design) flow rate can be calculated by dividing the
volume. P HF = 465
peak hour volume by the PHF, 219/0.84 = 260 vehicles/hr, or by multiplying the peak 15
minute volume by four, 4 65 = 260 vehicles per hour.

5.4

Passenger Car Unit (PCU)

Passenger Car Unit (PCU) is a metric used in Transportation Engineering, to assess traffic-flow
rate on a highway. A Passenger Car Unit is a measure of the impact that a mode of transport has
on traffic variables (such as headway, speed, density) compared to a single standard passenger

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

5.6

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

5. Measurement at a Point
Time interval
4:00 - 4:15
4:15 - 4:30
4:30 - 4:45
4:45 - 5:00
5:00 - 5:15
5:15 - 5:30
5:30 - 5:45
5:45 - 6:00
6:00 - 6:15
6:15 - 6:30

Cars
30
26
35
40
49
55
65
50
39
30

Table 5:2: Solution of the problem


Car
Motorcycle
Bicycle
LCV
Bus, Truck
3-wheeler

1.0
0.5
0.2
2.2
3.5
0.8

Table 5:3: Values of PCU

car. This is also known as passenger car equivalent. For example, typical values of PCU (or
PCE) are: Highway capacity is measured in PCU/hour daily.
Numerical Example
The table below shows the volumetric data collected at an intersection: Calculate the peak
hour volume, peak hour factor (PHF), and the actual (design) flow rate for this approach.
Solution The first step in this solution is to find the total traffic volume for each 15 minute
period in terms of passenger car units. For this purpose the PCU values given in the table are
used. Once we have this, we can locate the hour with the highest volume and the 15 minute
interval with the highest volume. The peak hour is shown in blue below with the peak 15
minute period shown in a darker shade of blue. The peak hour volume is just the sum of the
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

5.7

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

From
2.30
2.40
2.50
3.00
3.10
3.20
3.30
3.40
3.50
4.00
4.10
4.20

5. Measurement at a Point

To HCV
2.40
4
2.50
8
3.00
7
3.10
6
3.20
7
3.30
6
3.40
8
3.50
10
4.00
9
4.10
10
4.20
12
4.30
8

LCV
10
12
13
13
14
10
11
6
7
9
11
8

CAR
6
9
8
15
10
9
8
15
9
11
12
10

3W 2W
38
24
63
33
42
27
37
32
51
28
63
41
48
38
47
21
54
26
62
35
61
39
54
42

Table 5:4: Volumetric data collected

From
2.30
2.40
2.50
3.00
3.10
3.20
3.30
3.40
3.50
4.00
4.10
4.20

To Flow in PCU
2.40
84.4
2.50
130.3
3.00
108.2
3.10
110.2
3.20
120.1
3.30
122.9
3.40
117.6
3.50
111.3
4.00
112.1
4.10
132.9
4.20
146.5
4.30
119.8

Table 5:5: Solution of the problem

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

5.8

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

5. Measurement at a Point

volumes of the six 10 minute intervals within the peak hour (743.6 PCU). The peak 10 minute
volume is 146.5 PCU in this case. The peak hour factor (PHF) is found by dividing the peak
hour volume by four times the peak 10 minute volume.
P HF =

743.6
= 0.85
6 146.5

The actual (design) flow rate can be calculated by dividing the peak hour volume by the PHF,
743.6/0.85 = 879 P CU/hr, or by multiplying the peak 10 minute volume by six, 6 146.5 =
879 P CU/hr.

5.5

Determination of PCU

Traffic in many parts of the world is heterogeneous, where road space is shared among many
traffic modes with different physical dimensions. Loose lane discipline prevails; car following
is not the norm. This complicates computing of PCU. Some of the methods for determining
passenger car units (PCU) are following:
Modified Density Method
Chandras method
Method Based on Relative Delay
Headway method
Multiple linear regression method
Simulation method
It may be appropriate to use different values for the same vehicle type according to circumstances like volume of traffic, speed of vehicle, lane width and several external factors.

5.5.1

Method based on relative delay

The 1965 HCM used relative speed reduction to define PCUs for two lane highways and quantified this by the relative number of passing known as the Walker method. For multi-lane
highways, PCUs were based on the relative delay due to trucks. PCUs for multi-lane highways
based on relative delay may be found as
Et =
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

Dij Db
Db
5.9

(5.3)
February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

5. Measurement at a Point

where Dij is the delay to passenger cars due to vehicle type i under condition j and Db is the
base delay to standard passenger cars due to slower passenger cars.
PCUs in the 1965 HCM were reported for grades of specific length and percent, proportion
of trucks, and LOS grouped as A through C or D and E. As expected, the highest PCU was
reported for the longest and steepest grade with the highest proportion of trucks and the lowest
LOS. However, in many cases the PCU for a given grade and LOS decreased with increasing
proportion of trucks. PCUs in the 1965 HCM were reported for grades of specific length and
percent, proportion of trucks, and LOS grouped as A through C or D and E. As expected,
the highest PCU was reported for the longest and steepest grade with the highest proportion
of trucks and the lowest LOS. However, in many cases the PCU for a given grade and LOS
decreased with increasing proportion of trucks.

5.5.2

Multiple linear regression model

Multiple linear regression method try to represent the speed of a traffic stream as function of
number of variables. For example, the percentile speed vp can represented as:
vp = vf + c1 Vc + c2 Vt + c3 Vr + c4 Vo + c5 Va

(5.4)

where vf is the free speed, Vc is the number of passenger cars, Vc is the number of trucks Vr
is the number of recreational vehicles, Vr is the number of other types of vehicles, Va is the
number of vehicles moving against the current stream, C1 to C5 are coefficient representing the
relative sizes of speed reductions for each vehicle type. Although this model was formulated
for two lane highways with opposing traffic flow, it could be applied to multi-lane highways by
setting the coefficient C5 to zero. Using the speed reduction coefficients, En , the PCU for a
vehicle type n is calculated as:
Cn
En =
C1
where Cn is the speed reduction coefficient for vehicle type n and C1 is the speed reduction
coefficient for passenger cars.

5.5.3

Method based on headway

Realizing one of the primary effects of heavy vehicles in the traffic stream is that they take up
more space, headways have been used for some of the most popular methods to calculate PCUs.
In 1976, Werner and Morrall suggested that the headway method is best suited to determine
PCUs on level terrain at low levels of service. The PCU is calculated as
( HHmb ) Pc
Et =
(5.5)
Pt
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

5.10

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering


hm
2.70
2.80
2.94
3.10
3.25
3.35
3.70
3.80
3.95
4.20

5. Measurement at a Point
hc
2.5
2.5
2.5
2.5
2.5
2.5
2.5
2.5
2.5
2.5

pc
0.90
0.85
0.80
0.75
0.70
0.65
0.50
0.45
0.40
0.30

pt
0.10
0.15
0.20
0.25
0.30
0.35
0.50
0.55
0.60
0.70

Table 5:6: Headway data for a number of traffic conditions

where HM is the average headway for a sample including all vehicle types, HB is the average
headway for a sample of passenger cars only, PC is the proportion of cars, and PT is the
proportion of trucks.
Numerical Example
The table given below show headway data for a number of traffic conditions. It is assumed that
the traffic contains only car and truck. Compute the PCU value for each traffic condition Note
that hm , hc , pc , pt respectively denote the average headway for mixed traffic, average headway
for traffic consisting of cars only, the percentage of cars and percentage of trucks of the traffic
stream.
Solution Use the formula given above to find the value of PCU.

5.5.4

Chandras method

This method uses two factors: namely, velocity of vehicle type and its projected rectangular
area to calculate the PCU value.
(Vc /Vi )
(5.6)
(P CU)i =
(Ac /Ai )
where Vc and Vi are mean speeds of car and vehicle of type i respectively and Ac and Ai are
their respective projected rectangular area length * width on the road.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

5.11

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

hm
2.70
2.80
2.94
3.10
3.25
3.35
3.70
3.80
3.95
4.20

5. Measurement at a Point

hc
2.5
2.5
2.5
2.5
2.5
2.5
2.5
2.5
2.5
2.5

pc
0.90
0.85
0.80
0.75
0.70
0.65
0.50
0.45
0.40
0.30

pt
0.10
0.15
0.20
0.25
0.30
0.35
0.50
0.55
0.60
0.70

Et
1.80
1.80
1.88
1.96
2.00
1.97
1.96
1.95
1.97
1.97

Table 5:7: Table for the value of PCU

Category
Vehicle
Car
Car, Jeep, Van
Bus
Bus
Truck
Truck
LCV
Mini bus/trucks
M-Truck
Multi-axle truck
Bikes
Scooter, Motorbike
Cycle
Pedal Cycle
Autos
Auto, Tempo

Dimension Projected Area


3.72 x 1.44
5.39
10.10 x 2.43
24.74
7.50 x 2.35
17.62
6.10 x 2.10
12.81
2.35 x 12.0
28.60
1.87 x 0.64
1.20
1.90 x 0.45
0.85
3.20 x 1.40
4.48

Table 5:8: Table for calculation using Chandras method

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

5.12

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

5. Measurement at a Point

2.05

2.00
PCU
1.95

1.90

1.85

1.80

1.75
0

0.2

0.4
Percentage of trucks

0.6

0.8

Figure 5:1: Graph showing the variation of PCU with percentage of truck using the data of the
problem given above
Numerical Example
The table given shows the data obtained in spot speed study for various vehicle types. Find
the PCU value for each vehicle type using the Chandras Method.
Solution Step 1 We have to find the space mean speed for each vehicle type using the
formula:
n
Vs =
n
i=1 ( v1i )
Where n is the no. of observations and vi is the spot speeds.
Step 2 Find the PCU values using Chandras Method. Use the table having the areas of
various vehicle types given above. Then we can use the table given above to find the areas of
different vehicle types to find corresponding PCU values.

5.5.5

Density method

In the density method, the PCU of truck (Et ) is computed as:


Et =

(kc /Wl )
(kt )/Wl )

(5.7)

where kc is the density of cars in pure homogeneous conditions(car/km.), Wl is the width of


the lane in homogeneous traffic, kt is the density of the truck in pure homogeneous conditions
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

5.13

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

No
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8

Car 3 wheeler
11.32
8.67
6.74
7.25
11.11
9.68
6.67
6.98
8.11
8.77
7.41
8.77
8.11
9.52
9.93
9.40

5. Measurement at a Point

2 wheeler
6.67
8.27
7.75
6.12
9.52
11.9
6.97
6.97

LCV
6.0
6.88
7.5
8.57
9.67
8.57
5.7
4.68

HCV
7.4
6.09
5.88
6.38
5.66
5.66
5.55
6.12

Table 5:9: Table of spot speed study for various vehicle types

No
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
vs

Car 3 wheeler
11.32
8.67
6.74
7.25
11.11
9.68
6.67
6.98
8.11
8.77
7.41
8.77
8.11
9.52
9.93
9.40
8.34
8.52

2 wheeler
6.67
8.27
7.75
6.12
9.52
11.9
6.97
6.97
7.70

LCV
6.0
6.88
7.5
8.57
9.67
8.57
5.7
4.68
6.83

HCV
7.4
6.09
5.88
6.38
5.66
5.66
5.55
6.12
6.05

Table 5:10: PCU values using Chandras Method

vs
PCU

8.34 8.52 7.70 6.83 6.05


1
0.81 0.24 2.90 6.33

Table 5:11: Table of PCU values

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

5.14

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering


From
2.30
2.40
2.50
3.00
3.10
3.20
3.30
3.40
3.50
4.00
4.10
4.20

5. Measurement at a Point

To HCV Flow HCV Mean Speed


2.40
4
10.4
2.50
6
9.09
3.00
5
8.88
3.10
6
9.38
3.20
6
10.66
3.30
6
9.66
3.40
5
9.55
3.50
8
10.12
4.00
7
9.2
4.10
6
9.54
4.20
10
10.67
4.30
8
9.61

CAR Flow CAR Mean Speed


16
14.32
19
12.74
18
13.11
20
10.67
17
12.11
21
13.41
18
13.11
17
10.93
22
13.33
19
13.58
25
12.34
20
10.58

Table 5:12: space mean speed of Car and HCV in a two lane road without shoulders

and Et is the passenger car unit of the trucks given homogeneous traffic behaviour. In density
method where car following and lane discipline behaviour prevails, all traffic entities use an
equal Wl .
Numerical Example
The table given below shows the data of flow and space mean speed of Car and HCV in a two
lane road without shoulders. Assume the 85 percentile distribution width of HCV and Car to
be 9.50m. and 7.50m. Compute the PCU value of HCV for each time interval.
Solution We know that PCU value can be calculated using the formula:
(P CU)truck =

(Kcar /W l)
(Ktruck /W l)

(5.8)

Step 1 Find the density of car and truck using basic relationship between the traffic flow
parameters
Q=KV
(5.9)
Step 2 The using the method stated above we can find the PCU values. The table showing
the PCU values has been illustrated below.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

5.15

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering


From
2.30
2.40
2.50
3.00
3.10
3.20
3.30
3.40
3.50
4.00
4.10
4.20

To HCV Flow HCV Speed


2.40
4
10.4
2.50
6
9.09
3.00
5
8.88
3.10
6
9.38
3.20
6
10.66
3.30
6
9.66
3.40
5
9.55
3.50
8
10.12
4.00
7
9.2
4.10
6
9.54
4.20
10
10.67
4.30
8
9.61

5. Measurement at a Point
Car Flow Car Speed
27
14.32
32
12.74
30
13.11
33
10.67
28
12.11
35
13.41
30
13.11
28
10.93
37
13.33
32
13.58
42
12.34
33
10.58

Car density
1.86
2.49
2.29
3.12
2.34
2.61
2.29
2.59
2.75
2.33
3.38
3.15

PCU
3.68
2.86
3.09
3.71
3.16
3.19
3.32
2.49
2.75
2.82
2.74
2.88

Table 5:13: PCU values for the above problem

5.6

Conclusion

Measurement over a section is probably one of the easiest field parameter that can be measured. Various types of volume counts and counting techniques have been discussed in brief.
Along with this a brief insight into various methods of calculating Passenger Car unit has been
provided. Out of the various methods discussed, Chandras Method is only method that can
be applied to the Indian condition of heterogeneous traffic that is characterized by loose lane
discipline. All the other methods are primarily based on homogeneous traffic conditions mainly
prevailing in developed countries.

5.7

References

1. S Chandra and U Kumar. Effect of lane width on capacity under mixed traffic conditions
in india. Journal of Transportation Engineering, ASCE, 129:155160, 2003.
2. F D Hobbs. Traffic Planning and Engineering. Pergamon Press, 1979. 2nd Edition.
3. W S Homburger. Fundamentals of traffic engineering. 2019. 12th Edition, pp 5-1 to 5-5.
4. Anthony Ingle. Development of Passenger Car Equivalents for Basic Freeway Segments.
Blacksburg, Virginia, July 8, 2004.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

5.16

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

5. Measurement at a Point

5. Geetam Tiwari, Joseph Fazio, and Sri Pavitravas. Passenger Car Units for Heterogeneous
Traffic Using a Modified Density Method. 2019.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

5.17

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

6. Measurement over a Short Section

Chapter 6
Measurement over a Short Section
6.1

Overview

The main purpose of this chapter is to determine traffic parameter, specially speed. Speed
measurements are most often taken at a point (or a short section) of road way under conditions
of free flow. The intent is to determine the speeds that drivers select, unaffected by the existence
of congestion. This information is used to determine general speed trends, to help determine
reasonable speed limits, and to assess safety.

6.2

Speed Studies

As speed defines the distance travelled by user in a given time, and this is a vibrant in every
traffic movement. In other words speed of movement is the ratio of distance travelled to time
of travel. The actual speed of traffic flow over a given route may fluctuated widely, as because
at each time the volume of traffic varies. Accordingly, speeds are generally classified into three
main categories
1. Spot speed This is the instantaneous speed of a vehicle at any specific location.
2. Running speed This is the average speed maintained over a particular course while the
vehicle is in the motion.
3. Journey speed This is the effective speed of the vehicle on a journey between two points
and the distance between two points and the distance between these points divided by
the total time taken for the vehicle to complete the journey, it includes all delay.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

6.1

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

6. Measurement over a Short Section

Stream Speed
below 15
15 -25
above 25

6.3

Length
30
60
90

Spot Speed Studies

When we measure the traffic parameter over a short distance, we generally measure the spot
speed. A spot speed is made by measuring the individual speeds of a sample of the vehicle
passing a given spot on a street or highway. Spot speed studies are used to determine the speed
distribution of a traffic stream at a specific location. The data gathered in spot speed studies
are used to determine vehicle speed percentiles, which are useful in making many speed-related
decisions. Spot speed data have a number of safety applications, including the following
1. Speed trends,
2. Traffic control planning,
3. Accidental analysis,
4. Geometric design,
5. Research studies.

6.4

Methods of Measurement

Methods of conducting spot speed Studies are divided into two main categories: Manual and
Automatic. Spot speeds may be estimated by manually measuring the time it takes a vehicle
to travel between two defined points on the roadway a known distance apart (short distance),
usually less than 90m. Distance between two points is generally depending upon the average
speed of traffic stream. Following tables gives recommended study length (in meters) for various
average stream speed ranges (in kmph) Following are the some methods to measure spot speed
of vehicles in a traffic stream, in which first two are manual methods and other are automatic:

6.4.1

Pavement markings

In this method, markings of pavement are placed across the road at each end of trap. Observer
start and stops the watch as vehicle passes lines. In this method, minimum two observers
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

6.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

6. Measurement over a Short Section

required to collect the data, of which one is stand at the starting point to start and stop the
stop watch and other one is stand at end point to give indication to stop the watch when vehicle
passes the end line. Advantages of this method are that after the initial installation no set-up
time is required, markings are easily renewed, and disadvantage of this is that substantial error
can be introduced, and magnitude of error may change for substitute studies and this method
is only applicable for low traffic conditions.
Vertical Reference
point
End Timing

Vertical Reference
point

Study length
Approaching Vehicle

Start timing
Observer 2
X

Observer 1

Figure 6:1: Pavement Marking

6.4.2

Enoscope or Mirror box

Enoscope consists of a simple open housing containing a mirror mounted on a tripod at the
side of the road in such a way that an observers line of sight turned through 90o. The observer
stands at one end of section and on the other end enoscope is placed and measure the time
taken by the vehicle to cross the section (fig 6.2). Advantages of this method are that it simple
and eliminate the errors due to parallax and considerable time is required to time each vehicle,
which lengthen the study period and under heavy traffic condition it may be difficult to relate
ostentatious to proper vehicle are the disadvantages of enoscope method.

6.4.3

Road Detector (Pressure contact strips)

Pressure contact strips, either pneumatic or electric, can be used to avoid error due to parallax
and due to manually starting and stopping the chronometer or stopwatch. This is the best
method over short distance it gives quite relevant data and if it is connected through graphical
recorder then it gives continuous data automatically.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

6.3

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

6. Measurement over a Short Section

enoscope

observer

Base length

Figure 6:2: Enoscope Method

6.4.4

Doppler-Principle Meters (Radar)

This is recently developed method, it automatically records speed, employs a radar transmitterreceiver unit. The apparatus transmits high frequency electromagnetic waves in a narrow beam
towards the moving vehicle, and reflected waves changed their length depending up on the
vehicles speed and returned to the receiving unit, through calibration gives directly spot speed
of the vehicle.

6.4.5

Electronic-Principle Detectors (Photography)

In this method a camera records the distance moved by a vehicle in a selected short time. In this
exposure of photograph should be in a constant time interval and the distance travelled by the
vehicle is measured by projecting the films during the exposure interval. The main advantage
of method that, it gives a permanent record with 100% sample obtained. This method is quite
expensive and generally used in developed cities. In this we can use video recorder which give
more accurate result.

6.5

Data Collection Sheets

The measured data by the above techniques should be collected into some formats, following
are the some types of data collection sheets which are used for manual and automatic methods,
1. For Enoscope and Pavement Marking Methods
2. For automatic methods

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

6.4

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

6. Measurement over a Short Section

Location:

Date:

Weather:

Time:

Type of road:

Base Length:

Measurement Technique:

TIME TAKEN (in sec)

S NO.

Car/jeep

3 Wheeler

2 Wheeler

Cycle

LCV

HCV

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

Surveyor:

Figure 6:3: Data collection sheet for Enoscope and Pavement Marking Methods
Spot Speed Data Collection Form
Data:

Location:

Time:

Weather:

Measurement Technique:

Type of road:

Vehicle No.

Speed

Vehicle No.

Speed

Surveyor:
Spot Speed Data Collection Form
Location:

Date:

Weather:

Time:

Type of road:

Base Length:

Measurement Technique:

Speed Range
in kmph
0
5

Tally Mark
Car/Jeep

Car/Jeep

Bus/Truck

Total

10

10

15

15

20

20

Number
Bus/Truck

25

25

30

30

35

35

40

40

45

45
50

50
55

55
60

60
65
Surveyor:

Figure 6:4: Data collection sheet for Automatic Methods

6.6

Data Presentation

From the above methods, the collected data have to present into the some representable form,
this makes its calculation and analysis simpler and easier. The following methods to present
the spot speed data:

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

6.5

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

6.6.1

6. Measurement over a Short Section

Frequency Distribution Table

After the collection of data in the given conditions, arrange the spot speed values in order to
their magnitudes. Then select an interval speed (e.g. 5 kmph) and make grouping of data
which come under this range. Now, prepare the frequency distribution table.

6.6.2

Frequency Distribution Curve

For each speed group, the % frequency of observations within the group is plotted versus the
middle (mid-mark) speed of the group(s). As shown in Fig 6.5. From this curve the modal
speed and pace of traffic flow can be determine. Generally the shape of the curve follows the
normal distribution curve, this because the most of the vehicles move on road near by mean
speed and very few deviate from mean speed.

6.6.3

Cumulative Frequency Distribution Curve

For each speed group, the % cumulative frequency of observations is plotted versus the higher
limit of the speed group (Fig 6.5). The cumulative frequency distribution curve, however,
results in a very useful plot of speed versus the percent of vehicles traveling at or below the
designated speed. For this reason, the upper limit of the speed group is used as the plotting
point. In both the distribution curve, the plots are connected by a smooth curve that minimizes
the total distance of points falling above the line and those falling below the line. A smooth
curve is defined as one without.

6.7

Distribution Characteristics

Common descriptive statistics may be computed from the data in the frequency distribution table or determined graphically from the frequency and cumulative frequency distribution curves.
These statistics are used to describe two important characteristics of the distribution:

6.7.1

Measure of Central Tendency

Measure which helps to describe the approximate middle or center of the distribution. Measures
of central tendency include the average or mean speed, the median speed, the modal speed,
and the pace.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

6.6

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

6. Measurement over a Short Section

25
$\% Frequency

Mode
20
15
Pace

10
5
0

32

36

40

44

48

52

56

60

64

56

60

64

$Cum.\%freq$

100

Speed
(kph)

90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0

$86\%$
$\% Veh in pace =8614= 72\%$
Median

$14\%$

32

36

40

44

48

52

Speed
(kph)

Figure 6:5: Frequency and Cumulative Frequency Distribution curve


Mean Speed
The arithmetic (or harmonic) average speed is the most frequently used speed statistics. It is
the measure of central tendency of the data. Mean calculated gives two kinds of mean speeds.
vt =

fi vi
n

(6.1)

where, vt is the mean or average speed, vi is the individual speed of the ith vehicle, fi is the
frequency of speed, and n is the total no of vehicle observed (sample size). Time mean Speed
If data collected at a point over a period of time, e.g. by radar meter or stopwatch, produce
speed distribution over time, so the mean of speed is time mean speed. Space mean Speed
If data obtained over a stretch (section) of road almost instantaneously, aerial photography or
enoscope, result in speed distribution in space and mean is space mean speed. Distribution
over space and time are not same. Time mean speed is higher than the space mean speed. The
spot speed sample at one end taken over a finite period of time will tend to include some fast
vehicles which had not yet entered the section at the start of the survey, but will exclude some
of the slower vehicles. The relationship between the two mean speeds is expressed by:
vt = vs +

s2
vs

(6.2)

where, vt and vs are the time mean speed and space mean speed respectively. And s is the
standard deviation of distribution space.
Median Speed
The median speed is defined as the speed that divides the distribution in to equal parts (i.e.,
there are as many observations of speeds higher than the median as there are lower than
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

6.7

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

6. Measurement over a Short Section

the median). It is a positional value and is not affected by the absolute value of extreme
observations. By definition, the median equally divides the distribution. Therefore, 50% of all
observed speeds should be less than the median. In the cumulative frequency curve, the 50th
percentile speed is the median of the speed distribution. Median Speed = v50
Pace
The pace is a traffic engineering measure not commonly used for other statistical analyses. It is
defined as the 10Km/h increment in speed in which the highest percentage of drivers is observed.
It is also found graphically using the frequency distribution curve. As shown in fig 6.5. The
pace is found as follows: A 10 Km/h template is scaled from the horizontal axis. Keeping this
template horizontal, place an end on the lower left side of the curve and move slowly along the
curve. When the right side of the template intersects the right side of the curve, the pace has
been located. This procedure identifies the 10 Km/h increments that intersect the peak of the
curve; this contains the most area and, therefore, the highest percentage of vehicles.
Modal Speed
The mode is defined as the single value of speed that is most likely to occur. As no discrete values
were recorded, the modal speed is also determined graphically from the frequency distribution
curve. A vertical line is dropped from the peak of the curve, with the result found on the
horizontal axis.

6.7.2

Measure of Dispersion

Measures describe the extent to which data spreads around the center of the distribution.
Measures of dispersion include the different percentile speeds i.e. 15th, 85th,etc. and the
standard deviation.
Standard Deviation
The most common statistical measure of dispersion in a distribution is the standard deviation.
It is a measure of how far data spreads around the mean value. In simple terms, the standard
deviation is the average value of the difference between individual observations and the average
value of those observations. The Standard deviation, s , of the sample can be calculated by
r
fi (vi vv )2
(6.3)
s =
n1
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

6.8

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

6. Measurement over a Short Section

Percentile Speeds
The 85th and 15th percentile speeds give a general description of the high and low speeds
observed by most reasonable drivers. It is generally thought that the upper and lower 15% of
the distribution represents speeds that are either too fast or too slow for existing conditions.
These values are found graphically from the cumulative frequency distribution curve of Figure
6.4. The curve is entered on the vertical axis at values of 85% and 15%. The respective speeds
are found on the horizontal axis. The 85th and 15th percentile speeds can be used to roughly
estimate the standard deviation of the distribution est , although this is not recommended when
the data is available for a precise determination.
v85 v15
est =
(6.4)
2
The 85th and 15th percentile speeds give insight to both the central tendency and dispersion of
the distribution. As these values get closer to the mean, less dispersion exists and the stronger
the central tendency of the distribution becomes.
The 98th percentile speed is also determining from the cumulative frequency curve, this
speed is generally used for geometric design of the road.

6.8
6.8.1

Data Analysis
Standard Error of the mean

The means of different sample taken from the same population are distributed normally about
the true mean of population with a standard deviation, is known as standard error.
s
(6.5)
Se =
n

6.8.2

Sample Size

Generally, sample sizes of 50 to 200 vehicles are taken. In that case, standard error of mean is
usually under the acceptable limit. If precision is prior then minimum no. of sample should be
taken, that can be measured by using the following equation.
nr =

Z 2 s2
Se2

(6.6)

where, nr is the no. of sample required, s is the Standard deviation, Z is value calculated from
Standard Normal distribution Table for a particular confidence level (i.e. for 95% confidence
Z=1.96 and for 99.7% confidence Z=3.0) and Se is the permissible (acceptable) error in mean
calculation.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

6.9

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

6.8.3

6. Measurement over a Short Section

Precision and Confidence Intervals

Confidence intervals express the range within which a result for the whole population would
occur for a particular proportion of times an experiment or test was repeated among a sample
of the population. Confidence interval is a standard way of articulate the statistical accuracy
of an experiment based assessment. If assess has a high error level, the equivalent confidence
interval will be ample, and the less confidence we can have that the experiment results depict
the situation among the whole population. When quoting confidence It is common to refer to
the some confidence interval around an experiment assessment or test result. So, the confidence
interval for estimated true mean speed can be calculated by
= vt Zs

(6.7)

where, is the confidence interval, vt is mean speed, s is standard deviation and Z is constant
for specified confidence.

6.8.4

Numerical Example

Using the spot speed data given in the following table, collected from a freeway site operating
under free-flow conditions: (i) Plot the frequency and cumulative frequency curves for these
data; (ii) Obtain median speed, modal speed, pace, and percent vehicles in pace from these
plots; (iii) Compute the mean and standard deviation of the speed distribution; (iv) The
confidence bounds on the estimate of the true mean speed of the underlying distribution with
95% confidence? With 99.7% confidence; and (v) Based on these results, compute the sample
size needed to achieve a tolerance of 1.5 kmph with 95% confidence.
Solution For the spot speed study, first draw a frequency distribution table show below.
1. From the table 6.3, we can draw frequency distribution and cumulative frequency distribution curve.(shown in Fig 6.6 and 6.7)

2. From the curves, Median speed, v50 = 43 kmph; Modal speed, = 38 kmph; the Pace =
33 - 43 kmph; Percent vehicles in pace = 54-20= 34%; and the 85th Percentile speed =
58 kmph.
3. Mean is calculated by using
fi vi
n
5950
=
= 45.77 kmph
130

vt =

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

6.10

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

6. Measurement over a Short Section

Speed Range Frequency fi


21-25
2
26-30
6
31-35
18
36-40
25
41-45
19
46-50
16
51-55
17
56-60
12
61-65
7
66-70
4
71-75
3
76-80
1

Speed Range Mid speed Vi


21-25
23
26-30
28
31-35
33
36-40
38
41-45
43
46-50
48
51-55
53
56-60
58
61-65
63
66-70
68
71-75
73
76-80
78
Total

Frequency fi
2
6
18
25
19
16
17
12
7
4
3
1
130

P
% fi % fi
2%
2%
5%
6%
14%
20%
19%
39%
15%
54%
12%
66%
13%
79%
9%
88%
5%
94%
3%
97%
2%
99%
1%
100%
100%

fi Vi
46
168
594
950
817
768
901
696
441
272
219
78
5950

fi (Vi Vm )2
1036.876
1894.473
2934.959
1509.024
145.7041
79.6213
888.8284
1795.101
2078.296
1976.828
2224.544
1038.822
17603.08

Table 6:1: Solution of the example problem

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

6.11

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

6. Measurement over a Short Section

25\%

Frequency(\%)

20\%

Mode
pace

15\%

10\%

5\%

0\%
0

10

20

30

33

38 43
40

50

60

70
80
Speed (kmph)

90

Figure 6:6: Frequency Distribution Curve


100\%

cumulative frequency(\%)

90\%
85\%

$v_85$

80\%
70\%
60\%
$v_50$
50\%
40\%
30\%
20\%
$v_15$

15\%
10\%

43

32
0

10

20

30

40

58
50

60

70

80

Speed (kmph)

90

Figure 6:7: Cumulative Frequency Distribution Curve


Standard Deviation of the Speed
r

fi (vi vt )2
n1
r
17603.08
=
= 11.7 kmph
130 1

s =

4. The confidence bounds on the estimate of the true mean speed of the underlying distribution are:
= vt Zs
(a) For 95% confidence, Z= 1.96, so
= 45.77 1.96 11.7 = 45.77 22.93 kmph
(b) For 99.7% confidence, Z= 3.0, so
= 45.77 3.0 11.7 = 45.77 35.1 kmph
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

6.12

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

6. Measurement over a Short Section

Parameter
Median speed
Modal speed
Pace
Vehicles in pace
Mean speed
Standard Deviation
85th percentile speed
15th percentile speed
98th percentile Speed
Confidence interval
For 95%.
For 99.7%
Required sample Size

43
38
33-43
45.77
11.7
58
32
72

Value
kmph
kmph
kmph
34%
kmph
kmph
kmph
kmph
kmph

45.7722.93 kmph
45.7725.1 kmph
234

Table 6:2: Result of the example problem


5. Sample size required for 95% confidence with acceptable error of 1.5 kmph
Z 2 s2
Se2
1.962 11.72
= 234.
=
1.52

nr =

So, given sample size is not sufficient and we require minimum 234 samples to achieve
that confidence with given acceptable error. The results are summaries in table 6.8.4

6.9

Location for Speed Studies

The speed studies are accompanied for eminently logical purposes that will influence what
traffic engineering measures are implemented in any given case. The location at which speed
measurements are taken must conform to the intentional purpose of the study. The guiding philosophy behind spot speed studies is that measurements should include drivers freely selecting
their speeds, unaffected by traffic congestion. For example if driver approaches to a toll plaza,
then he has to slow his speed, so this is not suitable location to conduct the study, measurements should be taken at a point before drivers start to decelerate. Similarly, if excessive speed
around a curve is thought to be contributing to off-the-road accidents, speed measurements
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

6.13

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

6. Measurement over a Short Section

should be taken in advance of the curve, before deceleration begins. It may also be appropriate, however, to measure speeds at the point where accidents are occurring for evaluation
with approach speeds. This would allow the traffic engineer to assess whether the problem is
excessive approach speed or that drivers are not decelerating sufficiently through the subject
geometric element, or a combination of both. A study of intersection approach speeds must
also be taken at a point before drivers begin to decelerate. This may be a moving point, given
that queues get shorter and longer at different periods of the day.

6.10

Summary

This chapter has presented the basic concepts of speed studies. Spot speed studies are conducted
to estimate the distribution of speeds of vehicle in the traffic stream at a particular position
on highway. This is done by recording the speeds of vehicle at the specified location. These
data are used to obtain speed characteristics such as mean speed, modal speed, pace, standard
deviation and different percentile of speeds. The important factors which should consider during
plan of studies is the location of study, time and duration of study. The data sample collected
should contain samples size. These gives precision and accuracy of result.

6.11

References

1. F D Hobbs. Traffic Planning and Engineering. Pergamon Press, 1979. 2nd Edition.
2. Nicholas J Garber Lester A Hoe. Traffic and Highway Engineering. Cengage Learning
Product, Fourth Edition, 2009.
3. Theodore M Matson, Wilbure S smith, and Fredric W Hurd. Traffic engineering, 1955.
4. R P Roess, S E Prassas, and W R McShane. Traffic Engineering. Pearson Education
International, 2005.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

6.14

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

7. Measurement along a Length of Road

Chapter 7
Measurement along a Length of Road
7.1

Overview

This is normally used to obtain variations in speed over a stretch of road. Usually the stretch
will be having a length more than 500 meters. We can also get speed ,travel time and delay.
Speed and travel time are the most commonly used indicators of performance for traffic facilities
and networks. Delays are often used to measure the performance of traffic flow at intersections.

7.2

Travel time study

Travel time is the elapsed time it takes for a vehicle to traverse a given segment of a street.
Travel time studies provide the necessary data to determine the average travel time. Combined
with the length of the corridor under study, this data can be used to produce average travel
speed. Travel time and delay are two of the principal measures of roadway system performance
used by traffic engineers, planners and analysts. Since vehicle speed is directly related to travel
time and delay, it is also an appropriate measure-of-performance to evaluate traffic systems.
A study conducted to determine the amount of time required to traverse a specific route
or section of a street or highway. The data obtained provide travel time and travel speed
information but not necessarily delay. This term is often used to include speed and delay
study. Travel time may be defined as the total elapsed time of travel, including stop and delay,
necessary for a vehicle to travel from one point to another point over a specified route under
existing traffic condition.

7.3

Delay studies

Delay is defined as an extra time spent by drivers against their expectation. Delay can have
many forms depending on different locations. A study made to provide information concerning
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

7.1

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

7. Measurement along a Length of Road

the amount, cause, location, duration and frequency of delay as well as travel time and similar
value. The time lost by traffic due to traffic friction and traffic control device is called delay.

7.4

Types of Delay

1. Congestion delay- Congestion delay is the delay caused by the constricting or slowing down
effect of overloaded intersections, inadequate carriageway widths, parked cars, crowded
pavement and similar factor.
2. Fixed Delay- The delay to which a vehicle is subjected regardless of the amount of traffic
volume and interference present.
3. Operational Delay-The delay caused by interference from other component of the traffic
stream. Examples include time lost while waiting for a gap in a conflicting traffic stream,
or resulting from congestion, parking maneuvers, pedestrians, and turning movement.
4. Stopped Delay- The time a vehicle is not moving.
5. Travel Time Delay- The difference between the actual time required to traverse a section
of street or highway and the time corresponding to the average speed of traffic under
uncongested condition. It includes acceleration and deceleration delay in addition to
stopped delay.
6. Approach Delay -Travel time delay encountered to an approach to an intersection.

7.5

Purpose of travel time and Delay Studies

1. The purpose of a Travel Time and Delay Study is to evaluate the quality of traffic movement along a route and determine the locations, types, and extent of traffic delays by
using a moving test vehicle.
2. This study method can be used to compare operational conditions before and after roadway or intersection improvements have been made. It can also be used as a tool to assist
in prioritizing projects by comparing the magnitude of the operational deficiencies (such
as delays and stops) for each project under consideration.
3. The Travel Time and Delay Study can also be used by planners to monitor level of service
for local government comprehensive plans.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

7.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

7. Measurement along a Length of Road

4. The methodology presented herein provides the engineer with quantitative information
with which he can develop recommendations for improvements such as traffic signal retiming, safety improvements, turn lane additions, and channelization enhancements

7.6

Method for obtaining travel time and delay study

1. Floating Car Method: Floating car data are positions of vehicles traversing city streets
throughout the day. In this method the driver tries to float in the traffic stream passing
as many vehicles as pass the test car. If the test vehicle overtakes as many vehicles as
the test vehicle is passed by, the test vehicles should, with sufficient number of runs,
approach the median speed of the traffic movement on the route. In such a test vehicle,
one passenger acts as observer while another records duration of delays and the actual
elapsed time of passing control points along the route from start to finish of the run.
2. Average Speed Method: In this method the driver is instructed to travel at a speed
that is judge to the representative of the speed of all traffic at the time.
3. Moving-vehicle method: In this method, the observer moves in the traffic stream and
makes a round trip on a test section. The observer starts at section, drives the car in a
particular direction say eastward to another section, turns the vehicle around drives in
the opposite direction say westward toward the previous section again. Let, the time in
minutes it takes to travel east (from X-X to Y-Y) is ta, the time in minutes it takes to
travel west (from Y-Y to X-X) is tw, the number of vehicles traveling east in the opposite
lane while the test car is traveling west be ma, the number of vehicles that overtake the
test car while it is traveling west be mo, and the number of vehicles that the test car
passes while it is traveling west from be mp. The volume (qw) in the westbound direction
X

Y
West

East

Figure 7:1: Illustration of moving observer method


Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

7.3

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

7. Measurement along a Length of Road

can then be obtained from the expression and


qw =

ma + mo mp
ta + tw

the average travel time in the westbound direction is obtained from


tw(avg) = tw

mo mp
qw

4. Maximum-car method: In this procedure, the driver is asked to drive as fast as is safely
practical in the traffic stream without ever exceeding the design speed of the facility.
5. Elevated Observer method: In urban areas, it is sometime possible to station observers
in high buildings or other elevated points from which a considerable length of route may
be observed. These investigator select vehicle at random and record; time, location and
causes-of-delay. The drawback is that it is sometime difficult to secure suitable points for
observation throughout the length of the route to be studied.
6. License Plate Method: when the amount of turning off and on the route is not great
and only over all speed value are to be secured, the license-plate method of speed study
may be satisfactorily employed. Investigator stationed at control point along the route
enters, on a time control basis, the license-plate numbers of passing vehicles. These
are compared from point to point along the route, and the difference in time values,
through use of synchronized watches, is computed. This method requires careful and
time-consuming office work and does not show locations, causes, frequency, or duration of
delay. Four basic methods of collecting and processing license plates normally considered
are:
(a) Manual: collecting license plates via pen and paper or audio tape recorders and
manually entering license plates and arrival times into a computer.
(b) Portable Computer: collecting license plates in the field using portable computers
that automatically provide an arrival time stamp.
(c) Video with Manual Transcription: collecting license plates in the field using
video cameras or camcorders and manually transcribing license plates using human
observers.
(d) Video with Character Recognition: collecting license plates in the field using
video, and then automatically transcribing license plates and arrival times into a
computer using computerized license plate character recognition.
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Transportation Systems Engineering

7. Measurement along a Length of Road

7. Photographic Method: This method is primarily a research tool, it is useful in studies of


interrelationship of several factors such as spacing, speeds, lane usage, acceleration rates,
merging and crossing maneuvers, and delays at intersections. This method is applicable
to a short test section only.
8. Interview Method: this method may be useful where a large amount of material is
needed in a minimum of time and at little expense for field observation. Usually the
employees of a farm or establishment are asked to record their travel time to and from
work on a particular day.
9. Highway Capacity Manual 2000 or (Cycle- based method): This method is applicable to all under saturated signalized intersections. For over-saturated conditions,
queue buildup normally makes the method impractical. The method described here is
applicable to situations in which the average maximum queue per cycle is no more than
about 20 to 25 veh/ln. When queues are long or the demand to capacity ratio is near
1.0, care must be taken to continue the vehicle-in-queue count past the end of the arrival
count period, vehicles that arrived during the survey period until all of them have exited
the intersection.as detailed below. This requirement is for consistency with the analytic
delay equation used in the chapter text.method does not directly measure delay during
deceleration and during a portion of acceleration, which are very difficult to measure without sophisticated tracking equipment. However, this method has been shown to yield a
reasonable estimate of control delay.
The method includes an adjustment for errors that may occurred when this type of
sampling technique is used, as well as an acceleration-deceleration delay correction factor
Table 7:1. The acceleration-deceleration factor is a function of the typical number of
vehicles in queue during each cycle and the normal free-flow speed when vehicles are
unimpeded by the signal. Before beginning the detailed survey, the observers need to
make an estimate of the average free-flow speed during the study period. Free-flow speed
is the speed at which vehicles would pass unimpeded through the intersection if the signal
were green for an extended period.be obtained by driving through the intersection a few
times when the signal is green and there is no queue and recording the speed at a location
least affected by signal control. Typically, the recording location should be upstream
about mid-block. Table 7:2 is a worksheet that can be used for recording observations
and computation of average time-in-queue delay Steps for data reduction
(a) Sum each column of vehicle-in-queue counts, then sum the column totals for the
entire survey period.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

7.5

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering


Free-Flow Speed
60km/h
60-71 km/h
71 km/h

7. Measurement along a Length of Road

7 Vehicles
5
7
9

8-19 Vehicles
2
4
7

20-30 Vehicles
1
2
5

Table 7:1: Acceleration-Deceleration Delay Correction Factor, CF (seconds)


(b) A vehicle recorded as part of a vehicle-in-queue count is in queue, on average, for the
time interval between counts. The average time-in-queue per vehicle arriving during
the survey period is estimated.


Viq
0.9
dvq = Is
Vtot
where, Is = interval between vehicle-in-queue counts (s), Viq = sum of vehicle-inqueue counts (veh), Vtot = total number of vehicles arriving during the survey period
(veh), and 0.9 = empirical adjustment factor. The 0.9 adjustment factor accounts
for the errors that may occur when this type of sampling technique is used to derive
actual delay values, normally resulting in an overestimate of delay.
(c) Compute the fraction of vehicles stopping and the average number of vehicles stopping per lane in each signal cycle, as indicated on the worksheet.
(d) Using Table 7:1, look up a correction factor appropriate to the lane group free-flow
speed and the average number of vehicles stopping per lane in each cycle. This
factor adds an adjustment for deceleration and acceleration delay, which cannot be
measured directly with manual techniques.
(e) Multiply the correction factor by the fraction of vehicles stopping, and then add this
product to the time-in-queue value of Step 2 to obtain the final estimate of control
delay per vehicle.
Numerical Example
A test was conducted to determine the delay in an intersection. Table 7:3 presents a sample
computation on direct observation of vehicle-in-queue counts at the intersection. The traffic
signal at the intersection operates with a cycle time of 115 sec. The test was conducted on the
2 lane road over a 15-min period, which is almost thirteen cycles . Count interval was 15-s.
The total number of vehicle is 530 and the total number of stopped vehicle is 223. Assume the
free flow speed to be 65 km/h and the empirical adjustment factor 0.9
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

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February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

7. Measurement along a Length of Road

INTERSECTION CONTROL DELAY WORKSHEET


General Information
Analyst
Agency or Company
Date Performed
Analysts Time Period

Site Information
Intersection
Area Type
Jurisdiction
Analysis Year

CAD

Others

Input Initial Parameters

Total vehicle arriving,Varr


Stopped-vehicle count,Vstopped

Number of lanes, N
Freeflow speed,FFS (km/h)

Survey count interval,ls (s)

Cycle length,C (s)

Input Field Data


Clock
Time

Cycle
Number

Number of vehicles in queue


Count interval
3
4

10

Total
Computations

Total vehicles in queue,Vtvq =

Number of cycles surveyed,N_{s}


Fraction of vehicles stopping, FVS =

Timeinqueue per vehicle,d_{vq}


No.of vehicles stopping per lane each cycle =

Accel/Decek correction delay,dacl = F V S CF


Control delay/vehicles,d = dvq + dacl

Accel/Decel correction factor, CF(Ex.A1G2)

Figure 7:2: Intersection delay worksheet


General Information

Site Information
Cicera&Beimanc
Intersection
Area Type
CBD
Jurisdiction
1999
Analysis Year

Analyst
Agency or Company
Date Performed
Analysis time period

Others

Input initial Parameters


Number of lanes, N
Freeflow speed,FFS (km/h)

2
65

Total vehicle arriving,Vtot


Stopped vehicle count,Vstop

Survey count interval,Is (s)

15

Cycle length, C (s)

530
223

Input Field Data


Number of vehicles in Queue
Count Interval
4
5

Clock
Time

Cycle
Number

4:34

"

15

12

6
7

12

15

16

"
7

14

14

10

13

2
13

4:42

10

12

5
3
4

7
6

13
12

12

4:47

6
7
8

"

16

37

64

88

3
4

Total

"

61

10

Figure 7:3: Example of the intersection control delay worksheet


Solution:
1. Number of lane, N=2
2. Free-flow Speed, FFS =65 km/h
3. Survey count interval, Is =15 sec
4. Total vehicle in queue, Viq = 371
5. Total vehicles arriving, Vtot = 530
6. Stopped vehicles count, Vstop = 223
7. No of Cycle Surveyed, Nc=7.8
8. Acc./Dec. correction factor, CF=4 (from Table 7.1)

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

7.7

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

7. Measurement along a Length of Road

9. No. Of Vehicles stopped per lane each cycle


Vstop Nc N =

223
7.82

= 14

10. Fraction of vehicles stopping,


FV S =

Vstop
Vtot

223
530

= 0.42

11. Time-in-queue per vehicle ,


dvq = (Is

Viq
)0.9
Vtot

= 9.5sec

12. Acc./Dec. correction delay,


dad = F V S CF = 0.42 4 = 1.7sec
13. Control delay/vehicle,
d = dvq + dad = 11.2sec

7.7

Summary

The information assembled as part of this travel time and delay study forms a baseline for
future assessment. This study helps to determine the amount of time required to travel from
one point to another on a given route. Often, information may also be collected on the locations,
durations, and causes of delays. Good indication of the level of service and identifying problem
locations

7.8

References

1. Highway capacity manual, 2000. chapter-16.


2. Manual on uniform traffic studies, 2000. Topic No. 750-020-007 Travel Time and Delay
Study.
3. Travel Time Data Collection Handbook. 2019.
4. F D Hobbs. Traffic Planning and Engineering. Pergamon Press, 1979. 2nd Edition.
5. W S Hamburger J H Kell. Fundamentals of Traffic Engineering. 1989.
6. Theodore M Matson, Wilbure S smith, and Fredric W Hurd. Traffic engineering, 1955.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

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February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

8. Automated Traffic Measurement

Chapter 8
Automated Traffic Measurement
8.1

Introduction

This present paper offers a review on some of the latest automated traffic data collection technologies. This automated technology briefly summarizes as two methods. The first technology
is in-situ technology and second one is in vehicle technology. Broadly speaking, in-situ technologies refer to traffic data measured by the means of detectors located along the roadside.
Generally, traffic count technologies can be split into two categories: the intrusive and nonintrusive methods. The intrusive methods basically consist of a data recorder and a sensor
placing on or in the road. Non-intrusive techniques are based on remote observations. Then
the next order automated traffic data technology is floating car data (FCD). FCD is an alternative or rather complement source of high quality data to existing technologies. They will
help improve safety, efficiency and reliability of the transportation system. They are becoming crucial in the development of new Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). Then finally
discussed travel time prediction by these technologies.

8.1.1

General

The vehicular traffic is increasing tremendously in todays/this world, simultaneously congestion also increases. In order to prevent congestion, one option is to increase the capacity by
increasing the number of existing transportation system. A second option is to develop alternatives that increase capacity by improving the efficiency of the existing transportation system.
The later focuses on building fewer lane-miles, while investing in Intelligent Transportation
Systems (ITS) infrastructure. The goals of ITS include the following:
1. Enhance public safety;
2. Reduce congestion;
3. Improved access to travel and transit information;
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8. Automated Traffic Measurement

4. Generate cost savings to motor carriers, transit operators, toll authorities, and government
agencies; and
5. Reduce detrimental environmental impacts.
Intelligence requires information, and information requires data, which is generated by surveillance. ITS include sensor, communication, and traffic control technologies. These technologies
assist states, cities, and towns nationwide, meeting the increasing demands on surface transportation system. Vehicle detection and surveillance technologies are an integral part of ITS,
since they gather all or part of the data that is used in ITS. So a wide range of data is required
for ITS to manage:
1. Volume Count
2. Vehicle Classification
3. Vehicle Occupancy
4. Travel Time
5. Delay

8.1.2

Volume Count

Traffic volume studies are conducted to determine the number, movements, and classifications
of roadway vehicles at a given location. These data helps to identify critical flow time periods,
determining the influence of large vehicles or pedestrians on vehicular traffic flow. The length of
sampling period depends on the type of count being taken and the intended use of recorded data.
Two methods are available for conducting traffic volume counts: (1) manual and (2) automatic.
Manual counts are typically used to gather data for determination of vehicle classification,
turning movements, direction of travel, and vehicle occupancy.
Manual Count Method
Most applications of manual counts require small samples of data at any given location. Manual
counts are rarely used when the effort and expense of automated equipment are not justified.
Manual counts are necessary when automated equipment is not available. Manual counts are
typically used for period of less than a day. Normal intervals for a manual count are 5, 10,
or 15 minutes. Traffic counts during a rush hour of Monday morning and Friday evening rush
hours shows exceptionally high volumes and is not normally used in analysis; therefore, counts
are usually conducted on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

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8. Automated Traffic Measurement

Automatic Count Method


The automatic count method provides a means for gathering large amounts of traffic data.
Automatic counts are usually taken in 1-hour interval for each 24-hour period. The counts
extend for a week, month, or year. When the counts are recorded for each 24-hour time period,
the peak flow period can be identified. Automatic counts are recorded using one of three
methods: portable counters, permanent counters, and videotape.

8.1.3

Vehicle Classification

Traffic volumes vary over time on all roads. Traffic volumes also vary dramatically from one
road to another. These variations in traffic volume are even more apparent when volumes
for specific vehicle types (classification) are analyzed. Consequently, the vehicle classification
data collection program must gather sufficient data on traffic patterns of important vehicle
types to accurately quantify the truck traffic stream to meet the needs of users. These include;
time of day, day of week, time of year, direction. Vehicle classification counts are used in
establishing structural and geometric design criteria, computing expected highway user revenue,
and computing capacity. If a high percentage of heavy trucks exist or if the vehicle mix at the
crash site is suspected as contributing to the crash problem, then classification counts should
be conducted. Typically cars, station wagons, pickup and panel trucks, and motorcycles are
classified as passenger cars. The observer records the classification of vehicles and its direction
of travel at the intersection.
Integration of Classification Count
The vehicle classification counts required should not be considered separate from the volume
counts traditionally performed. Instead, they should be integrated with the traditional volume
counts. Because classification counts provide both classification and total volume information,
they can replace traditional volume counts reducing duplication and error. Traffic surveillance
equipment is used as part of advanced traffic management systems (ATMS) or advanced traveler
information systems (ATIS) can be used to supply both total volume and vehicle classification
information. Intelligent transportation system (ITS) technology and its resulting data are
often present at high profile locations as part of safety enhancement systems. These systems
can supply useful, continuous traffic monitoring data. Coordinating these traffic monitoring
activities can lead to significant improvements in the amount of data available to users, while
at the same time reducing the cost of data collection.

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8. Automated Traffic Measurement

Uses of Classification Data


Vehicle classification data are of considerable use to agencies involved in almost all aspects of
transportation planning and engineering. The need for information on truck volumes and freight
movements is growing with the recognition of role that freight mobility plays in the economy,
and as highway engineers realize the importance of truck volume and operating characteristics
on the geometric and structural design of roadways and bridges.
1. pavement design
2. pavement management
3. scheduling the resurfacing, reconditioning, and reconstruction of highways
4. prediction and planning for commodity flows and freight movements
5. development of weight enforcement strategies
6. vehicle crash record analysis
7. environmental impact analysis
8. analysis of alternative highway regulatory and investment policies.

8.1.4

Vehicle Occupancy

Vehicle occupancy measurement is an important part of transportation congestion management


and it is used for evaluating the efficiency of road system, High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes
or particular congestion reduction programs. The measure occupancy is a function of speed
and length of individual vehicle and thus, it could consider the effects of varying vehicle length
and speed. Hence, it can be considered as a logical substitute of density. In other words,
occupancy, based on practical consideration, is defined as the percentage of time the detection
zone is occupied by the vehicles. Therefore, occupancy measured using detectors depends on the
length of detection zone, each detector type has a differing zone of influence (detector length)
and the zone of influence is effectively added to vehicle length. Hence, the measured occupancy
may be different for different detection zones even for the same site having identical traffic,
depending on the size and nature of the detectors. Development of intelligent systems that
extract traffic density and vehicle classification information from traffic surveillance systems is
crucial in traffic management. It is important to know the traffic density of the roads real time
especially in HOV lanes for effective traffic management. Time estimation of reaching from one
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Transportation Systems Engineering

8. Automated Traffic Measurement

location to another and recommendation of different route alternatives using real time traffic
density information are very valuable for metropolitan city residents.

8.1.5

Travel Time

Travel time can be defined as the period of time to transverse a route between any two points
of interest. It is a fundamental measure in transportation. Travel time is also one of the most
readily understood and communicated measure indices used by a wide variety of users, including transportation engineers, planners, and consumers. Travel time data is useful for a wide
range of transportation analyses including congestion management, transportation planning,
and traveler information. Congestion management systems commonly use travel time-based
performance measures to evaluate and monitor traffic congestion. In addition, some metropolitan areas provide real-time travel time prediction as part of their advanced traveler information
systems (ATIS). Travel time data can be obtained through a number of methods. Some of the
methods involve direct measures of travel times along with test vehicles, license plate matching technique, and ITS probe vehicles. Additionally, various sensors (e.g. inductance loop
detectors, acoustic sensors) in ITS deployment collect a large amount of traffic data every day,
especially in metropolitan areas. Such data can be used for travel time estimation for extensive
applications when direct measurements of travel times are not available.

8.1.6

Delay

The delay defines as The additional travel time experienced by a driver, passenger, or pedestrian. Delay is thus the difference between an ideal travel time and actual travel time.
Since the definition of delay depends on a hypothetical ideal travel time, delay is not always
directly measurable in the field. If the ideal travel time is defined as off-peak travel time, then
the measured delay is difference between the actual measured travel time during peak period,
and the actual measured travel time during off-peak period. If the ideal travel time is defined
as travel at the posted speed limit, then the delay cannot be directly measured in the field.
It is estimated by subtracting the hypothetical travel time at the posted speed limit from the
measured mean travel time in the field.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

8.5

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

8.2
8.2.1

8. Automated Traffic Measurement

Detector technology
General

In traffic detector information is derived from technologies divided into two main groups, information collected via in-situ detectors, deployed at location of interests, or information from
mobile technologies that are located within vehicles themselves. Over the last two decades,
there has been an increase in the provision of services that are specific to vehicle types, as well
as fleet or asset management and tracking, based on in-vehicle technologies. In-vehicle technologies have really come into realization through the advantage of satellite-based technologies,
and are perceived as playing an increasing role in the future.Such technologies not only improve
our ability to manage networks efficiently, but will also have a direct impact of the types of
policy instruments available to authorities, the operation of so-called ITS.

8.2.2

In-Situ Technologies

In-situ traffic detector technologies are further divided into two categories: Intrusive technologies that are physically mounted at, or below, the road surface, installation of which causes
potential disruption to traffic. Conversely, non-intrusive technologies are mounted at, or above
the road surface, and their installation causes little or no disruption to traffic. Detectors of
both types temporary or permanent nature, though sub-surface intrusive installations are, by
necessity, usually permanent. All in-situ detectors will provide some measure of the volume of
vehicle flow. Particular detector technologies will vary as to their reliability of the flow estimate, and their ability to provide accurate additional information on vehicle category or speed.
A single sensor gives only flow or occupancy information. Two adjacent sensors are required
for speed or classification assessment. The time-lag and separation distance between the onset
of consecutive events at the sensors have been used to estimate vehicle speed. Classification
information is derived either from vehicle length or through examination of the form of the
profile generated as output from the sensor.
Intrusive Technologies
Typical examples of intrusive technologies, their sensor types and installation locations are
shown in Fig. 8:1. The first types of units (Fig. 8:1, Type 1) are passive magnetic or magnetometer sensors that are either permanently mounted within holes in the road, or affixed to the
road surface in some fashion. The unit communicates to a nearby base station processing unit
using either wires buried in the road, or wireless communications. The sensor has a circular or
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8. Automated Traffic Measurement

2
3

1
1

Type:1. Embedded magnetometers


2. Pneumatic tube detectors
3. Inductive detector loops

Figure 8:1: Typical intrusive detector configurations, Source: IMAGINE- Collection Methods
for Additional Data
elliptically offset zone of detection (i.e., the blue area).
The second types of units (Fig. 8:1, Type 2) use pneumatic tubes that are stretched across
the carriageway and affixed at the kerb side at both ends. Such systems are only be deployed
on a temporary basis, due to the fragile nature of tubes, which are easily damaged or torn up
by heavy or fast moving vehicles.
The third type (Fig. 8:1, Type 3) are inductive detector loops (IDL), consisting of coated
wire coils buried in grooves cut in the road surface, sealed over with bituminous filler. A cable buried with the loop sends data to a roadside processing unit. The zone of detection for
inductive loop sensors depends on the cut shape of the loop slots. The zones depending on
the overall sensitivity of system not correspond precisely to the slot dimensions. IDLs are a
cheap and mature technology. They are installed on both major roads and within urban areas,
forming the backbone detector network for most traffic control systems.
The fourth type of intrusive system is Weigh-In-Motion (WIM) shown in Fig. 8:2, detectors
that consist of a piezoelectric sensor (e.g. bending-plate or fiber-optic) system laid in a channel across the road. These systems are relatively rare and are used in specific locations for
enforcement or access control. They are usually coupled with other systems, either intrusive or
non-intrusive, to provide additional cross-checks on collected data.
1. Pneumatic Tube Detector
Pneumatic road tube sensors send a burst of air pressure along a rubber tube when a
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8. Automated Traffic Measurement

Signal sent
to processor

Figure 8:2: Weigh-In-Motion Detector system, Source


vehicles tire passes over the tube. The pulse of air pressure closes an air switch, producing
an electrical signal that is transmitted to a counter or analysis software. The pneumatic
road tube sensor is portable, using lead-acid, gel, or other rechargeable batteries as a
power source. The road tube is installed perpendicular to the traffic flow direction and
is commonly used for short-term traffic counting, vehicle classification by axle count and
spacing. Some data to calculate vehicle gaps, intersection stop delay, stop sign delay, and
saturation flow rate, spot speed as a function of vehicle class, and travel time when the
counter is utilized in conjunction with a vehicle transmission sensor.
Advantages
(a) Cheap and self-contained, the easiest to deploy of all intrusive systems, recognized
technology with acceptable accuracy for strategic traffic modeling purposes, hence
very widely used.
(b) Axle-based classification appears attractive, given sub-vehicle categories are partially
axle based.
Disadvantages
(a) Some units are not counted or classify vehicles.
(b) Tube installations are not durable, the life of tubes are less than one month only.
(c) The tube detectors are not suitable for high flow and high speed roads.
(d) Units should not be positioned where there is the possibility of vehicles parking on
the tube.
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8. Automated Traffic Measurement

(e) It cant detect the two wheelers.


2. Inductive Detector Loop (IDL)
Oscillating electrical signal is applied to the loop. The metal content of a moving vehicle
chassis changes the electrical properties of circuit. Changes are detected at a roadside
unit, triggering a vehicle event. A single loop system collects flow and occupancy. The
speed can be calculated by the assumptions that are made for the mean length of vehicles.
Two-loop systems collect flow, occupancy, vehicle length, and speed.
Advantages
(a) It is a very cheap technology. Almost every dynamic traffic control system in this
world uses IDL data.
Disadvantages
(a) Loops are damaged by utility and street maintenance activities or penetration of
water.
(b) IDLs with low sensitivity fail to detect vehicles with speed below a certain threshold,
and miscount vehicles with complex or unusual chassis configurations, or vehicles
with relatively low metal content (e.g. motorcycles).
(c) IDL data supplied to traffic control systems have a very low sample rate.
(d) Not suitable for mounting on metallic bridge decks.
(e) Some radio interference occurs between loops in close proximity with each other.
3. Magneto-meters/Passive magnetic systems Magneto-meters monitor for fluctuations in the relative strength of the Earths magnetic field, which is changed by the presence of a moving metal object i.e., a vehicle. A single passive magnetic system collects
flow and occupancy. Two magneto-meter systems collect flow, occupancy, vehicle length,
and speed.
Two types of magnetic field sensors are used for traffic flow parameter measurement.
The first type, the two-axis flux gate magneto-meter, detects changes in vertical and horizontal components of the Earth s magnetic field produced by a ferrous metal vehicle.
The two-axis flux gate magneto-meter contains a primary winding and two secondary
sense winding on a coil surrounding high permeability soft magnetic material core. The
second type of magnetic field sensor is the magnetic detector, more properly referred to
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

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February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

8. Automated Traffic Measurement

Earths magnetic field Magnetic dipole Resultant magnetic


produced by
anomaly in Earths
in the absence of
metal vehicle
ferrous materials magnetic field
(a) Magnetic anomaly induced in the Earths magnetic field by a magnetic dipole

N
W

N
E

COMPASS
VARIATION
S

N
E

W
S

N
E

E
S

E
S

SENSOR SIGNAL
VARIATION
VEHICLE MAGNETIC INFLUENCE
TO THE EARTHS MAGNETIC FIELD

(b) Perturbation of Earths magnetic field by a ferrous metal vehicle

Figure 8:3: Weigh-In-Motion Detector system (Source: FHWA vehicle detection manual)
as an induction or search coil magneto-meter shown in Fig. 8:3. It detects the vehicle
signature by measuring the change in the magnetic lines of flux caused by the change in
field values produced by a moving ferrous metal vehicle. These devices contain a single
coil winding around a permeable magnetic material rod core. However, most magnetic
detectors cannot detect stopped vehicles, since they require a vehicle to be moving or
otherwise changing its signature characteristics with respect to time.
Advantages
(a) More usually mounted in a small hole in road surface and hardwired to the processing
unit.
Suitable for deployment on bridges.
Disadvantages
(a) Possibly damaged by utility maintenance activities, as with IDLs.

4. Weigh-In-Motion (WIM) systems


(a) Bending Plate
Bending plate WIM systems utilize plates with strain gauges bonded to the underside. The system records the strain measured by strain gauges and calculates
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

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8. Automated Traffic Measurement

the dynamic load. Static load is estimated using the measured dynamic load and
calibration parameters. Calibration parameters account for factors, such as vehicle
speed and pavement or suspension dynamics that influence estimates of the static
weight. The accuracy of bending plate WIM systems can be expressed as a function
of the vehicle speed traversed over the plates, assuming the system is installed in a
sound road structure and subject to normal traffic conditions.
Advantages
Bending plate WIM systems is used for traffic data collection as well as for weight
enforcement purposes. The accuracy of these systems is higher than piezoelectric
systems and their cost is lower than load cell systems. Bending plate WIM systems
do not require complete replacement of the sensor.
Disadvantages
Bending plate WIM systems are not as accurate as load cell systems and are considerably more expensive than piezoelectric systems.
(b) Piezoelectric
Piezoelectric WIM systems contain one or more piezoelectric sensors that detect a
change in voltage caused by pressure exerted on the sensor by an axle and thereby
measure the axle s weight. As a vehicle passes over the piezoelectric sensor, the
system records the sensor output voltage and calculates the dynamic load. With
bending plate systems, the dynamic load provides an estimate of static load when
the WIM system is properly calibrated.
The typical piezoelectric WIM system consists of at least one piezoelectric sensor
and two ILDs. The piezoelectric sensor is placed in the travel lane perpendicular to
the travel direction. The inductive loops are placed upstream and downstream of
the piezoelectric sensor. The upstream loop detects vehicles and alerts the system
to an approaching vehicle. The downstream loop provides data to determine vehicle
speed and axle spacing based on the time it takes the vehicle to traverse the distance between the loops. Fig. 8:4 shows a full-lane width piezoelectric WIM system
installation. In this example, two piezoelectric sensors are utilized on either side of
the downstream loop.
Advantages
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Cabinet

Traffic flow
directions
er

ld

ad

Ro

u
ho

Inductive WIM strip,


loops (2) fulllength, PVC conduit
below ground
2 places

Figure 8:4: WIM installation with full-length piezoelectric sensors Source: FHWA vehicle detection manual
Typical piezoelectric WIM systems are among the least expensive systems in use
today in terms of initial capital costs and life cycle maintenance costs. Piezoelectric
WIM systems can be used at higher speed ranges (16 to 112 kmph) than other WIM
systems. Piezoelectric WIM systems can be used to monitor up to four lanes.
Disadvantages
Typical piezoelectric systems are less accurate than load cell and bending plate WIM
systems. Piezoelectric sensors for WIM systems must be replaced at least once every
3 years.
Non-Intrusive Technologies
Non-intrusive technologies include video data collection, passive or active infrared detectors,
microwave radar detectors, ultrasonic detectors, passive acoustic detectors, laser detectors and
aerial photography. All these technologies represent emergent fields that are expanding rapidly
with continuing advances in signal processing. At present time such technologies are used to
provide supplemental information for selected locations or for specific applications (e.g., queue
detection at traffic signals). Most non-intrusive systems are operationally and somewhat visually similar, consisting of small electronics unit mounted in a weatherproof housing placed in
various locations, as shown in Fig. 8:5.
The first type of non-invasive detectors are roadside mast-mounted. The detector possesses
a field-of-regard covering an oblique area upstream or downstream of the unit. There are also
multiple zones of detection defined within the overall field of regard, or the overall zone of
detection same as the field of regard, depending on the specific detector type and technology.
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2

2
3

Type 1. Roadside, Mastmounted type


2. Gantry or bridge underside
3. Crossfire

Figure 8:5: Typical non-intrusive technology configurations


Obscuration problems occur when high-sided vehicles screens lower vehicles from the detector
or the field-of-view being too large, leading to detection of vehicles outside the desired lane.
The second type of non-invasive detectors are mounted on gantries or bridge undersides, with
field of regard directly below, or at a slight oblique to the unit. Finally, some units, such as
open-path pollutant monitors are mounted road side at ground level, firing a beam across the
road. Such units are subject to side-by-side masking and hence most suitable for only single
lane, unidirectional flows.
1. Video image detection (VID) The traffic parameters are collected by frame-by-frame
analysis of video images captured by roadside cameras. The following parameters are
collected: Depending on the processing methodology almost all traffic parameters are
captured from video analysis. Simple video systems often collect flow volume and occupancy. More complex systems allow the extraction of further parameters.
Advantages
Possibility to capture all desired traffic information, including some parameters that are
not readily obtainable using other types of detectors Possibility of a permanent visual
record of the traffic flow that reviewed and analyzed by a human operator.
Disadvantages
VID systems are susceptible to obscure issues, as with other non-intrusive detectors.
Performance of VID systems might be degraded in bad weather or low light conditions.
2. Infrared Sensors The sensors are mounted overhead to view approaching or departing
traffic or traffic from a side-looking configuration. Infrared sensors are used for signal
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Passive sensor

Receiving aperture
ET

(Emissive term)

(1 E)Tsky

(Reflective term)
Tsky

Road surface with emissivity and


surface temperature
ER and TR

Vehicle with emissivity and


surface temperature
EV and TV

Figure 8:6: Emission and reflection of energy by vehicle and road surface. (Source: FHWA
vehicle detection manual)
control; volume, speed, and class measurement, as well as detecting pedestrians in crosswalks. With infrared sensors, the word detector takes on another meaning, namely the
light-sensitive element that converts the reflected or emitted energy into electrical signals.
Real-time signal processing is used to analyze the received signals for the presence of a
vehicle.
(a) Passive Infrared (PIR)
Detection of vehicle based on emission or reflection of infrared (electromagnetic radiation of frequency 1011 1014 Hz) radiation from vehicle surface, as compared to
ambient levels emitted or reflected from the road surface shown in Fig. 8:6. The PIR
system collected following parameters: Flow volume, Vehicle presence, and detection
zone occupancy. Speed with unit with multiple detection zones.
Advantages
i. Relatively long wavelength of light used in PIR systems makes them less susceptible to weather effects.
Disadvantages
i. Accuracy of speed information is poor with low resolution sensors. Vehicle length
determination is highly problematic for the same reason.
(b) Active Infrared (AIR)/Laser Low power LED or laser diode fires a pulsed or continuous beam down to road surface as shown in Fig. 8:7. Time for reflection to
return is measured. Presence of a vehicle lowers the time of reflection. High scanning rates provides a detailed profile for classification determination. Use of Doppler
frequency shift from moving object allows for very accurate speed determination.
The AIR system collected following parameters flow volume, speed, classification,
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Scanning beams

Figure 8:7: Laser radar beam geometry. (Source: FHWA vehicle detection manual)
vehicle presence, traffic density.
Advantages
i. Very accurate flow, speed and classifications possible.
ii. Laser systems work in day and night conditions.
Disadvantages
i. Active near-IR sensors adversely affected by weather conditions.
ii. Laser systems impeded by haze or smoke.
iii. Some problems with tracking small vehicles reported.
iv. Relatively high costs compared to other units. Precise, but limited zone of
detection require additional units over other systems.
3. Microwave - Doppler and Radar Low energy microwave radiation (2.5 to 24 GHz)
is transmitted into the detection zone. Objects within the zone reflect a portion of the
radiation back to a receiver. Doppler units use the frequency shift of the return to calculate speed as shown in Fig. 8:8. It cant detect the stationary objects. The microwave
system collected following parameters.
Doppler - Flow volume and speed;
Frequency-Modulated, Continuous Wave (FMCW) - Flow volume, speed and presence;
Microwave - Flow volume, speed, presence, possibly classification;
Advantages
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Microwave
Radar
Antenna
Power and
data cables

Controller
Cabinet

Path of transmitted and received


Sign bridge,
overpass, pole,
or mast arm mounting
Reflected signal from vehicle
can be used to determine presence
(occupancy), passage (count), and
and speed, depending on the waveform
that is transmitted by the radar sensor

Vehicle

Figure 8:8: Microwave radar operation. Source


(a) Very accurate. Easy to install, long ranged.
(b) Multiple detection zones possible.
(c) Day or night operation.
Disadvantages
(a) Possible sensitivity to spurious returns from adjacent objects
(b) Restrictions on use due to electromagnetic interference with other electronics.
4. Pulsed and Active Ultrasonic Ultrasonic sensors transmit pressure waves of sound
energy at a frequency between 25 and 50 KHz. Pulse waveforms measure distances to
the road surface and vehicle surface by detecting the portion of the transmitted energy
that is reflected towards the sensor from an area defined by the transmitters beam width.
When a distance other than that to the background road surface is measured, the sensor interprets that measurement as the presence of a vehicle as shown in Fig. 8:9. The
received ultrasonic energy is converted into electrical energy that is analyzed by signal
processing electronics that is either collocated with the transducer or placed in a roadside
controller. Vehicles flow and vehicular speed can be calculated by recording the time at
which the vehicle crosses each beam.
Advantages
(a) Highly accurate.
Disadvantages
(a) Environmental effects affecting sound propagation degrade performance.
(b) Pulsed units with low sampling rate miscount or misclassify fast moving vehicles.
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8. Automated Traffic Measurement

HORIZONTAL
MOUNT

OVERHEAD
MOUNT

00000
11111
11111
00000
00000
11111
00000
11111
00000
11111
00000
11111
00000
11111
00000
11111

00
11
11
00
00
11
00
11

Figure 8:9: Ultrasonic range-measuring sensors, source


5. Passive Acoustic Array Sensors
An array of microphones is used to detect the sound of an approaching vehicle above an
ambient threshold level. Time lags and signal variations between microphone positions
are used to determine vehicle location relative to the array as shown in Fig. 8:10. Further
processing of signal yield to speed information and possibly engine type classification. It
collected flow, speed, occupancy, possibly classification.
Advantages

(a) Completely passive system


(b) Direct speed measurement.
Disadvantages
(a) Environmental effects affecting sound propagation degrade performance
(b) Low accuracy in busy locations due to interference from adjacent sources.

8.2.3

In-Vehicle Technologies or Floating Car Data (FCD)

In addition to using in-situ technologies, many network management applications make use
of in-vehicle devices, generically termed Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) systems. AVL devices either provide positional information whenever a suitably equipped vehicle passes a certain
point in the network, or continuous information as the vehicle travels through a network. The
former system typically relies on appropriate vehicles being equipped with transponders which
transmit and receive information from roadside units. The latter system uses vehicles equipped
with Global Positioning System (GPS) technology.
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Figure 8:10: Acoustic array sensors, source

The principle of FCD is to collect real-time traffic data by locating the vehicle via mobile
phones or GPS over the entire road network as shown in Fig. 8:11. It represents that all vehicles are equipped with mobile phone or GPS which will act as a sensor for the road network.
Data such as car location, speed and direction of travel are sent anonymously to a central processing centre. After collecting and extracting, useful information such as status of traffic and
alternative routes it can be redistributed to the drivers on the road. FCD is an alternative or
rather complement source of high quality data to existing technologies. They will help improve
safety, efficiency and reliability of the transportation system. They are becoming crucial in the
development of ITS.

GPS-based FCD
GPS is becoming more and more useful and inexpensive; few cars had been equipped with GPS
system and were made to pass a certain point in the network. The vehicle location precision
was found to be relatively high, typically less than 30m. Generally, traffic data obtained from
private vehicles or trucks are more suitable for motorways and rural areas.
Currently, GPS probe data are widely used as a source of real-time information by many
service providers but it suffers from a limited number of vehicles equipped and high equipment
costs compared to floating cellular data.
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) or Transponder Systems
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is an automatic identification method, relying on storing
and retrieving data from remote areas using devices called RFID tags or transponders. The
technology requires some extent of cooperation of an RFID reader and an RFID tag. An RFID
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GPS
Satellites

Differential
Correction Station

Transmisson
Tower
Probe Vehicle

Control Center/Dispatch

Figure 8:11: Communication from GPS, source


tag is an object that can be applied to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person for the
purpose of identification and tracking using radio waves. Some tags can be read from several
meters away and beyond the line of sight of the reader.
A basic RFID system consists of three components
1. An antenna or coil
2. A transceiver (with decoder)
3. A transponder (RF tag)
An RFID tag is comprised of a microchip to collect information and an antenna that transmits
this data wireless to a reader. At its most basic, the chip will contain a serialized identifier,
or license plate number, that uniquely identifies that item. Typically, processed data would
be used to provide revised scheduling and arrival time information to the general public, via
variable information signs. Transponder systems are also used with Selective Vehicle Detection
(SVD) systems which are designed to allow priority at traffic signals or cordon points for public
transport or emergency service vehicles.
Typical Applications for RFID
1. Automatic Vehicle identification
2. Inventory Management
3. Work-in-Process
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4. Container or Yard Management


5. Parking Management
Advantages
1. RFID tags can be read through materials without line of sight.
2. RFID tags can be read automatically when a tagged product comes past or near a reader.
Disadvantages
1. Reader collision occurs when the signals from two or more readers overlap.
2. The tag is unable to respond to simultaneous queries.
3. Tag collision occurs when many tags are present in a small are

8.3
8.3.1

Special applications
General

Travel time, or the time required to traverse a route between any two points of interest, is
a fundamental measure in transportation. Travel time is a simple concept understood and
communicated by a wide variety of applications for transportation engineers and planners.
Several data collection techniques can be used to collect travel times. These techniques are
designed to collect travel times and average speeds on designated roadway segments or links.

8.3.2

Travel Time Data collection Technique

Following are the different techniques available for the travel time data collection.
1. Test Vehicle Techniques
2. License Plate Matching Techniques
3. ITS Probe Vehicle Techniques
4. Emerging and Non-Traditional Techniques

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Test Vehicle Techniques


Travel time data using active test vehicles in combination with varying levels of instrumentation: manual (clipboard and stopwatch), an electronic distance measuring instrument (DMI), or
a global positioning system (GPS) receiver. It involves the use of data collection vehicle within
which an observer records cumulative travel time at predefined checkpoints along a travel route.
Then this information converted to travel time, speed, and delay for each segment along the
survey route. There are several different methods for performing this type of data collection,
depending upon the instrumentation used in the vehicle. These vehicles are instrumented and
then sent into the field for travel time data collection, they are sometimes referred to as active
test vehicles.
Advantages
1. Advanced test vehicle techniques (e.g., DMI or GPS use) result in detailed data.
2. Low initial cost.
Disadvantages
1. Sources of possible error from either human or electric sources that require adequate
quality control,
2. Data storage difficulties.
License Plate Matching Techniques
Travel times by matching vehicle license plates between consecutive checkpoints with varying
levels of instrumentation: tape recorders, video cameras, portable computers, or automatic
license plate character recognition.
Advantages
1. Travel times from a large sample of motorists, very simple technique.
2. Provides a continuum of travel times during the data collection period.
Disadvantages
1. Travel time data limited to locations where observers or video cameras can be positioned;
2. Limited geographic coverage on a single day
3. Accuracy of license plate reading is an issue for manual and portable computer
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ITS Probe Vehicle Techniques


Travel times using ITS components and passive probe vehicles in the traffic stream equipped
with signpost-based transponders, automatic vehicle identification (AVI) transponders, groundbased radio navigation, cellular phones, or GPS receivers.
Some vehicles are equipped with dynamic route guidance (DRG) device which act as roving
traffic detectors, a non-infrastructure based traffic monitoring system. Such vehicles, which are
participating in the traffic flow and capable of determining experienced traffic conditions and
transmitting these to a traffic center, are called probe vehicles. To determine its position and
to register experienced traffic conditions, a probe vehicle is equipped with on-board electronics,
such as a location and a communication device. By means of the location device, the probe
vehicle keeps track of its own geographic position.
Through the communication device, the probe vehicle transmits its traffic experiences via a
mobile communication link to a traffic center. For instance, each probe can transmit traffic
messages once every time interval containing its location and its speed at the instant of transmission. In this traffic center the traffic data received from probe vehicles is gathered, and
combined with data from the other monitoring sources, and processed into relevant traffic information. It is very useful for Advanced Traveler Information system (ATIS).
Advantages
1. Low cost per unit of data
2. Continuous data collection
3. Automated data collection
4. Data are in electronic format
5. No disruption of traffic
Disadvantages
1. High implementation cost
2. Fixed infrastructure constraints - Coverage area, including locations of antenna
3. Requires skilled software
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Location Antenna
Signalpost
I.D

Signalpost
Transmitter

Vehicle Location
Unit

Radio
Antenna

SignpostBus Communication Link

Central Computer

Signal I.D, Bus I.D,


Odometer Reading
Time/Date Stamp

Radio
Transmitter

BusComputer Center Communication Link

Figure 8:12: Signpost-Based AVL Communication Processes, Source: Travel Time Detection
Hand Book
Tag I.D. #,
Time Stamp
Date Stamp,
Antenna I.D.

Central Computer
Toll Plaza, Sign Bridge, Overpass, or Gantry
Antenna
Transceiver
Reader
Unit
Leased Phone Lines

Tag

Reader
Unit

Coaxial Cable,
Radio Wave, or
Microwave

Tag I.D. #

AVI tag

#
I.D.

Antenna Spacing
Varies, Typically
25 km

Figure 8:13: AVI Vehicle-to-Roadside Communication Process, Source: Travel Time Detection
Hand Book
4. Not recommended for small scale data collection efforts
ITS probe vehicle data collection systems
1. Signpost-Based Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) - This technique has mostly
been used by transit agencies. Probe vehicles communicate with transmitters mounted
on existing signpost structures shown in Fig. 8:12.

2. Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI) - Probe vehicles are equipped with electronic
tags. These tags communicate with roadside transceivers to identify unique vehicles shown
in Fig. 8:13 and collect travel times between transceivers.

3. Ground-Based Radio Navigation - It is used for transit or commercial fleet management, this system is similar to the global positioning system (GPS). Data are collected
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Central Computer
Vehicle I.D.
Time Stamp

Vehicle Location
Request

Vehicle I.D.
Time Stamp

Vehicle I.D.
Time Stamp

Vehicle I.D.
Time Stamp

GroundBased
Radio Tower

Vehicle Location Unit

Figure 8:14: Ground-Based Radio Navigation Communication Process, Source: Travel Time
Detection Hand Book
by communication between probe vehicles and a radio tower infrastructure as shown in
Fig. 8:14.

4. Cellular Geo-location - This experimental technology can collect travel time data by
discretely tracking cellular telephone call transmissions. Cellular telephones are also useful
to collect travel time data. Two techniques have been applied using cellular technology:
cellular telephone reporting and cellular geolocating.
Cellular Telephone Reporting
An operator at the central control facility records each drivers identification, location,
and time, by monitoring the time between successive telephone calls, travel time or travel
speed between reporting locations are determined. It is useful for assessment of current
traffic conditions and for collecting travel time data during delays or accidents. The cellular telephone reporting method is recommended for short-term studies with low accuracy
requirements.
Cellular Geo-location
The cellular geolocating methodology discreetly tracks cellular telephone calls to collect
travel time data and monitor freeway conditions. This technique utilizes an existing cellular telephone network, vehicle locating devices, and a central control facility to collect
travel time data. All vehicles equipped with cellular telephones are potential probe vehicles. The system automatically detects cellular telephone call initiations and locates the
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respective probe vehicle within a few seconds.


Advantages
(a) Driver recruitment not necessary
(b) No in-vehicle equipment to install
(c) Large potential sample
Disadvantages
(a) Low accuracy
(b) Privacy issues
(c) Infrastructure dependent
Numerical Example
1. If the vehicle 10% time occupied by loop M and 32% time occupied by loop N, the distance
between two loops are 4.22 m find the spot speed of the vehicle. Also find the length of
the vehicle if time occupancy for M - loop is 0.26sec and 0.32 for N-loop?
Solution: Length is 4.22 m and occupancy times are 0.32 and 0.1.Therefore,the spot
speed(v)is given by:
ldist
,
t2 t1
= (4.22)/(0.32 0.1) = 19.18 m/sec.

v =

For length calculation, the speed is 19.18 m/sec and occupancy times are 0.26 and 0.32.
Speed(ot2 + ot1 )
,
2
19.18(0.26 + 0.32)
= 5.56 m.
=
2

Lvehicle =

2. The average length of vehicle is 4.25 m and the length of loop detector zone is 1.85 m.
The time occupancy in the loop is 32 percentages, find the spot speed of the vehicle?
Solution: The average vehicle length is 4.25 and detector zone length is 1.85 m and

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t0 is 0.32.The spot speed(s)is given by:


EV L
,
to
4.25 + 1.85
=
= 19.06 m/sec.
0.32

s =

3. In freeway 1500 vehicles are observed during 120 sec interval. The lane occupancy is 65
percentage and the average length of vehicle observed as 6.55 m. Find the space mean
speed on the freeway section?
Solution: The number of vehicle N is 1500 vehicles; observation period is T= 120 sec.
The lane occupancy O is 0.65 and average length is 6.55, so g is (40.9/6.55).The space
mean speed(s) is given by:
N
,
T Og
1500 6.55
=
120 0.65 (40.9)
= 3.08 m/sec.

s =

8.4

Summary

ITS include sensor, communication, and traffic control technologies. Intelligence requires information, and information requires data, which is generated by surveillance. Vehicle detection
and surveillance technologies are an integral part of ITS, since they gather all or part of the
data that is used in ITS. A detailed introduction and importance of ITS and different types
of data involved have been discussed in this chapter. Technology regarding the data collection
techniques on conventional and non conventional methods has been presented in the following
chapter.
A detailed different technology system, their principles, advantages, disadvantages and type of
data collected by each system have been discussed in this chapter. Application part of travel
time by probe vehicle and vehicle signature by some technologies has been presented.
Detailed travel time estimation by different techniques has been discussed in this chapter. Also
travel time estimation by vehicle technology and emerging techniques such as vehicle signature
have also been discussed in this chapter.
Each detector technology and particular device has its own limitations and individual capability. The successful application of detector technologies largely depends on proper device
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selection. Many factors impact detector selection, such as data type, data accuracy, ease of
installation, cost and reliability. Vehicle technologies are well advanced compared to the in-situ
technology detectors for travel time. A non- Intrusive technology is very effective compared
to the Intrusive technologies. Pneumatic road tube sensors are more suitable for small sample
and short duration period but it cant detect two wheelers. ILDs are flexible to satisfy different
variety of applications, but installation requires pavement disturb. Magnetic sensors provide
traffic measurements more accurate and more informative than loop detector measurements,
but it cant detect the stopped vehicle.

8.5

References

1. Texas Transportation Institute, Texas A and M University System. Travel Time Data
Collection Handbook,Report FHWA-PL-98-035, 1998.
2. Traffic Detector Handbook. Third Edition Volume II, Publication No.FHWA-HRT-06-139
October 2006., 2006.
3. Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. Federal Highway Administration, U.S.
Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C., 2019.
4. B Coifman. Length based vehicle classification on freeways from single loop Detectors. al
University Transportation Center Final Report, 2009.
5. G C de Silva. Automation of Traffic Flow Measurement Using Video Images. Thesis
Report, University of Moratuwa, 2001.
6. S Ding. Freeway Travel Time Estimation using Limited Loop Data. Master Thesis, The
University of Akron, 2008.
7. M L Y Elena and L A Klein. Summary of vehicle detection and surveillance technologies
used in intelligent transportation systems. FHWA Report, New Mexico State University
and VDC Project Consultant, 2000.
8. A Faghri and K Hamad. Applications of GPS in Traffic Management. 2002.
9. L Guillaume. Road Traffic Data: Collection Methods and Applications. JRC Technical
note 47967, 2008.
10. U Leeds. Collection Methods for Additional Data, IMAGINE project no. 503549. Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds, United Kingdom, 2006.
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11. P T Martin, Y Feng, and X Wang. Detector Technology Evaluation. Department of Civil
and Environmental Engineering, Utah Traffic Lab, 2003.
12. S T Mohammad. Vehicle re-identification Based on Inductance Signature Matching.
Master thesis, University of Toronto, 2011.
13. N Nihan, X Zhang, and Y Wang. Improved System for Collecting Real-Time Truck Data
from Dual Loop Detectors. Transportation Northwest, 2005.
14. S G Ritchie S Park and O Cheol. Field Investigation of Advanced Vehicle Re-identification
Techniques and Detector. California PATH Research Report, 2002.
15. A Parsekar. Blind Deconvolution of Vehicle Inductive Signatures for Travel Time Estimation. Master thesis, Department of Computer Science, University of Minnesota Duluth,
Duluth, Minnesota -55812, 2004.
16. C Ulberg. Vehicle occupancy forecasting, Technical Report. Washington State Department of Transportation Technical, Graduate School of Public Affairs University of
Washington Seattle, Washington 98105, 1994.
17. J Xia and M Chen. Freeway Travel Time Forecasting Under Incident. Final Report,
Southeastern Transportation Center, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, 2007.
18. B Young and M Saito. Automated Delay Estimation at Signalized Intersections. Research
Division, 2011.
19. Y Zhirui. Speed estimation using single loop detector outputs. Some studies, Ph.D thesis,
Department of CIVIL Engineering, Texas A and M University, 2007.

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9. Intrusive Technologies

Chapter 9
Intrusive Technologies
9.1

Introduction

Typical examples of intrusive technologies, their sensor types and installation locations are
shown in Fig. 9:1. The first types of units (Fig. 9:1, Type 1) are passive magnetic or magnetometer sensors that are either permanently mounted within holes in the road, or affixed to the
road surface in some fashion. The unit communicates to a nearby base station processing unit
using either wires buried in the road, or wireless communications. The sensor has a circular or
elliptically offset zone of detection (i.e., the blue area).
The second types of units (Fig. 9:1, Type 2) use pneumatic tubes that are stretched across
the carriageway and affixed at the kerb side at both ends. Such systems are only be deployed
on a temporary basis, due to the fragile nature of tubes, which are easily damaged or torn up
by heavy or fast moving vehicles.
The third type (Fig. 9:1, Type 3) are inductive detector loops (IDL), consisting of coated
wire coils buried in grooves cut in the road surface, sealed over with bituminous filler. A cable buried with the loop sends data to a roadside processing unit. The zone of detection for
inductive loop sensors depends on the cut shape of the loop slots. The zones depending on
the overall sensitivity of system not correspond precisely to the slot dimensions. IDLs are a
cheap and mature technology. They are installed on both major roads and within urban areas,
forming the backbone detector network for most traffic control systems.
The fourth type of intrusive system is Weigh-In-Motion (WIM) shown in Fig. 9:2, detectors
that consist of a piezoelectric sensor (e.g. bending-plate or fiber-optic) system laid in a channel across the road. These systems are relatively rare and are used in specific locations for
enforcement or access control. They are usually coupled with other systems, either intrusive or
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

9.1

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

9. Intrusive Technologies

2
3

1
1

Type:1. Embedded magnetometers


2. Pneumatic tube detectors
3. Inductive detector loops

Figure 9:1: Typical intrusive detector configurations, Source: IMAGINE- Collection Methods
for Additional Data

Signal sent
to processor

Figure 9:2: Weigh-In-Motion Detector system, Source


non-intrusive, to provide additional cross-checks on collected data.

9.2

Pneumatic Tube Detector

Pneumatic road tube sensors send a burst of air pressure along a rubber tube when a vehicles
tire passes over the tube. The pulse of air pressure closes an air switch, producing an electrical
signal that is transmitted to a counter or analysis software. The pneumatic road tube sensor
is portable, using lead-acid, gel, or other rechargeable batteries as a power source. The road
tube is installed perpendicular to the traffic flow direction and is commonly used for short-term
traffic counting, vehicle classification by axle count and spacing. Some data to calculate vehicle
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

9.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

9. Intrusive Technologies

gaps, intersection stop delay, stop sign delay, and saturation flow rate, spot speed as a function of vehicle class, and travel time when the counter is utilized in conjunction with a vehicle
transmission sensor.
Advantages
1. Cheap and self-contained, the easiest to deploy of all intrusive systems, recognized technology with acceptable accuracy for strategic traffic modeling purposes, hence very widely
used.
2. Axle-based classification appears attractive, given sub-vehicle categories are partially axle
based.
Disadvantages
1. Some units are not counted or classify vehicles.
2. Tube installations are not durable, the life of tubes are less than one month only.
3. The tube detectors are not suitable for high flow and high speed roads.
4. Units should not be positioned where there is the possibility of vehicles parking on the
tube.
5. It cant detect the two wheelers.

9.3

Inductive Detector Loop (IDL)

Oscillating electrical signal is applied to the loop. The metal content of a moving vehicle chassis
changes the electrical properties of circuit. Changes are detected at a roadside unit, triggering
a vehicle event. A single loop system collects flow and occupancy. The speed can be calculated
by the assumptions that are made for the mean length of vehicles. Two-loop systems collect
flow, occupancy, vehicle length, and speed.
Advantages
1. It is a very cheap technology. Almost every dynamic traffic control system in this world
uses IDL data.
Disadvantages
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

9.3

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

9. Intrusive Technologies

Electronics unit

Roadway centerline

3 ft

Controller cabinet

3 ft

Loop sawcut plan

Leadin conduit
Pullbox
Conduittocurb run

Curb line

12 ft
6 ft

Shielded leadin cable

Roadway section
3 turns
Splice in pullbox
Twisted wire to suppress
electrical interference
1 ft = 0.305 m

Loop wire plan

Figure 9:3: Schematic diagram of single loop detectors, source


1. Loops are damaged by utility and street maintenance activities or penetration of water.
2. IDLs with low sensitivity fail to detect vehicles with speed below a certain threshold,
and miscount vehicles with complex or unusual chassis configurations, or vehicles with
relatively low metal content (e.g. motorcycles).
3. IDL data supplied to traffic control systems have a very low sample rate.
4. Not suitable for mounting on metallic bridge decks.
5. Some radio interference occurs between loops in close proximity with each other.

9.3.1

Single Loop Detectors

A typical single loop system is shown in Fig. 9:3. The system consists of three components: a
detector oscillator, a lead-in cable and a loop embedded in the pavement. The size and shape
of loops largely depend on the specific application. The most common loop size is 1.83 m by
1.83 m and shape is hexagonal as single turn or two or three turns as shown in Fig. 9:3. When
a vehicle stops or passes over the loop, the inductance of the loop is decreased.The decreased
inductance then increases the oscillation frequency and causes the electronics unit to send a
pulse to controller, indicating the presence or passage of a vehicle. Single loop detectors output
predicts occupancy and traffic count data within specific time intervals like 20 sec, 30 sec.

9.3.2

Dual-loop Detectors

Dual-loop detectors are also called speed traps, T loops, or double loop detectors. In a dual-loop
system, two consecutive single inductance loops, called M loop and S loop, are embedded
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

9.4

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

lloop

9. Intrusive Technologies

ldist
T = t2

T = t1

Figure 9:4: Schematic diagram of dual loop detectors


a few distance apart as shown in Fig. 9:4. With such a design, when one of them detects a
vehicle, timer is automatically started in the dual-loop system and runs until the same vehicle
is detected by other loop.Thus, in addition to outputs of vehicle count and occupancy data,
individual vehicle speeds can be trapped through the dividend of the distance between those
two single loops ldist by the elapsed time. Speed trap is defined as the measurement of the
time that a vehicle requires to travel between two detection points. Spot speed is measured by
following Eqn. 9.1.
ldist
(9.1)
Speed =
t2 t1
where,
ldist = Distance between two loops in meters
t1 = Vehicle entry time at first loop in sec
t2 = Vehicle entry time at second loop in sec
Dual-loop detectors can also be used to measure vehicle lengths with extra data extracted from
controllers records. The length of vehicle is measured by following Eqn. 9.2:
Lvehicle =

Speed|ot2 + 0t1 |
2

(9.2)

where,
Lvehicle = Length of vehicle in meters.
oti = on-time for loop detector i; Speed in m/sec
Example-1
If the vehicle entering the freeway in loop M at time 8:32:22:00 am and leaving loop N at
time 8:32:22:15 am, the distance between two loops will be 3.66 m. Find the spot speed of the
vehicle. Also find the length of the vehicle if time occupancy for M - loop is 0.25sec and 0.29
for N - loop.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

9.5

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

9. Intrusive Technologies
lv

ld

Single Loop
Detector

Vehicle

Single Loop
Detector
Vehicle

Figure 9:5: Layout of a roadway segment with single loop detectors

Solution:
Step 1 Spot Speed calculated from the equation 1, where given that the distance between
two loops are 3.66m and entry, exit times are 8:32:22:00 and 8:32:22:15 substitute in Eqn. 9.1.
SpotSpeed = (3.66)/(15 0)/100 = 24.4 m/sec.
Step 2 The vehicle length can obtained by the spot speed of the vehicle, so substitute the
occupancy times at exit and entry in the Eqn. 9.2.
Lvehicle =

9.3.3

(52.7/3.6)|0.25 + 0.29|
= 3.95 m.
2

(9.3)

Speed Estimation by Single Loop

Fig. 9:5 shows a two-lane unidirectional roadway segment with single loop detectors installed.Assume
that the detection zone length is ld and is equal to the detector length, the length of the vehicle
is lv , the speed of the vehicle is S, then the actual time (the time period that the vehicle is over
the detector) can be calculated by:
EV L
S=
(9.4)
to
where,
S = Spot speed in m/sec
EV L =vehicle length lv + detector length ld
to = Occupancy time
There are many algorithms for estimating speed by single loop. The most common method is
based on the relationship between fundamental traffic variables. It uses a constant or a function
to convert loop occupancy into density. The variables include inductive loop length, average
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

9.6

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

9. Intrusive Technologies

vehicle length, occupancy, and traffic volume.For the given number of vehicle and duration of
the observed data the specimen speed can find by following Eqn. 9.5 is shown below.
s=

N
T Og

(9.5)

where,
S = Space mean speed in m/sec
N = Number of vehicles in the observed interval
T = Observation interval in sec
O = occupancy time
g = speed correction factor; (based upon assumed vehicle length, detector configuration, and
traffic conditions) Most of the algorithms followed as (40.9/6.55) for average vehicle length
6.55m.
Example-2
The length of vehicle is 4 m and the length of loop detector zone is 1.83 m. The time occupancy
in the loop is 0.3 sec, find the spot speed of the vehicle?
Solution:
From the given data the average vehicle length is 4 m and the length of loop detector zone is
1.833 m, the time occupancy in loop is 0.3 sec substitute in Eqn. 9.1.
EV L
to
4 + 1.83
s =
= 19.4 m/sec.
0.3

spotspeed =

Example-3
In freeway 2500 vehicles are observed during 300 sec interval. The loop occupancy is 75 percentages and the average length of vehicle observed as 6.55 m, find the space mean speed on
the freeway section?
Solution
Given data is number of vehicle is 2500, duration is 300 sec, loop occupancy is 75 percentage, the average length of vehicle is 6.55 so speed correction factor is 40.99/6.55 substitute in
Eqn. 9.5.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

9.7

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

9. Intrusive Technologies

N
T Og
2500 6.55
s =
300 0.75 40.9
= 6.405 Kmph

specimenspeed =

9.3.4

Vehicle Signature

Loop detectors detect the frequency changes from zero to different level, the inductance changes
are computed by change in frequency. The change in inductance due to the presence of vehicle
is recorded at a small time interval. The waveform obtained by plotting the sampled inductance
changes is referred to as the vehicle inductive waveform or inductance signature.This waveform
depends on number of vehicle parameters such as vehicle length, speed, and metal surface of the
vehicle. Fig. 9:6 shows an inductive waveform of a typical passenger car.Horizontal axis records
data points at 10 milliseconds interval. This is the common shape of inductance waveform
that has one peak in the middle with monotonic decrease in both sides. Vehicle signatures are
functions of vehicle speed and vehicle type, so many features can be derived from the vehicle
signatures directly or indirectly. Volume and occupancy are directly derived from processing
raw vehicle signatures whereas speed is estimated based on the vehicle signature feature vectors.
Vehicle length is obtained based on vehicle speed. By combining vehicle length with existing
vehicle signature features, vehicle classification can be measured. It is easy to observe signature
differences arising from the vehicle speed. Duration or occupancy has an inverse proportional
relationship with speed while slew rate shows a proportional correspondence with speed.
A series of vehicle signature acquired by the Inductive Loop Detectors located at upstream
and downstream of a freeway and different distance measures to find the re identification accuracy level. Double-axle trucks produce a double picked vehicle signature when the resolution
of detector is adequate. Thus, it can be easily used for vehicle-type identification purposes.

9.4

Magneto-meters/Passive magnetic systems

Magneto-meters monitor for fluctuations in the relative strength of the Earths magnetic field,
which is changed by the presence of a moving metal object i.e., a vehicle. A single passive magnetic system collects flow and occupancy. Two magneto-meter systems collect flow, occupancy,
vehicle length, and speed.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

9.8

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

9. Intrusive Technologies
Vehicle Signature

Inductance Change (nH)

50
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
0

10

20

30

40
50
60
Time (ms)

70

80

90

Figure 9:6: Inductive waveform of a typical passenger car, source


Two types of magnetic field sensors are used for traffic flow parameter measurement. The
first type, the two-axis flux-gate magneto-meter, detects changes in vertical and horizontal
components of the Earth s magnetic field produced by a ferrous metal vehicle. The two-axis
flux-gate magneto-meter contains a primary winding and two secondary sense winding on a
coil surrounding high permeability soft magnetic material core. The second type of magnetic
field sensor is the magnetic detector, more properly referred to as an induction or search coil
magneto-meter shown in Fig. 9:7. It detects the vehicle signature by measuring the change in
the magnetic lines of flux caused by the change in field values produced by a moving ferrous
metal vehicle. These devices contain a single coil winding around a permeable magnetic material rod core. However, most magnetic detectors cannot detect stopped vehicles, since they
require a vehicle to be moving or otherwise changing its signature characteristics with respect
to time.
Advantages
1. More usually mounted in a small hole in road surface and hardwired to the processing
unit.
Suitable for deployment on bridges.
Disadvantages
1. Possibly damaged by utility maintenance activities, as with IDLs.

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9.9

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

9. Intrusive Technologies
+

Earths magnetic field Magnetic dipole Resultant magnetic


anomaly in Earths
produced by
in the absence of
ferrous materials magnetic field
metal vehicle
(a) Magnetic anomaly induced in the Earths magnetic field by a magnetic dipole

N
W

COMPASS S
VARIATION

N
E

N
E

W
S

W
S

N
E

W
S

E
S

SENSOR SIGNAL
VARIATION
VEHICLE MAGNETIC INFLUENCE
TO THE EARTHS MAGNETIC FIELD

(b) Perturbation of Earths magnetic field by a ferrous metal vehicle

Figure 9:7: Weigh-In-Motion Detector system (Source: FHWA vehicle detection manual)

9.5
9.5.1

Weigh-In-Motion (WIM) systems


Bending Plate

Bending plate WIM systems utilize plates with strain gauges bonded to the underside. The
system records the strain measured by strain gauges and calculates the dynamic load. Static
load is estimated using the measured dynamic load and calibration parameters. Calibration
parameters account for factors, such as vehicle speed and pavement or suspension dynamics
that influence estimates of the static weight. The accuracy of bending plate WIM systems can
be expressed as a function of the vehicle speed traversed over the plates, assuming the system
is installed in a sound road structure and subject to normal traffic conditions.
Advantages
Bending plate WIM systems is used for traffic data collection as well as for weight enforcement
purposes. The accuracy of these systems is higher than piezoelectric systems and their cost is
lower than load cell systems. Bending plate WIM systems do not require complete replacement
of the sensor.
Disadvantages
Bending plate WIM systems are not as accurate as load cell systems and are considerably more
expensive than piezoelectric systems.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

9.10

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

9.5.2

9. Intrusive Technologies

Piezoelectric

Piezoelectric WIM systems contain one or more piezoelectric sensors that detect a change in
voltage caused by pressure exerted on the sensor by an axle and thereby measure the axle s
weight. As a vehicle passes over the piezoelectric sensor, the system records the sensor output
voltage and calculates the dynamic load. With bending plate systems, the dynamic load provides an estimate of static load when the WIM system is properly calibrated.
The typical piezoelectric WIM system consists of at least one piezoelectric sensor and two
ILDs. The piezoelectric sensor is placed in the travel lane perpendicular to the travel direction.
The inductive loops are placed upstream and downstream of the piezoelectric sensor. The upstream loop detects vehicles and alerts the system to an approaching vehicle. The downstream
loop provides data to determine vehicle speed and axle spacing based on the time it takes the
vehicle to traverse the distance between the loops. Fig. 9:8 shows a full-lane width piezoelectric
WIM system installation. In this example, two piezoelectric sensors are utilized on either side
of the downstream loop.
Advantages
Typical piezoelectric WIM systems are among the least expensive systems in use today in terms
of initial capital costs and life cycle maintenance costs. Piezoelectric WIM systems can be used
at higher speed ranges (16 to 112 kmph) than other WIM systems. Piezoelectric WIM systems
can be used to monitor up to four lanes.
Disadvantages
Typical piezoelectric systems are less accurate than load cell and bending plate WIM systems.
Piezoelectric sensors for WIM systems must be replaced at least once every 3 years.
Problems:

1. If the vehicle 10% time occupied by loop M and 32% time occupied by loop N, the distance
between two loops are 4.22 m find the spot speed of the vehicle. Also find the length of
the vehicle if time occupancy for M - loop is 0.26sec and 0.32 for N-loop.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

9.11

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

9. Intrusive Technologies
Cabinet

Traffic flow
directions

er

ld

a
Ro

u
ho

Inductive WIM strip,


loops (2) fulllength, PVC conduit
2 places below ground

Figure 9:8: WIM installation with full-length piezoelectric sensors Source: FHWA vehicle detection manual
Solution: Length is 4.22 m and occupancy times are 0.32 and 0.1.The speed is given by:
ldist
t2 t1
= (4.22)/(0.32 0.1) = 19.18 m/sec.

Speed =

For length calculation, the speed is 19.18 m/sec and occupancy times are 0.26 and 0.32.
Speed(ot2 + ot1 )
2
19.18(0.26 + 0.32)
=
= 5.56 m.
2

Lvehicle =

2. The average length of vehicle is 4.25 m and the length of loop detector zone is 1.85 m.
The time occupancy in the loop is 32 percentages, find the spot speed of the vehicle?
Solution: The average vehicle length is 4.25 and detector zone length is 1.85 m and
t0 is 0.32.the spot speed(s) is given by:
EV L
to
4.25 + 1.85
=
= 19.06m/sec
0.32

s =

3. In freeway 1500 vehicles are observed during 120 sec interval. The lane occupancy is 65
percentage and the average length of vehicle observed as 6.55 m. Find the space mean
speed on the freeway section?
Solution: The number of vehicle N is 1500 vehicles; observation period is T= 120 sec.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

9.12

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

9. Intrusive Technologies

The lane occupancy O is 0.65 and average length is 6.55, so g is (40.9/6.55) substitute
N
T Og
1500 6.55
=
120 0.65 (40.9)
= 3.08 m/sec

s =

9.6

Summary

Each detector technology and particular device has its own limitations and individual capability.
The successful application of detector technologies largely depends on proper device selection.
Many factors impact detector selection, such as data type, data accuracy, ease of installation,
cost and reliability. ILDs are flexible to satisfy different variety of applications, but installation
requires pavement disturb.

9.7

References

1. Texas Transportation Institute, Texas A and M University System. Travel Time Data
Collection Handbook,Report FHWA-PL-98-035, 1998.
2. Traffic Detector Handbook. Third Edition Volume II, Publication No.FHWA-HRT-06-139
October 2006., 2006.
3. Final Report of Evaluation of Freeway Travel Time Estimates. Castle Rock Consultants
Inc, Portland State University, 2019.
4. Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. Federal Highway Administration, U.S.
Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C., 2019.
5. B Coifman. Length based vehicle classification on freeways from single loop Detectors. al
University Transportation Center Final Report, 2009.
6. G C de Silva. Automation of Traffic Flow Measurement Using Video Images. Thesis
Report, University of Moratuwa, 2001.
7. S Ding. Freeway Travel Time Estimation using Limited Loop Data. Master Thesis, The
University of Akron, 2008.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

9.13

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

9. Intrusive Technologies

8. M L Y Elena and L A Klein. Summary of vehicle detection and surveillance technologies


used in intelligent transportation systems. FHWA Report, New Mexico State University
and VDC Project Consultant, 2000.
9. A Faghri and K Hamad. Applications of GPS in Traffic Management. 2002.
10. L Guillaume. Road Traffic Data: Collection Methods and Applications. JRC Technical
note 47967, 2008.
11. U Leeds. Collection Methods for Additional Data, IMAGINE project no. 503549. Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds, United Kingdom, 2006.
12. P T Martin, Y Feng, and X Wang. Detector Technology Evaluation. Department of Civil
and Environmental Engineering, Utah Traffic Lab, 2003.
13. S T Mohammad. Vehicle re-identification Based on Inductance Signature Matching.
Master thesis, University of Toronto, 2011.
14. N Nihan, X Zhang, and Y Wang. Improved System for Collecting Real-Time Truck Data
from Dual Loop Detectors. Transportation Northwest, 2005.
15. S G Ritchie S Park and O Cheol. Field Investigation of Advanced Vehicle Re-identification
Techniques and Detector. California PATH Research Report, 2002.
16. A Parsekar. Blind Deconvolution of Vehicle Inductive Signatures for Travel Time Estimation. Master thesis, Department of Computer Science, University of Minnesota Duluth,
Duluth, Minnesota -55812, 2004.
17. C Ulberg. Vehicle occupancy forecasting, Technical Report. Washington State Department of Transportation Technical, Graduate School of Public Affairs University of
Washington Seattle, Washington 98105, 1994.
18. J Xia and M Chen. Freeway Travel Time Forecasting Under Incident. Final Report,
Southeastern Transportation Center, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, 2007.
19. B Young and M Saito. Automated Delay Estimation at Signalized Intersections. Research
Division, 2011.
20. Y Zhirui. Speed estimation using single loop detector outputs. Some studies, Ph.D thesis,
Department of CIVIL Engineering, Texas A and M University, 2007.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

9.14

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

10. Non-Intrusive Technologies

Chapter 10
Non-Intrusive Technologies
10.1

Introduction

Non-intrusive technologies include video data collection, passive or active infrared detectors,
microwave radar detectors, ultrasonic detectors, passive acoustic detectors, laser detectors and
aerial photography. All these technologies represent emergent fields that are expanding rapidly
with continuing advances in signal processing. At present time such technologies are used to
provide supplemental information for selected locations or for specific applications (e.g., queue
detection at traffic signals). Most non-intrusive systems are operationally and somewhat visually similar, consisting of small electronics unit mounted in a weatherproof housing placed in
various locations, as shown in Fig. 10:1.
The first type of non-invasive detectors are roadside mast-mounted. The detector possesses
a field-of-regard covering an oblique area upstream or downstream of the unit. There are also
multiple zones of detection defined within the overall field of regard, or the overall zone of
detection same as the field of regard, depending on the specific detector type and technology.
Obscuration problems occur when high-sided vehicles screens lower vehicles from the detector
or the field-of-view being too large, leading to detection of vehicles outside the desired lane.
The second type of non-invasive detectors are mounted on gantries or bridge undersides, with
field of regard directly below, or at a slight oblique to the unit. Finally, some units, such as
open-path pollutant monitors are mounted road side at ground level, firing a beam across the
road. Such units are subject to side-by-side masking and hence most suitable for only single
lane, unidirectional flows.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

10.1

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

10. Non-Intrusive Technologies


2

2
3

Type 1. Roadside, Mastmounted type


2. Gantry or bridge underside
3. Crossfire

Figure 10:1: Typical non-intrusive technology configurations

10.2

Video image detection (VID)

The traffic parameters are collected by frame-by-frame analysis of video images captured
by roadside cameras. The following parameters are collected: Depending on the processing
methodology almost all traffic parameters are captured from video analysis. Simple video systems often collect flow volume and occupancy. More complex systems allow the extraction of
further parameters.
Advantages
Possibility to capture all desired traffic information, including some parameters that are not
readily obtainable using other types of detectors Possibility of a permanent visual record of the
traffic flow that reviewed and analyzed by a human operator.
Disadvantages
VID systems are susceptible to obscure issues, as with other non-intrusive detectors. Performance of VID systems might be degraded in bad weather or low light conditions.
1. Video Image Processor
A video image processor (VIP) system typically consists of one or more cameras, a
microprocessor-based computer for digitizing and processing the imagery, and software
for interpreting the images and converting them into traffic flow data.
2. Principles of Operation
Video image processor systems detect vehicles by analyzing the imagery from a traffic
scene to determine changes between successive frames. VIP system typically consists of
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

10.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

10. Non-Intrusive Technologies

one or more cameras, a microprocessor-based computer for digitizing and processing the
imagery, and software for interpreting the images and converting them into traffic flow
data.
The algorithms are designed to remove gray level variations in the image background
caused by weather conditions, shadows, and daytime or night time artifacts and retain
objects identified as automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, and bicycles. Traffic flow parameters are calculated by analyzing successive video frames. Color imagery can also be
exploited to obtain traffic flow data. However, somewhat reduced dynamic range and
sensitivity have so far inhibited this approach. Traffic flow parameters are calculated by
analyzing successive video frames. Color imagery can also be exploited to obtain traffic
flow data.
Three different types of VIP systems are available; they are tripline, closed-loop tracking,
and data association tracking. Fig. 10:2 shows tripline systems which operate by allowing
the user to define a limited number of detection zones in the field of view of the video
camera. When a vehicle crosses one of these zones, it is identified by noting changes in the
pixels caused by the vehicle relative to roadway in the absence of a vehicle. Surface-based
and grid-based analyses are utilized to detect vehicles in tripline VIPs. Tripline systems
estimate vehicle speed by measuring the time it takes for an identified vehicle to travel a
detection zone of known length. The speed is found as the length divided by the travel
time.
Closed-loop tracking systems are an extension of the tripline approach that permits vehicle detection along larger roadway sections. The closed-loop systems track vehicles
continuously through the field of view of camera. Multiple detections of the vehicle along
a track are used to validate the detection. These tracking systems provide additional
traffic flow data such as lane-to-lane vehicle movements. These have the potential to
transmit information to roadside displays and radios to alert drivers to erratic behavior
that can lead to an incident. Data association tracking systems identify and track a
particular vehicle or groups of vehicles as they pass through the field of view of camera.
The computer identifies vehicles by searching for unique connected areas of pixels. These
areas are then tracked frame-to-frame to produce tracking data for the selected vehicle
or vehicle groups.
3. System Design
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

10.3

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

10. Non-Intrusive Technologies

06
DETECTION
ZONE

02
02
05
02
02
04

Figure 10:2: Video Image processing by tripline detector system, source


System design consist of following four stages, construction of background image, detection of frame features, matching of detected frame features and refining matched vehicle
features. Creating a background image (an image representing the scene without moving vehicles) using a computer is a difficult task. The reason is that a computer, unlike
humans, is unable to distinguish background and vehicles by considering a single image.
The number of frames improves the quality of background images, it increases the time
consumed in creating them. This is caused by the large number of mathematical instructions required to construct a background image.
In the second stage it analyzes each frame in the sequence and detects features that
correspond to moving vehicles in the scene. Depending on the method used, several types
of features can be highlighted to represent moving vehicles. In the second stage apply
background subtraction on each frame to remove the static background of the scene. The
resulting image consists of blobs (collections of pixels with non-zero values) corresponding
to moving vehicles. These blobs are enhanced by processing further and detected as the
main feature. Several attributes about the blobs are recorded in memory for processing
in the coming stages.
Also, there are false blobs, not corresponding to any moving object. Such blobs are
present because of excessive noise in the image or poor quality of the background image.
Such features need not be processed further for estimating traffic flow. Therefore, these
features are identified from the input features and discarded. Now, the remaining features
can be considered as vehicle features. In third stage by matching the features detected in
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

10.4

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

10. Non-Intrusive Technologies


Passive sensor

Receiving aperture
ET

(Emissive term)

(1 E)Tsky

(Reflective term)
Tsky

Road surface with emissivity and


surface temperature
ER and TR

Vehicle with emissivity and


surface temperature
EV and TV

Figure 10:3: Emission and reflection of energy by vehicle and road surface. (Source: FHWA
vehicle detection manual)
previous frames with those from the current frame, vehicles can be tracked. In the final
stage matched vehicle features can be refined to correct features in the frames. However,
this is a complex task, as most of the information in the image has been lost after labeling.
Therefore, it is necessary to extract information from original frames to perform this task.
All these system design process are done by different algorithms.

10.3

Infrared Sensors

The sensors are mounted overhead to view approaching or departing traffic or traffic from a
side-looking configuration. Infrared sensors are used for signal control; volume, speed, and
class measurement, as well as detecting pedestrians in crosswalks. With infrared sensors, the
word detector takes on another meaning, namely the light-sensitive element that converts the
reflected or emitted energy into electrical signals. Real-time signal processing is used to analyze
the received signals for the presence of a vehicle.
1. Passive Infrared (PIR)
Detection of vehicle based on emission or reflection of infrared (electromagnetic radiation of frequency 1011 1014 Hz) radiation from vehicle surface, as compared to ambient
levels emitted or reflected from the road surface shown in Fig. 10:3. The PIR system
collected following parameters: Flow volume, Vehicle presence, and detection zone occupancy. Speed with unit with multiple detection zones.
Advantages
(a) Relatively long wavelength of light used in PIR systems makes them less susceptible
to weather effects.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

10.5

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

10. Non-Intrusive Technologies

Disadvantages
(a) Accuracy of speed information is poor with low resolution sensors. Vehicle length
determination is highly problematic for the same reason.
2. Active Infrared (AIR)/Laser
Low power LED or laser diode fires a pulsed or continuous beam down to road surface as
shown in Fig. 10:4. Time for reflection to return is measured. Presence of a vehicle lowers
the time of reflection. High scanning rates provides a detailed profile for classification
determination. Use of Doppler frequency shift from moving object allows for very accurate speed determination. The AIR system collected following parameters flow volume,
speed, classification, vehicle presence, traffic density.
Advantages
(a) Very accurate flow, speed and classifications possible.
(b) Laser systems work in day and night conditions.
Disadvantages
(a) Active near-IR sensors adversely affected by weather conditions.
(b) Laser systems impeded by haze or smoke.
(c) Some problems with tracking small vehicles reported.
(d) Relatively high costs compared to other units. Precise, but limited zone of detection
require additional units over other systems.

10.4

Microwave - Doppler and Radar

Low energy microwave radiation (2.5 to 24 GHz) is transmitted into the detection zone. Objects within the zone reflect a portion of the radiation back to a receiver. Doppler units use
the frequency shift of the return to calculate speed as shown in Fig. 10:5. It cant detect the
stationary objects. The microwave system collected following parameters.
Doppler - Flow volume and speed;
Frequency-Modulated, Continuous Wave (FMCW) - Flow volume, speed and presence;
Microwave - Flow volume, speed, presence, possibly classification;
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

10.6

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

10. Non-Intrusive Technologies

Scanning beams

Figure 10:4: Laser radar beam geometry. (Source: FHWA vehicle detection manual)
Microwave
Radar
Antenna
Power and
data cables

Controller
Cabinet

Path of transmitted and received


Sign bridge,
overpass, pole,
or mast arm mounting
Reflected signal from vehicle
can be used to determine presence
(occupancy), passage (count), and
and speed, depending on the waveform
that is transmitted by the radar sensor

Vehicle

Figure 10:5: Microwave radar operation. Source

Advantages
1. Very accurate. Easy to install, long ranged.
2. Multiple detection zones possible.
3. Day or night operation.
Disadvantages
1. Possible sensitivity to spurious returns from adjacent objects
2. Restrictions on use due to electromagnetic interference with other electronics.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

10.7

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

10. Non-Intrusive Technologies

HORIZONTAL
MOUNT

OVERHEAD
MOUNT

00000
11111
11111
00000
00000
11111
00000
11111
00000
11111
00000
11111
00000
11111
00000
11111

00
11
11
00
00
11
00
11

Figure 10:6: Ultrasonic range-measuring sensors, source

10.5

Pulsed and Active Ultrasonic

Ultrasonic sensors transmit pressure waves of sound energy at a frequency between 25 and 50
KHz. Pulse waveforms measure distances to the road surface and vehicle surface by detecting
the portion of the transmitted energy that is reflected towards the sensor from an area defined
by the transmitters beam width. When a distance other than that to the background road
surface is measured, the sensor interprets that measurement as the presence of a vehicle as
shown in Fig. 10:6. The received ultrasonic energy is converted into electrical energy that is
analyzed by signal processing electronics that is either collocated with the transducer or placed
in a roadside controller. Vehicles flow and vehicular speed can be calculated by recording the
time at which the vehicle crosses each beam.
Advantages
1. Highly accurate.
Disadvantages
1. Environmental effects affecting sound propagation degrade performance.
2. Pulsed units with low sampling rate miscount or misclassify fast moving vehicles.

10.6

Passive Acoustic Array Sensors

An array of microphones is used to detect the sound of an approaching vehicle above an ambient threshold level. Time lags and signal variations between microphone positions are used
to determine vehicle location relative to the array as shown in Fig. 10:7. Further processing
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

10.8

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

10. Non-Intrusive Technologies

Figure 10:7: Acoustic array sensors, source


of signal yield to speed information and possibly engine type classification. It collected flow,
speed, occupancy, possibly classification.
Advantages

1. Completely passive system


2. Direct speed measurement.
Disadvantages
1. Environmental effects affecting sound propagation degrade performance
2. Low accuracy in busy locations due to interference from adjacent sources.

10.7

Summary

A non- Intrusive technology is very effective compared to the Intrusive technologies.

10.8

References

1. Texas Transportation Institute, Texas A and M University System. Travel Time Data
Collection Handbook,Report FHWA-PL-98-035, 1998.
2. Traffic Detector Handbook. Third Edition Volume II, Publication No.FHWA-HRT-06-139
October 2006., 2006.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

10.9

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

10. Non-Intrusive Technologies

3. Final Report of Evaluation of Freeway Travel Time Estimates. Castle Rock Consultants
Inc, Portland State University, 2019.
4. Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. Federal Highway Administration, U.S.
Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C., 2019.
5. B Coifman. Length based vehicle classification on freeways from single loop Detectors. al
University Transportation Center Final Report, 2009.
6. G C de Silva. Automation of Traffic Flow Measurement Using Video Images. Thesis
Report, University of Moratuwa, 2001.
7. S Ding. Freeway Travel Time Estimation using Limited Loop Data. Master Thesis, The
University of Akron, 2008.
8. M L Y Elena and L A Klein. Summary of vehicle detection and surveillance technologies
used in intelligent transportation systems. FHWA Report, New Mexico State University
and VDC Project Consultant, 2000.
9. A Faghri and K Hamad. Applications of GPS in Traffic Management. 2002.
10. L Guillaume. Road Traffic Data: Collection Methods and Applications. JRC Technical
note 47967, 2008.
11. U Leeds. Collection Methods for Additional Data, IMAGINE project no. 503549. Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds, United Kingdom, 2006.
12. P T Martin, Y Feng, and X Wang. Detector Technology Evaluation. Department of Civil
and Environmental Engineering, Utah Traffic Lab, 2003.
13. S T Mohammad. Vehicle re-identification Based on Inductance Signature Matching.
Master thesis, University of Toronto, 2011.
14. N Nihan, X Zhang, and Y Wang. Improved System for Collecting Real-Time Truck Data
from Dual Loop Detectors. Transportation Northwest, 2005.
15. S G Ritchie S Park and O Cheol. Field Investigation of Advanced Vehicle Re-identification
Techniques and Detector. California PATH Research Report, 2002.
16. A Parsekar. Blind Deconvolution of Vehicle Inductive Signatures for Travel Time Estimation. Master thesis, Department of Computer Science, University of Minnesota Duluth,
Duluth, Minnesota -55812, 2004.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

10.10

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

10. Non-Intrusive Technologies

17. C Ulberg. Vehicle occupancy forecasting, Technical Report. Washington State Department of Transportation Technical, Graduate School of Public Affairs University of
Washington Seattle, Washington 98105, 1994.
18. J Xia and M Chen. Freeway Travel Time Forecasting Under Incident. Final Report,
Southeastern Transportation Center, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, 2007.
19. B Young and M Saito. Automated Delay Estimation at Signalized Intersections. Research
Division, 2011.
20. Y Zhirui. Speed estimation using single loop detector outputs. Some studies, Ph.D thesis,
Department of CIVIL Engineering, Texas A and M University, 2007.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

10.11

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

11. Travel Time Data Collection

Chapter 11
Travel Time Data Collection
11.1

Introduction

Travel time can be defined as the period of time to transverse a route between any two points
of interest. It is a fundamental measure in transportation. Travel time is also one of the most
readily understood and communicated measure indices used by a wide variety of users, including transportation engineers, planners, and consumers. Travel time data is useful for a wide
range of transportation analyses including congestion management, transportation planning,
and traveler information. Congestion management systems commonly use travel time-based
performance measures to evaluate and monitor traffic congestion. In addition, some metropolitan areas provide real-time travel time prediction as part of their advanced traveler information
systems (ATIS). Travel time data can be obtained through a number of methods. Some of the
methods involve direct measures of travel times along with test vehicles, license plate matching technique, and ITS probe vehicles. Additionally, various sensors (e.g. inductance loop
detectors, acoustic sensors) in ITS deployment collect a large amount of traffic data every day,
especially in metropolitan areas. Such data can be used for travel time estimation for extensive
applications when direct measurements of travel times are not available [19].
Travel time, or the time required to traverse a route between any two points of interest,
is a fundamental measure in transportation. Travel time is a simple concept understood and
communicated by a wide variety of applications for transportation engineers and planners.
Several data collection techniques can be used to collect travel times. These techniques are
designed to collect travel times and average speeds on designated roadway segments or links.
Following are the different techniques available for the travel time data collection.
Test Vehicle Techniques
License Plate Matching Techniques
ITS Probe Vehicle Techniques
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

11.1

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

11. Travel Time Data Collection

Emerging and Non-Traditional Techniques

11.2

Test Vehicle Techniques

Travel time data using active test vehicles in combination with varying levels of instrumentation: manual (clipboard and stopwatch), an electronic distance measuring instrument (DMI), or
a global positioning system (GPS) receiver. It involves the use of data collection vehicle within
which an observer records cumulative travel time at predefined checkpoints along a travel route.
Then this information converted to travel time, speed, and delay for each segment along the
survey route. There are several different methods for performing this type of data collection,
depending upon the instrumentation used in the vehicle. These vehicles are instrumented and
then sent into the field for travel time data collection, they are sometimes referred to as active
test vehicles [16].
Advantages
Advanced test vehicle techniques (e.g., DMI or GPS use) result in detailed data.
Low initial cost.
Disadvantages
Sources of possible error from either human or electric sources that require adequate
quality control,
Data storage difficulties.

11.3

License Plate Matching Techniques

Travel times by matching vehicle license plates between consecutive checkpoints with varying
levels of instrumentation: tape recorders, video cameras, portable computers, or automatic
license plate character recognition [16].
Advantages
Travel times from a large sample of motorists, very simple technique.
Provides a continuum of travel times during the data collection period.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

11.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

11. Travel Time Data Collection

Disadvantages
Travel time data limited to locations where observers or video cameras can be positioned;
Limited geographic coverage on a single day
Accuracy of license plate reading is an issue for manual and portable computer

11.4

ITS Probe Vehicle Techniques

Travel times using ITS components and passive probe vehicles in the traffic stream equipped
with signpost-based transponders, automatic vehicle identification (AVI) transponders, groundbased radio navigation, cellular phones, or GPS receivers [16].
Some vehicles are equipped with dynamic route guidance (DRG) device which act as roving
traffic detectors, a non-infrastructure based traffic monitoring system. Such vehicles, which are
participating in the traffic flow and capable of determining experienced traffic conditions and
transmitting these to a traffic center, are called probe vehicles. To determine its position and
to register experienced traffic conditions, a probe vehicle is equipped with on-board electronics,
such as a location and a communication device. By means of the location device, the probe
vehicle keeps track of its own geographic position [16].
Through the communication device, the probe vehicle transmits its traffic experiences via a
mobile communication link to a traffic center. For instance, each probe can transmit traffic
messages once every time interval containing its location and its speed at the instant of transmission. In this traffic center the traffic data received from probe vehicles is gathered, and
combined with data from the other monitoring sources, and processed into relevant traffic information. It is very useful for Advanced Traveler Information system (ATIS).
Advantages
Low cost per unit of data
Continuous data collection
Automated data collection
Data are in electronic format
No disruption of traffic
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

11.3

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

11. Travel Time Data Collection

Location Antenna
Signalpost
I.D

Signalpost
Transmitter

Vehicle Location
Unit

Radio
Antenna

SignpostBus Communication Link

Central Computer

Signal I.D, Bus I.D,


Odometer Reading
Time/Date Stamp

Radio
Transmitter

BusComputer Center Communication Link

Figure 11:1: Signpost-Based AVL Communication Processes, Source: Travel Time Detection
Hand Book, [16]
Disadvantages
High implementation cost
Fixed infrastructure constraints - Coverage area, including locations of antenna
Requires skilled software
Not recommended for small scale data collection efforts
ITS probe vehicle data collection systems
1. Signpost-Based Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) - This technique has mostly
been used by transit agencies. Probe vehicles communicate with transmitters mounted
on existing signpost structures shown in Fig. 11:1 [16].
2. Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI) - Probe vehicles are equipped with electronic
tags. These tags communicate with roadside transceivers to identify unique vehicles shown
in Fig. 11:2 and collect travel times between transceivers [16].
3. Ground-Based Radio Navigation - It is used for transit or commercial fleet management, this system is similar to the global positioning system (GPS). Data are collected
by communication between probe vehicles and a radio tower infrastructure as shown in
Fig. 11:3 [16].

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

11.4

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

Tag I.D. #,
Time Stamp
Date Stamp,
Antenna I.D.

11. Travel Time Data Collection

Central Computer
Toll Plaza, Sign Bridge, Overpass, or Gantry
Antenna
Transceiver
Reader
Unit
Leased Phone Lines

Reader
Unit

Coaxial Cable,
Radio Wave, or
Microwave

AVI tag

.D.
ag I

Antenna Spacing
Varies, Typically
25 km

Tag I.D. #

Figure 11:2: AVI Vehicle-to-Roadside Communication Process, Source: Travel Time Detection
Hand Book, [16]

Central Computer
Vehicle I.D.
Time Stamp

Vehicle Location
Request

Vehicle I.D.
Time Stamp

Vehicle I.D.
Time Stamp

Vehicle I.D.
Time Stamp

GroundBased
Radio Tower

Vehicle Location Unit

Figure 11:3: Ground-Based Radio Navigation Communication Process, Source: Travel Time
Detection Hand Book, [16]

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

11.5

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

11.5

11. Travel Time Data Collection

Cellular Geo-location

This experimental technology can collect travel time data by discretely tracking cellular telephone call transmissions. Cellular telephones are also useful to collect travel time data. Two
techniques have been applied using cellular technology: cellular telephone reporting and cellular
geolocating [16].

11.5.1

Cellular Telephone Reporting

An operator at the central control facility records each drivers identification, location, and time,
by monitoring the time between successive telephone calls, travel time or travel speed between
reporting locations are determined. It is useful for assessment of current traffic conditions and
for collecting travel time data during delays or accidents. The cellular telephone reporting
method is recommended for short-term studies with low accuracy requirements.

11.5.2

Cellular Geolocation

The cellular geolocating methodology discreetly tracks cellular telephone calls to collect travel
time data and monitor freeway conditions. This technique utilizes an existing cellular telephone
network, vehicle locating devices, and a central control facility to collect travel time data. All
vehicles equipped with cellular telephones are potential probe vehicles. The system automatically detects cellular telephone call initiations and locates the respective probe vehicle within
a few seconds.
Advantages
Driver recruitment not necessary
No in-vehicle equipment to install
Large potential sample
Disadvantages
Low accuracy
Privacy issues
Infrastructure dependent

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

11.6

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

11.6

11. Travel Time Data Collection

Emerging and Non-Traditional Techniques

Emerging or non-traditional techniques are based on using point vehicle detection equipment,
such as inductance loop detectors or video cameras. Travel time estimation algorithms have
been developed based upon measurable point parameters such as volume, lane occupancy, or
vehicle headways. Image matching algorithms are used to match vehicle images or signatures
captured at two consecutive observation points. Following are some of the methods used in
emerging techniques [16].

11.6.1

Extrapolation Method

Estimates average travel time by spot speeds, applied for short roadway segments between detection devices. It is more suitable for low accuracy application. The most accurate method to
measure vehicle speed with loop detectors is to place two detectors in series, which is referred to
as speed trap or loop trap. The accuracy of inductance loop speed traps is dependent upon
the trap length, inductance loop wire type, and consistency in design. Many inductance loop
detectors are single loops; primary application is to collect vehicle counts and lane occupancy.
Many research attempts have been made to utilize speed-flow relationships to estimate vehicle
speeds from single loop detectors. The following 11.1 and 11.2 equations have been used to
estimate spot speeds from single loop detectors [16].
Spotspeed =

volume
laneoccupancy g

(11.1)

where,
g = speed correction factor (based upon assumed vehicle length, detector configuration, and
traffic conditions).
sec
LinkLengthinkm
3600
(11.2)
T raveltime =
km
hr
Spotspeedin hr

11.6.2

Vehicle Signature Matching

Calculates travel time by matching unique vehicle signatures between sequential observation
points. These methods can utilize a number of point detectors such as inductance loop detectors, weigh-in motion sensors, video cameras, and laser scanning detectors. Vehicle signatures
between two consecutive locations to provide a link based travel time and speed. It provides
alternative to ITS probe vehicle based on travel time measurement, in which a probe vehicle is
identified and matched between two locations using a unique identification number.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

11.7

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

11. Travel Time Data Collection

Vehicle signature matching had been investigated using a number of different point detection
devices, mostly with inductance loop detectors. Several algorithms are available to capture
vehicle signatures from a loop detector frequency detuning curve. Different types and classes of
vehicles provide different types of signatures. The unique features of a vehicle signature are then
compared to signatures within a given time frame at a downstream location. The signature is
matched when a large number of feature correlations have been found within vehicle signatures
at the downstream location. The vehicle signature matching technique does not match every
vehicle signature captured, but potentially match a large enough percentage as to be significant
[16].

11.7

Summary

Detailed travel time estimation by different techniques has been discussed in this chapter. Also
travel time estimation by vehicle technology and emerging techniques such as vehicle signature
have also been discussed in this chapter.

11.8

References

1. Texas Transportation Institute, Texas A and M University System. Travel Time Data
Collection Handbook,Report FHWA-PL-98-035, 1998.
2. Traffic Detector Handbook. Third Edition Volume II, Publication No.FHWA-HRT-06-139
October 2006., 2006.
3. Final Report of Evaluation of Freeway Travel Time Estimates. Castle Rock Consultants
Inc, Portland State University, 2019.
4. Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. Federal Highway Administration, U.S.
Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C., 2019.
5. B Coifman. Length based vehicle classification on freeways from single loop Detectors. al
University Transportation Center Final Report, 2009.
6. G C de Silva. Automation of Traffic Flow Measurement Using Video Images. Thesis
Report, University of Moratuwa, 2001.
7. S Ding. Freeway Travel Time Estimation using Limited Loop Data. Master Thesis, The
University of Akron, 2008.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

11.8

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

11. Travel Time Data Collection

8. M L Y Elena and L A Klein. Summary of vehicle detection and surveillance technologies


used in intelligent transportation systems. FHWA Report, New Mexico State University
and VDC Project Consultant, 2000.
9. A Faghri and K Hamad. Applications of GPS in Traffic Management. 2002.
10. L Guillaume. Road Traffic Data: Collection Methods and Applications. JRC Technical
note 47967, 2008.
11. U Leeds. Collection Methods for Additional Data, IMAGINE project no. 503549. Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds, United Kingdom, 2006.
12. P T Martin, Y Feng, and X Wang. Detector Technology Evaluation. Department of Civil
and Environmental Engineering, Utah Traffic Lab, 2003.
13. S T Mohammad. Vehicle re-identification Based on Inductance Signature Matching.
Master thesis, University of Toronto, 2011.
14. N Nihan, X Zhang, and Y Wang. Improved System for Collecting Real-Time Truck Data
from Dual Loop Detectors. Transportation Northwest, 2005.
15. S G Ritchie S Park and O Cheol. Field Investigation of Advanced Vehicle Re-identification
Techniques and Detector. California PATH Research Report, 2002.
16. A Parsekar. Blind Deconvolution of Vehicle Inductive Signatures for Travel Time Estimation. Master thesis, Department of Computer Science, University of Minnesota Duluth,
Duluth, Minnesota -55812, 2004.
17. C Ulberg. Vehicle occupancy forecasting, Technical Report. Washington State Department of Transportation Technical, Graduate School of Public Affairs University of
Washington Seattle, Washington 98105, 1994.
18. J Xia and M Chen. Freeway Travel Time Forecasting Under Incident. Final Report,
Southeastern Transportation Center, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, 2007.
19. B Young and M Saito. Automated Delay Estimation at Signalized Intersections. Research
Division, 2011.
20. Y Zhirui. Speed estimation using single loop detector outputs. Some studies, Ph.D thesis,
Department of CIVIL Engineering, Texas A and M University, 2007.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

11.9

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

12. Vehicle Arrival Models : Headway

Chapter 12
Vehicle Arrival Models : Headway
12.1

Introduction

Modelling arrival of vehicle at section of road is an important step in traffic flow modelling.
It has important application in traffic flow simulation where vehicles are to be generated how
vehicles arrive at a section. The vehicle arrival is obviously a random process. This is evident
if one observe how vehicles are arriving at a cross section. Some times several vehicles come
together, while at other times, they come sparsely. Hence, vehicle arrival at a section need to be
characterized statistically. Vehicle arrivals can be modelled in two inter-related ways; namely
modelling what is the time interval between the successive arrival of vehicles or modelling how
many vehicle arrive in a given interval of time. In the former approach, the random variables
the time denoting interval between successive arrival of vehicle can be any positive real values
and hence some suitable continuous distribution can be used to model the vehicle arrival. In the
later approach, the random variables represent the number of vehicles arrived in a given interval
of time and hence takes some integer values. Here in this approach, a discrete distribution can
be used to model the process. This chapter presents how some continuous distributions can be
used to model the vehicle arrival process.

12.2

Headway modelling

An important parameter to characterize the traffic is to model the inter-arrival time of vehicle
at a section on the road. The inter-arrival time or the time headway is not constant due to
the stochastic nature of vehicle arrival. A common way of modeling to treat the inter-arrival
time or the time headway as a random variable and use some mathematical distributions to
model them. The behavior of vehicle arrival is different at different flow condition. It may be
possible that different distributions may work better at different flow conditions. Suppose the
vehicle arrive at a point at time t1 , t2 , . . . . Then the time difference between two consecutive
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

12.1

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

12. Vehicle Arrival Models : Headway

Distance

Occupancy Time

111111111111
000000000000
00000
11111
000000000000
111111111111
00000
11111
000000000000
111111111111
00000
11111
000000000000
111111111111
00000
11111
000000000000
111111111111
00000
11111
000000000000
111111111111
00000
11111
Time gap
000000000000
111111111111
00000
11111
1111 000000
0000
111111
000000000000
111111111111
000000000000
111111111111
000000000000
111111111111
Observation
000000000000
111111111111
000000000000
111111111111
1 point
0
1100
1100
11 00
1100
11t
t 00
000000000000
111111111111
000000000000t
111111111111
000000000000
111111111111
000000000000
111111111111
000000000000
111111111111
000000000000
111111111111
000000000000
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000000000000
111111111111
000000000000
111111111111
000000000000
111111111111
000000000000
111111111111
000000000000
111111111111
000000000000
111111111111
000000000000
111111111111
1

t4

Time

Figure 12:1: Illustration of headways


arrivals is defined as headway. This is shown as a time-distance diagram in figure 12:1. In fact
the headway consist of two components, the occupancy time which is the duration required for
the vehicle to pass the observation point and the time gap between the rear of the lead vehicle
and front of the following vehicle. Hence, the headways h1 = t2 t1 , h2 = t3 t2 , . . . It
may be noted that the headways h1 , h2 , . . . will not be constant, but follows some random
distribution. Further, under various traffic states, different distribution may best explain the
arrival pattern. A brief discussion of the various traffic states and suitable distributions are
discussed next.

12.2.1

Classification of traffic state

Generally, traffic state can be divided into three; namely low, medium and high flow conditions.
Salient features of each of the flow state is presented below after a brief discussion of the
probability distribution.
1. Low volume flow
(a) Headway follow a random process as there is no interaction between the arrival of
two vehicles.
(b) The arrival of one vehicle is independent of the arrival of other vehicle.
(c) The minimum headway is governed by the safety criteria.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

12.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

12. Vehicle Arrival Models : Headway

(d) A negative exponential distribution can be used to model such flow.


2. High volume flow
(a) The flow is very high and is near to the capacity.
(b) There is very high interaction between the vehicle.
(c) This is characterized by near constant headway.
(d) The mean and variance of the headway is very low.
(e) A normal distribution can used to model such flow.
3. Intermediate flow
(a) Some vehicle travel independently and some vehicle has interaction with other vehicles.
(b) More difficult to analyze, however, has more application in the field.
(c) Pearson Type III Distribution can be used which is a very general case of negative
exponential distribution.

12.3

Negative exponential distribution

The low flow traffic can be modeled using the negative exponential distribution. First, some
basics of negative exponential distribution is presented. The probability density function f (t)
of any distribution has the following two important properties: First,
Z +
p[ < t < +] =
f (t) dt = 1
(12.1)

where t is the random variable. This means that the total probability defined by the probability
density function is one. Second:
Z b
p[a t b] =
f (t) dt
(12.2)
a

This gives an expression for the probability that the random variable t takes a value with in
an interval, which is essentially the area under the probability density function curve. The
probability density function of negative exponential distribution is given as:
f (t) = et ,
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

12.3

t0

(12.3)
February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

12. Vehicle Arrival Models : Headway

= 1.5

=1
f(t)

= 0.5

Figure 12:2: Shape of the Negative exponential distribution for various values of
where is a parameter that determines the shape of the distribution often called as the shape
parameter. The shape of the negative exponential distribution for various values of (0.5, 1,
1.5) is shown in figure 12:2. The probability that the random variable t is greater than or equal
to zero can be derived as follow,
Z
p(t 0) =
et dt
(12.4)
0
Z
=
et dt
0t
e

=
0


= et
0

= e + e0
= 0+1=1

The probability that the random variable t is greater than a specific value h is given as
p(t h) = 1 p(t < h)
Z h
= 1
.et dt

(12.5)

h
et
= 1
0
t h
= 1 + e 0


= 1 + eh e0


= 1 + eh 1
= eh
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

12.4

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

12. Vehicle Arrival Models : Headway

f (t)
p(t h)
t
h
f (t)
p(t h + h)
t
h+ h
f (t)
p(h t h + h)
t
h

h+ h

Figure 12:3: Evaluation of negative exponential distribution for an interval


Unlike many other distributions, one of the key advantages of the negative exponential distribution is the existence of a closed form solution to the probability density function as seen
above. The probability that the random variable t lies between an interval is given as:
p[h t (h + h)] = p[t h] p[t (h + h)]
h

= e

(12.6)

(h+h)

This is illustrated in figure 12:3. The negative exponential distribution is closely related to
the Poisson distribution which is a discrete distribution. The probability density function of
Poisson distribution is given as:
x e
p(x) =
(12.7)
x!
where, p(x) is the probability of x events (vehicle arrivals) in some time interval (t), and is
the expected (mean) arrival rate in that interval. If the mean flow rate is q vehicles per hour,
q
vehicles per second. Now, the probability that zero vehicle arrive in an interval
then = 3600
t, denoted as p(0), will be same as the probability that the headway (inter arrival time) greater
than or equal to t. Therefore,
0 e
p(x = 0) =
0!
= e
= p(h t)
= e

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

12.5

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

12. Vehicle Arrival Models : Headway

Here, is defined as average number of vehicles arriving in time t. If the flow rate is q vehicles
per hour, then,
t
q t
=
(12.8)
=
3600

Since mean flow rate is inverse of mean headway, an alternate way of representing the probability
density function of negative exponential distribution is given as
f (t) =

1 t
e

(12.9)

where = 1 or = 1 . Here, is the mean headway in seconds which is again the inverse
of flow rate. Using equation 12.6 and equation 12.5 the probability that headway between
any interval and flow rate can be computed. The next example illustrates how a negative
exponential distribution can be fitted to an observed headway frequency distribution.
Numerical Example
An observation from 2434 samples is given table below. Mean headway and the standard
deviation observed is 3.5 and 2.6 seconds respectively. Fit a negative exponential distribution.

Table 12:1: Observed headway distribution


h
h + dh
poi
0.0
1.0
0.012
1.0
2.0
0.178
2.0
3.0
0.316
3.0
4.0
0.218
4.0
5.0
0.108
5.0
6.0
0.055
6.0
7.0
0.033
7.0
8.0
0.022
8.0
9.0
0.013
9.0
>
0.045
Total
1.00

Solution: The solution is shown in Table 12:2. The headway range and the observed probability (or proportion) is given in column (2), (3) and (4). The observed frequency for the first
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

12.6

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

12. Vehicle Arrival Models : Headway

interval (0 to 1) can be computed as the product of observed frequency pi and the number of
observation (N). That is, fio = pi N = 0.012 2434 = 29.21 and is shown in column (5).
The probability that the headway greater than t = 0 is computed as p(t 0) = e0 = 1 (refer
equation 12.5) and is given in column (6). These steps are repeated for the second interval,
that is fio = 0.178 2434 = 433.25, and p(t 1) = e1 = 0.751. Now, the probability of
headway lies between 0 and 1 for the first interval is given by the probability that headway
greater than zero from the first interval minus probability that headway greater than one from
second interval. That is pi (0 t 1) = pi (t > 0) pi (t > 1) = 1.00 0.751 = 0.249 and
is given in column (7). Now the computed frequency fic is pi N = 0.249 2434 = 604.904
and is given in column (8). This procedure is repeated for all the subsequent items. It may be
noted that probability of headway > 9.0 is computed by 1-probability of headway less than 9.0
= 1 (0.249 + 0.187 + . . . ) = 0.076.
Table 12:2: Illustration of fitting a negative exponential distribution
No
h
h + dh
poi
fio
p(t >= h)
pci
fic
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)
(7)
(8)
1
0.0
1.0
0.012 29.21
1.000
0.249 604.904
2
1.0
2.0
0.178 433.25
0.751
0.187 454.572
3
2.0
3.0
0.316 769.14
0.565
0.140 341.600
4
3.0
4.0
0.218 530.61
0.424
0.105 256.705
5
4.0
5.0
0.108 262.87
0.319
0.079 192.908
6
5.0
6.0
0.055 133.87
0.240
0.060 144.966
7
6.0
7.0
0.033 80.32
0.180
0.045 108.939
8
7.0
8.0
0.022 53.55
0.135
0.034 81.865
9
8.0
9.0
0.013 31.64
0.102
0.025 61.520
10
9.0
>
0.045 109.53
0.076
0.076 186.022
Total
2434
1.000
2434

12.4

Normal distribution

The probability density function of the normal distribution is given by:


(t)2
1
f (t) = e 22 ; < t < , < < , > 0
2

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

12.7

(12.10)

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

12. Vehicle Arrival Models : Headway

f(t)

Figure 12:4: Shape of normal distribution curve


where is the mean of the headway and is the standard deviation of the headways. The
shape of the probability density function is shown in figure 12:4. The probability that the time
headway (t) less than a given time headway (h) is given by
p(t h) =

f (t) dt

(12.11)

and the value of this is shown as the area under the curve in figure 12:5 (a) and the probability
of time headway (t) less than a given time headway (h + h) is given by
p(t h + h) =

h+h

f (t) dt

(12.12)

This is shown as the area under the curve in figure 12:5 (b). Hence, the probability that the
time headway lies in an interval, say h and h + h is given by
p(h t h + h) = p(t h + h) p(t h)
Z h+h
Z h
=
f (t) dt
f (t) dt

(12.13)

This is illustrated as the area under the curve in figure 12:5 (c). Although the probability
for headway for an interval can be computed easily using equation 12.13, there is no closed
form solution to the equation 12.11. Eventhough it is possible to solve the above equation
by numerical integration, the computations are time consuming for regular applications. One
way to overcome this difficulty is to use the standard normal distribution table which gives
the solution to the equation 12.11 for a standard normal distribution. A standard normal
distribution is normal distribution of a random variable whose mean is zero and standard
deviation is one. The probability for any random variable, having a mean () and standard
deviation () can be computed by normalizing that random variable with respect to its mean
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

12.8

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

12. Vehicle Arrival Models : Headway

f (t)
p(t h)
t
h
f (t)
p(t h + h)

t
h+ h
f (t)

p(h t h + h)

t
h

h+ h

Figure 12:5: Illustration of the expression for probability that the random variable lies in an
interval for normal distribution
and standard deviation and then use the standard normal distribution table. This is based on
the concept of normalizing any normal distribution based on the assumption that if t follows
normal distribution with mean and standard deviation , then (t )/ follows a standard
normal distribution having zero mean and unit standard deviation. The normalization steps
shown below.


h
t
(h + h)
p[h t (h + h)] = p
(12.14)





(h + h)
h
= p t
p t

The first and second term in this equation be obtained from standard normal distribution table.
The following example illustrates this procedure.
Numerical Example
If the mean and standard deviation of certain observed set of headways is 2.25 and 0.875
respectively, then compute the probability that the headway lies in an interval of 1.5 to 2.0
seconds.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

12.9

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

12. Vehicle Arrival Models : Headway

f(t)

Figure 12:6: Normal Distribution


Solution: The probability that headway lies between 1.5 and 2.0 can be obtained using
equation 12.14, given that = 2.25 and = 0.85 as:
p[1.5 t 2.0] = p[t 2.0] p[t 1.5]




1.5 2.25
2.0 2.25
p t
= p t
0.875
0.875
= p [t 0.29] p [t 0.86]
= 0.3859 0.1949 (from tables)
= 0.191.
Note that the p(t 0.29) and p(t 0.80) are obtained from the standard normal distribution tables. Since the normal distribution is defined from to + unlike an exponential
distribution which is defined only for positive number, it is possible that normal distribution
may generate negative headways. A practical way of avoiding this is to shift the distribution
by some value so that it will mostly generate realistic headways. The concept is illustrated in
figure 12:6. Suppose is the minimum possible headway and if we set = than about
60% of headway will be greater than . Alternatively, if we set = 2, than about 90%
of the headway will be greater than . Further, if we set = 3, than about 99% of the
headway will be greater than . To generalize,
= n
where n is 1, 2, 3, etc and higher the value of n, then is better the precision. From this equation,
we can compute the value of to be used in normal distribution calculation when the random
variable cannot be negative as:
=

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

12.10

(12.15)

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

12. Vehicle Arrival Models : Headway

Numerical Example
Given that observed mean headway is 3.5 seconds and standard distribution is 2.6 seconds, then
compute the probability that the headway lies between 0 and 0.5. Assume that the minimum
expected headway is 0.5 seconds.
Solution: First, compute the standard deviation to be used in calculation using equation 12.15,
given that = 3.5, = 2.6, and = 0.5. Then:

3.5 0.5
=
= 1.5
2
2
Second, compute the probability that headway less than zero.


0 3.5
p(t < 0) p t
1.5
= p(t 2.33) = 0.01
=

(12.16)

The value 0.01 is obtained from standard normal distribution table. Similarly, compute the
probability that headway less than 0.5 as


0.5 3.5
p(t 0.5) p t
1.5
= p(t < 2)
= 0.023
The value 0.23 is obtained from the standard normal distribution table. Hence, the probability
that headway lies between 0 and 0.5 is obtained using equation 12.14 as p(0 t 0.5)=0.023
0.010 = 0.023.
Numerical Example
An observation from 2434 samples is given table below. Mean headway observed was 3.5 seconds
and the standard deviation observed was 2.6 seconds. Fit a normal distribution, if we assume
minimum expected headway is 0.5.
Solutions The given headway range and the observed probability is given in column (2), (3)
and (4). The observed frequency for the first interval (0 to 1) can be computed as the product of
observed frequency pi and the number of observation (N) i.e. poi = pi N = 0.0122434 = 29.21
as shown in column (5). Compute the standard deviation to be used in calculation, given that
= 3.5, = 2.6, and = 0.5 as:
=
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

3.5 0.5

=
= 1.5
2
2
12.11

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

12. Vehicle Arrival Models : Headway

Table 12:3: Observed headway distribution


h
h + dh
poi
0.0
1.0
0.012
1.0
2.0
0.178
2.0
3.0
0.316
3.0
4.0
0.218
4.0
5.0
0.108
5.0
6.0
0.055
6.0
7.0
0.033
7.0
8.0
0.022
8.0
9.0
0.013
9.0
>
0.045
Total
1.00

Second, compute the probability that headway less than zero.




0 3.5
p(t < 0) p t
1.5
= p(t 2.33) = 0.010
The value 0.01 is obtained for standard normal distribution table is shown in column (6).
Similarly, compute the probability that headway less than 1.0 as:


1.0 3.5
p(t 1) p t
1.5
= p(t < 2)
= 0.048
The value 0.048 is obtained from the standard normal distribution table is shown in column (6).
Hence, the probability that headway between 0 and 1 is obtained using equation 12.14 as
p(0 t 1)=0.048 0.010 = 0.038 and is shown in column (7). Now the computed frequency
Fic is p(t < h < t + 1) N = 0.038 2434 = 92.431 and is given in column (8). This procedure
is repeated for all the subsequent items. It may be noted that probability of headway > 9.0 is
computed by one minus probability of headway less than 9.0 = 1(0.038+0.111+. . . ) = 0.010.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

12.12

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

No
(1)
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

12.5

h
(2)
0.0
1.0
2.0
3.0
4.0
5.0
6.0
7.0
8.0
9.0
Total

h+
(3)
1.0
2.0
3.0
4.0
5.0
6.0
7.0
8.0
9.0
>

12. Vehicle Arrival Models : Headway

Table 12:4: Solution using normal distribution


h
poi
fio = poi N p(t h) p(t < h < t + h)
(4)
(5)
(6)
(7)
0.012
29.21
0.010
0.038
0.178
433.25
0.048
0.111
0.316
769.14
0.159
0.211
0.218
530.61
0.369
0.261
0.108
262.87
0.631
0.211
0.055
133.87
0.841
0.111
0.033
80.32
0.952
0.038
0.022
53.55
0.990
0.008
0.013
31.64
0.999
0.001
0.045
109.53
1.000
0.010
2434

fic = pci N
(8)
92.431
269.845
513.053
635.560
513.053
269.845
92.431
20.605
2.987
24.190

Pearson Type III distribution

As noted earlier, the intermediate flow is more complex since certain vehicles will have interaction with the other vehicles and certain may not. Here, Pearson Type III distribution can be
used for modelling intermediate flow. The probability density function for the Pearson Type
III distribution is given as
f (t) =

(K)

[(t )]K1 e(t) , K, R

(12.17)

where is a parameter which is a function of , K and , and determine the shape of the
distribution. The term is the mean of the observed headways, K is a user specified parameter
greater than 0 and is called as a shift parameter. The () is the gamma function and given as
(K) = (K 1)!

(12.18)

It may also be noted that Pearson Type III is a general case of Gamma, Erlang and Negative
Exponential distribution as shown in below:
f (t) =
=
=

[(t )]K1 e(t)


(K)

[t]K1 et
(K)

[t]K1 et
(K1)!
t

= e

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

12.13

K, R Pearson
if = 0

Gamma

if K I

Erlang

if K = 1

Neg. Exp.
February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

12. Vehicle Arrival Models : Headway

The expression for the probability that the random headway (t) is greater than a given headway
(h), p(t h), is given as:
Z
p(t h) =
f (t) dt
(12.19)
h

and similarly p(t > h + h) is given as:


p(t > h + h) =

f (t) dt

(12.20)

(h+h)

and hence, the probability that the headway between h and h + h is given as
Z
Z
p(h t (h + h)) =
f (t)dt
f (t) dt
h

(12.21)

(h+h)

It may be noted that closed form solution to equation 12.19 and equation 12.20 is not available.
Numerical integration is also difficult due to computational requirement. Using table as in the
case of Normal Distribution is difficult, since the table will be different for each K. A common
way of solving this is by using the numerical approximation to equation 12.21. The solution
to equation 12.21 is essentially the area under the curve defined by the probability density
function between h and h + h. If we assume that line joining f (h) and f (h + h) is linear,
which is a reasonable assumption if h is small, than the are under the curve can be found out
by the following approximate expression:


f (h) + f (h + h)
p(h t (h + h))
h
(12.22)
2
This concept is illustrated in figure 12:7
Stepwise procedure to fit a Pearson Type III distribution
1. Input required: the mean () and the standard deviation () of the headways.
2. Set the minimum expected headway (). Say, for example, 0.5. It means that the
p(t < 0.5) 0.
3. Compute the shape factor using the mean () the standard deviation () and the minimum expected headway ()
K=

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

12.14

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

12. Vehicle Arrival Models : Headway

f (t)
f (h)

p(t h)

t
h
f (t)
p(t h + h)

f (h + h)

t
h+ h
f (t)

p(h t h + h)
b

f (h)+f (h+h)
2

t
h

h+ h

Figure 12:7: Illustration of the expression for probability that the random variable lies in an
interval for Person Type III distribution
4. Compute the term flow rate () as
=
Note that if K = 1 and = 0, then =

which is the flow rate.

5. Compute gamma function value for K as:


(K) = (K 1)!
if K I (Integer)
= (K 1) (K 1) if K R (Real)

(12.23)

Although the closed form solution of (K) is available, it is difficult to compute. Hence,
it can be obtained from gamma table. For, example:
(4.785) = 3.785 (3.785)
= 3.785 2.785 (2.785)
= 3.785 2.785 1.785 (1.785)
= 3.785 2.785 1.785 0.92750
= 17.45
Note that the value of (1.785) is obtained from gamma table for (x) which is given for
1 x 2.
6. Using equation 12.17 solve for f (h) by setting t = h where h is the lower value of the
range and f (h+h) by setting t = h+h where (h+h) is the upper value of the headway
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

12.15

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

12. Vehicle Arrival Models : Headway

range. Compute the probability that headway lies between the interval of h and h + h
using equation 12.22.
The Gamma function can be evaluated by the following approximate expression also:
r


1
1
2
x x
Gamma(x) = x e
1+
+
+ ...
(12.24)
x
12 x 288x2
Numerical Example
An observation from 2434 samples is given table below. Mean headway observed was 3.5 seconds
and the standard deviation 2.6 seconds. Fit a Person Type III Distribution.
Table 12:5: Observed headway distribution
h
h + dh
poi
0.0
1.0
0.012
1.0
2.0
0.178
2.0
3.0
0.316
3.0
4.0
0.218
4.0
5.0
0.108
5.0
6.0
0.055
6.0
7.0
0.033
7.0
8.0
0.022
8.0
9.0
0.013
9.0
>
0.045
Total
1.00

Solutions Given that mean headway () is 3.5 and the standard deviation () is 2.6. Assuming the expected minimum headway () is 0.5, K can be computed as
K =

3.5 0.5
=
= 1.15

2.6

and flow rate term as


=

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

1.15
K
=
= 0.3896

3.5 0.5

12.16

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

12. Vehicle Arrival Models : Headway

Now, since K = 1.15 which is between 1 and 2, (K) can be obtained directly from the
gamma table as (K) = 0.93304. Here, the probability density function for this example can
be expressed as
0.3846
[ 0.3846 (t 0.5) ]1.151 e0.3846 (t0.5)
0.93304
The given headway range and the observed probability is given in column (2), (3) and (4). The
observed frequency (fio ) for the first interval (0 to 1) can be computed as the product of observed
proportion poi and the number of observations (N). That is, fio = poi N = 0.0122434 = 29.21
as shown in column (5). The probability density function value for the lower limit of the first
interval (h=0) is shown in column (6) and computed as:
f (t) =

0.3846
[ 0.3846 (0 0.5)]1.151 e0.3846 (00.5) 0.
0.93304
Note that since t (00.5) is negative and K 1 (1.151) is a fraction, the above expression
cannot be evaluated and hence approximated to zero (corresponding to t=0.5). Similarly, the
probability density function value for the lower limit of the second interval (h=1) is shown in
column 6 and computed as:
0.3846
[0.3846(1 0.5)]1.151 e0.3846(10.5) = 0.264
f (1) =
0.93304
Now, for the first interval, the probability

 for headway between 0 and 1 is computed by equaf (0)+(f (1)
c
tion ?? as pi (0 t 1) =
(1 0) = (0 + 0.0264)/2 1 = 0.132 and is
2
given in column (7). Now the computed frequency fic is pci N = 0.132 2434 = 321.1 and
is given in column (8). This procedure is repeated for all the subsequent items. It may be
noted that probability of headway > 9 is computed by 1-probability of headway less than 9
= 1 (0.132 + 0.238 + . . . ) = 0.044. The comparison of the three distribution for the above
data is plotted in Figure 12:8.
f (0) =

0.3
0.2
0.1

d
l

u
t
srb
d
l

b
d
l
t
u
sr

b
sru
t
1

sr
t
u
bl
d
3

sr
t
bu
d
l
4

u
t
d
l
sr
b

sr
bl
d
t
u
5

u
t Observed
l
d Exponential
sr Normal
b Pearson Type III
d
l
t
d
d
t
u
t
sbu
r
sbl
r
sbl
ru

d
sbl
r
t
u
6

Figure 12:8: Comparison of distributions

12.6

Conclusion

This chapter covers how the vehicle arrival can be modelled using various distributions. The
negative exponential distribution is used when the traffic is low and is most simplest of the
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

12.17

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

12. Vehicle Arrival Models : Headway

Table 12:6: Solution using Pearson Type III distribution


No
h
h+ h
poi
fio
f (t)
pci
fic
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)
(7)
(8)
1
0
1
0.012 29.2 0.000 0.132 321.2
2
1
2
0.178 433.3 0.264 0.238 580.1
3
2
3
0.316 769.1 0.213 0.185 449.5
4
3
4
0.218 530.6 0.157 0.134 327.3
5
4
5
0.108 262.9 0.112 0.096 233.4
6
5
6
0.055 133.9 0.079 0.068 164.6
7
6
7
0.033 80.3 0.056 0.047 115.3
8
7
8
0.022 53.6 0.039 0.033 80.4
9
8
9
0.013 31.6 0.027 0.023 55.9
10
>9
0.045 109.5 0.019 0.044 106.4
Total
1.0
2434
1.0
2434

distributions in terms of computation effort. The normal distribution on the other hand is
used for highly congested traffic and its evaluation require standard normal distribution tables.
The Pearson Type III distribution is a most general kind of distribution and can be used
intermediate or normal traffic conditions.

12.7

References

1. L. R Kadiyali. Traffic Engineering and Transportation Planning. Khanna Publishers,


New Delhi, 1987.
2. Adolf D. May. Fundamentals of Traffic Flow. Prentice - Hall, Inc. Englewood Cliff New
Jersey 07632, second edition, 1990.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

12.18

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

13. Vehicle Arrival Models : Count

Chapter 13
Vehicle Arrival Models : Count
13.1

Introduction

As already noted in the previous chapter that vehicle arrivals can be modelled in two interrelated ways; namely modelling how many vehicle arrive in a given interval of time, or modelling
what is the time interval between the successive arrival of vehicles. Having discussed in detail
the former approach in the previous chapter, the first part of this chapter discuss how a discrete
distribution can be used to model the vehicle arrival. Traditionally, Poisson distribution is used
to model the random process, the number of vehicles arriving a given time period. The second
part will discuss methodologies to generate random vehicle arrivals, be it the generation of
random headways or random number of vehicles in a given duration. The third part will
elaborate various ways of evaluating the performance of a distribution.

13.2

Poisson Distribution

Suppose, if we plot the arrival of vehicles at a section as dot in a time axis, it may look like
Figure 13:1. Let h1 , h2 , ... etc indicate the headways, then as mentioned earlier, they take some
real values. Hence, these headways or inter arrival time can be modelled using some continuous
distribution. Also, let t1 , t2 , t3 and t4 are four equal time intervals, then the number of vehicles
arrived in each of these interval is an integer value. For example, in Fig. 13:1, 3, 2, 3 and 1
vehicles arrived in time interval t1 , t2 , t3 and t4 respectively. Any discrete distribution that best
fit the observed number of vehicle arrival in a given time interval can be used. Similarly, any
h1

h2 h3 h4
t1

h5
t2

h6

h7 h8 h9
t3

h10

Time

t4

Figure 13:1: Illustration of vehicle arrival modeling

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

13.1

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

13. Vehicle Arrival Models : Count

continuous distribution that best fit the observed headways (or inter-arrival time) can be used in
modelling. However, since these process are inter-related, the distributions that describe these
relations should also be inter-related for better explanation of the phenomenon. Interestingly,
there exist distributions that meet the above requirements. First, we will see the distribution
to model the number of vehicles arrived in a given duration of time. Poisson distribution is
commonly used to describe such a random process. The probability density function of the
Poisson distribution is given as:
x e
p(x) =
(13.1)
x!
where p(x) is the probability for x events will occur in the time interval, and is the expected
rate of occurrence of that event in that interval. Some special cases of this distribution is given
below.
p(0) = e
e
= p(0)
p(1) =
1
2 e

p(2) =
= p(1)
2!
2

p(n) =
p(n 1).
n
Since the events are discrete, the probability that certain number of vehicles (n) arriving in an
interval can be computed as:
p(x n) =

n
X

p(i), i I.

i=0

Similarly, the probability that the number of vehicles arriving in the interval is exactly in a
range (between a and b, both inclusive and a < b) is given as:
p(a x b) =

b
X

p(i), i I.

i=a

Numerical Example
The hourly flow rate in a road section is 120 vph. Use Poisson distribution to model this vehicle
arrival.
= 2 vehicle per minute. Hence, the
Solution: The flow rate is given as () = 120 vph = 120
60
probability of zero vehicles arriving in one minute p(0) can be computed as follows:
p(0) =
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

x e
20 .e2
=
= 0.135.
x!
0!
13.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering


Table 13:1: Probability values
n
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

13. Vehicle Arrival Models : Count

of vehicle arrivals computed using Poisson distribution


p(n) p(x n) F (n)
0.135
0.135
8.120
0.271
0.406
16.240
0.271
0.677
16.240
0.180
0.857
10.827
0.090
0.947
5.413
0.036
0.983
2.165
0.012
0.995
0.722
0.003
0.999
0.206
0.001
1.000
0.052
0.000
1.000
0.011
0.000
1.000
0.011

Similarly, the probability of one vehicles arriving in one minute p(1) is given by,
p(1) =

x e
2.e2
=
= 0.271.
x!
1!

Now, the probability that number of vehicles arriving is less than or equal to zero is given as
p(x 0) = p(0) = 0.135.
Similarly, probability that the number of vehicles arriving is less than or equal to 1 is given as:
p(x 1) = p(0) + p(1) = 0.135 + 0.275 = 0.406.
Again, the probability that the number of vehicles arriving is between 2 to 4 is given as:
p(2 x 4) = p(2) + p(3) + p(4),
= .271 + .18 + .09 = 0.54.
Now, if the p(0) = 0.135, then the number of intervals in an hour where there is no vehicle
arriving is
F (x) = p(0) 60 = 0.135 60 = 8.12.
The above calculations can be repeated for all the cases as tabulated in Table 13:1. The shape
of this distribution can be seen from Figure 13:2 and the corresponding cumulative distribution
is shown in Figure 13:3.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

13.3

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

13. Vehicle Arrival Models : Count

p(n)

t
u

0.3
0.2

tu
ut

t
u

ut

0.1

ut

ut

ut

ut

ut

0
0

tu

10

Figure 13:2: Probability values of vehicle arrivals computed using Poisson distribution

p(n)

1.0

ut

0.9

ut

ut

ut

ut

tu

tu

ut

0.8

t
u

0.7
0.6
0.5

t
u

0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1

t
u

n
0

10

Figure 13:3: Cumulative probability values of vehicle arrivals computed using Poisson distribution

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

13.4

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

13.3

13. Vehicle Arrival Models : Count

Random variates following Poisson distribution

For simulation purposes, it may be required to generate number of vehicles arrived in a given interval so that it follows typical vehicle arrival. This is the reverse of computing the probabilities
as seen above. The following steps give the procedure:
1. Input: mean arrival rate in an interval t
2. Compute p(x = n) and p(x n)
3. Generate a random number X such that 0 X 1
4. Find n such that p(x n 1) X and p(x n) X
5. Set ni = n, where ni is the number of vehicles arrived in ith interval.
The steps 3 to 5 can be repeated for required number of intervals.
Numerical Example
Generate vehicles for ten minutes if the flow rate is 120 vph.
Solution The first two steps of this problem is same as the example problem solved earlier and
the resulted from the table is used. For the first interval, the random number (X) generated is
0.201 which is greater than p(0) but less than p(1). Hence, the number of vehicles generated in
this interval is one (ni = 1). Similarly, for the subsequent intervals. It can also be computed that
at the end of 10th interval (one minute), total 23 vehicle are generated. Note: This amounts
to 2.3 vehicles per minute which is higher than given flow rate. However, this discrepancy is
because of the small number of intervals conducted. If this is continued for one hour, then this
average will be about 1.78 and if continued for then this average will be close to 2.02.

13.4

Random variates following Exponential distribution

One can generate random variate following negative exponential distribution rather simply due
to availability of closed form solutions. The method for generating exponential variates is based
on inverse transform sampling:
t = f 1 (X)

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

13.5

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

13. Vehicle Arrival Models : Count

Table 13:2: Vehicles generated using Poisson distribution


No
X
n
1 0.201 1
2 0.714 3
3 0.565 2
4 0.257 1
5 0.228 1
6 0.926 4
7 0.634 2
8 0.959 5
9 0.188 1
10 0.832 3
Total 23

has an exponential distribution, where f 1 , called as quantile function, is defined as


f 1 (X) =

log(1 X)
.

Note that if X is uniform, then 1 X is also uniform and = 1/. Hence, one can generate
exponential variates as follows:
t = log(X)
where, X is a random number between 0 and 1, is the mean headway, and the resultant
headways generated (t) will follow exponential distribution.
Numerical Example
Simulate the headways for 10 vehicles if the flow rate is 120 vph.
Solution Since the given flow rate is 120 vph, then the mean headway () is 30 seconds.
Generate a random number between 0 and 1 and let this be 0.62. Hence, by the above equation,
t = 30 ( log(0.62)) = 14.57. Similarly, headways can be generated. The table below given
the generation of 15 vehicles and it takes little over 10 minutes. In other words, the table below
gives the vehicles generated for 10 minutes. Note: The mean headway obtained from this 15
headways is about 43 seconds; much higher than the given value of 30 seconds. Of, course this
is due to the lower sample size. For example, if the generation is continued to 100 vehicles,
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

13.6

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering


Table 13:3: Headways
No
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15

13. Vehicle Arrival Models : Count


generated using Exponential distribution
P
X
t
t
0.62 14.57 14.57
0.17 53.70 68.27
0.27 39.14 107.41
0.01 157.36 264.77
0.26 40.01 304.78
0.47 22.72 327.5
0.96 1.38 328.88
0.24 42.76 371.64
0.59 15.94 387.58
0.45 24.05 411.63
0.26 40.82 452.45
0.11 67.39 519.84
0.10 69.33 589.17
0.73 9.63
598.8
0.31 34.74 633.54

then the mean would be about 35 seconds, and if continued till 1000 vehicles, then the mean
would be about 30.8 seconds.

13.5

Evaluation of the mathematical distribution

The mathematical distribution such as negative exponential distribution, normal distribution,


etc needs to be evaluated to see how best these distributions fits the observed data. It can be
evaluated by comparing some aggregate statistics as discussed below.

13.5.1

Mean and Standard deviation

One of the easiest ways to compute the mean and standard deviation of the observed data
and compare with mean and standard deviation obtained from the computed frequencies. If
pci is the computed probability of the headway is the ith interval, and N is the total number of
observations, then the computed frequency of the ith interval is given as:
fic = pci N.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

13.7

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

13. Vehicle Arrival Models : Count

Then the mean of the computed frequencies (c ) is obtained as

fic ( 2hi2+h )
=
,
N

where hi is the lower limit of the ith interval, and h is the interval range. The standard
deviation c can be obtained by
c 2 c
(hm
i ) fi
.
N
If the distribution fit closely, then the mean and the standard deviation of the observed and
fitted data will match. However, it is possible, that two sample can have similar mean and
standard deviation, but, may differ widely in the individual interval. Hence, this can be considered as a quick test for the comparison purposes. For better comparison, Chi-square test
which gives a better description of the suitability of the distribution may be used.

c =

13.5.2

Chi-square test

The Chi-square value (X 2 ) can be computed using the following formula:


XC2

n
X
(f o f c )2
i

i=1

fic

where fio is the observed frequency, fic is the computed (theoretical) frequency of the ith interval,
and n is the number of intervals. Obviously, a X 2 value close to zero implies a good fit of the
data, while, high X 2 value indicate poor fit. For an objective comparison Chi-square tables are
used. A chi-square table gives X 2 values for various degree of freedom. The degree of freedom
(DOF) is given as
DOF = n 1 p
where n is the number of intervals, and p is the number of parameter defining the distribution.
Since negative exponential distribution is defined by mean headway alone, the value of p is one,
where as Pearson and Normal distribution has the value of p as two, since they are defined by
and . Chi-square value is obtained from various significant levels. For example, a significance
level of 0.05 implies that the likelihood that the observed frequencies following the theoretical
distribution is is 5%. In other words, one could say with 95% confidence that the observed data
follows the theoretical distribution under testing.
Numerical Example
Compute the X 2 statistic of the following distribution, where N = 2434.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

13.8

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

13. Vehicle Arrival Models : Count

Table 13:4: 2 distribution


h
h + dh
poi
pci
0.0
1
0.012 0.249
1.0
2
0.178 0.187
2.0
3
0.316 0.140
3.0
4
0.218 0.105
4.0
5
0.108 0.079
5.0
6
0.055 0.060
6.0
7
0.033 0.045
7.0
8
0.022 0.034
8.0
9
0.013 0.025
9.0
>
0.045 0.076
Total
1
1

Solution: The given headway range and the observed probability is given in column (2),
(3) and (4). The observed frequency for the first interval (0 to 1) can be computed as the
product of observed probability pi and the number of observation (N) i.e. fio = poi N =
0.012 2434 = 29.21 as shown in column (5). Now the computed frequency for the first
interval (0 to 1) is the product of computed probability and the number of observation (N) i.e.
fic = pci N = 0.249 2434 = 441.21 as shown in column (7). The 2 value can be computed as
(29.21441.21)2
= 384.73. Similarly, all the rows are computed and the total 2 value is obtained
441.21
as 1825.52. A chi-square table gives X 2 values for various degree of freedom. The degree of
freedom (DOF) is given as: DOF = n 1 p = 10 1 1 = 8, where n is the number of
intervals (10), and p is the number of parameter (1 because it is exponential distribution). Now
at a significance level of 0.05 and DOF 8, from the table, XT2 = 15.5. Since 2T < 2C hence
reject that the observed frequency follows exponential distribution.

13.6

Conclusion

The chapter covers three aspects: modeling vehicle arrival using Poisson distribution, generation
of random variates following certain distribution, and evaluation of distributions. Specific
evaluation include comparing the mean and standard deviation at macro level and using chisquare test which is essentially a micro-level comparison.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

13.9

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

No
(1)
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

13.7

Table 13:5: Solution


h
h + dh
poi
(2)
(3)
(4)
0.0
1
0.012
1.0
2
0.178
2.0
3
0.316
3.0
4
0.218
4.0
5
0.108
5.0
6
0.055
6.0
7
0.033
7.0
8
0.022
8.0
9
0.013
9.0
>
0.045
Total
1

13. Vehicle Arrival Models : Count


using comparison with X 2
fio
pci
fic
2
(5)
(6)
(7)
(8)
29.21 0.249 441.21 384.73
433.25 0.187 361.23 14.36
769.14 0.140 295.75 757.73
530.61 0.105 242.14 343.67
262.87 0.079 198.25 21.07
133.87 0.060 162.31
4.98
80.32 0.045 132.89 20.79
53.55 0.034 108.80 28.06
31.64 0.025 89.08
37.03
109.53 0.076 402.34 213.10
1
1825.52

References

1. L. R Kadiyali. Traffic Engineering and Transportation Planning. Khanna Publishers,


New Delhi, 1987.
2. Adolf D. May. Fundamentals of Traffic Flow. Prentice - Hall, Inc. Englewood Cliff New
Jersey 07632, second edition, 1990.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

13.10

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

14. Car Following Models

Chapter 14
Car Following Models
14.1

Overview

Longitudinal spacing of vehicles are of particular importance from the points of view of safety,
capacity and level of service. The longitudinal space occupied by a vehicle depend on the
physical dimensions of the vehicles as well as the gaps between vehicles. For measuring this
longitudinal space, two microscopic measures are used- distance headway and distance gap.
Distance headway is defined as the distance from a selected point (usually front bumper) on
the lead vehicle to the corresponding point on the following vehicles. Hence, it includes the
length of the lead vehicle and the gap length between the lead and the following vehicles.

14.2

Car following models

Car following theories describe how one vehicle follows another vehicle in an uninterrupted flow.
Various models were formulated to represent how a driver reacts to the changes in the relative
positions of the vehicle ahead. Models like Pipes, Forbes, General Motors and Optimal velocity
model are worth discussing.

14.2.1

Notation

Before going in to the details, various notations used in car-following models are discussed here
with the help of figure 14:1. The leader vehicle is denoted as n and the following vehicle as
(n+1). Two characteristics at an instant t are of importance; location and speed. Location and
speed of the lead vehicle at time instant t are represented by xtn and vnt respectively. Similarly,
t
respectively. The following
the location and speed of the follower are denoted by xtn+1 and vn+1
vehicle is assumed to accelerate at time t + T and not at t, where T is the interval of time
required for a driver to react to a changing situation. The gap between the leader and the
follower vehicle is therefore xtn xtn+1 .
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

14.1

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

14. Car Following Models

Direction of traffic
vn

vn+1

n+1

Follower

Leader
xn
xn xn+1

yn+1

Figure 14:1: Notation for car following model

14.2.2

Pipes model

The basic assumption of this model is A good rule for following another vehicle at a safe
distance is to allow yourself at least the length of a car between your vehicle and the vehicle
ahead for every ten miles per hour of speed at which you are traveling According to Pipes
car-following model, the minimum safe distance headway increases linearly with speed. A
disadvantage of this model is that at low speeds, the minimum headways proposed by the
theory are considerably less than the corresponding field measurements.

14.2.3

Forbes model

In this model, the reaction time needed for the following vehicle to perceive the need to decelerate and apply the brakes is considered. That is, the time gap between the rear of the leader and
the front of the follower should always be equal to or greater than the reaction time. Therefore,
the minimum time headway is equal to the reaction time (minimum time gap) and the time
required for the lead vehicle to traverse a distance equivalent to its length. A disadvantage of
this model is that, similar to Pipes model, there is a wide difference in the minimum distance
headway at low and high speeds.

14.2.4

General Motors model

The General Motors model is the most popular of the car-following theories because of the
following reasons:
1. Agreement with field data; the simulation models developed based on General motors
car following models shows good correlation to the field data.
2. Mathematical relation to macroscopic model; Greenbergs logarithmic model for speeddensity relationship can be derived from General motors car following model.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

14.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

14. Car Following Models

In car following models, the motion of individual vehicle is governed by an equation, which
is analogous to the Newtons Laws of motion. In Newtonian mechanics, acceleration can be
regarded as the response of the particle to stimulus it receives in the form of force which includes
both the external force as well as those arising from the interaction with all other particles in
the system. This model is the widely used and will be discussed in detail later.

14.2.5

Optimal velocity model

The concept of this model is that each driver tries to achieve an optimal velocity based on the
distance to the preceding vehicle and the speed difference between the vehicles. This was an
alternative possibility explored recently in car-following models. The formulation is based on
the assumption that the desired speed vndesired depends on the distance headway of the nth
vehicle. i.e.vnt desired = v opt (xtn ) where vopt is the optimal velocity function which is a function
of the instantaneous distance headway xtn . Therefore atn is given by
atn = [1/ ][V opt (xtn ) vnt ]

(14.1)

where 1 is called as sensitivity coefficient. In short, the driving strategy of nth vehicle is that,
it tries to maintain a safe speed which in turn depends on the relative position, rather than
relative speed.

14.3

General motors car following model

14.3.1

Basic Philosophy

The basic philosophy of car following model is from Newtonian mechanics, where the acceleration may be regarded as the response of a matter to the stimulus it receives in the form of
the force it receives from the interaction with other particles in the system. Hence, the basic
philosophy of car-following theories can be summarized by the following equation
[Response]n [Stimulus]n

(14.2)

for the nth vehicle (n=1, 2, ...). Each driver can respond to the surrounding traffic conditions
only by accelerating or decelerating the vehicle. As mentioned earlier, different theories on carfollowing have arisen because of the difference in views regarding the nature of the stimulus.
The stimulus may be composed of the speed of the vehicle, relative speeds, distance headway
etc, and hence, it is not a single variable, but a function and can be represented as,
atn = fsti (vn , xn , vn )
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

14.3

(14.3)
February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

14. Car Following Models

where fsti is the stimulus function that depends on the speed of the current vehicle, relative
position and speed with the front vehicle.

14.3.2

Follow-the-leader model

The car following model proposed by General motors is based on follow-the leader concept. This
is based on two assumptions; (a) higher the speed of the vehicle, higher will be the spacing
between the vehicles and (b) to avoid collision, driver must maintain a safe distance with the
vehicle ahead.
t
Let xtn+1 is the gap available for (n + 1)th vehicle, and let xsaf e is the safe distance, vn+1
and vnt are the velocities, the gap required is given by,
t
xtn+1 = xsaf e + vn+1

(14.4)

where is a sensitivity coefficient. The above equation can be written as


t
xn xtn+1 = xsaf e + vn+1

(14.5)

Differentiating the above equation with respect to time, we get


t
vnt vn+1
= .atn+1
1
t
]
atn+1 = [vnt vn+1

General Motors has proposed various forms of sensitivity coefficient term resulting in five generations of models. The most general model has the form,


t

l,m (vn+1
)m  t
t
t
an+1 =
v

v
(14.6)
n
n+1
(xtn xtn+1 )l
where l is a distance headway exponent and can take values from +4 to -1, m is a speed exponent
and can take values from -2 to +2, and is a sensitivity coefficient. These parameters are to
be calibrated using field data. This equation is the core of traffic simulation models.
In computer, implementation of the simulation models, three things need to be remembered:
1. A driver will react to the change in speed of the front vehicle after a time gap called the
reaction time during which the follower perceives the change in speed and react to it.
2. The vehicle position, speed and acceleration will be updated at certain time intervals
depending on the accuracy required. Lower the time interval, higher the accuracy.
3. Vehicle position and speed is governed by Newtons laws of motion, and the acceleration
is governed by the car following model.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

14.4

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

14. Car Following Models

Therefore, the governing equations of a traffic flow can be developed as below. Let T is
the reaction time, and t is the updation time, the governing equations can be written as,
vnt = vntt + att
t
n
xtn
atn+1

1
= xtt
+ vntt t + att
t2
n
n
2


t
l,m (vn+1
)m
tT
=
(vntT vn+1
)
tT l
tT
(xn
xn+1 )

(14.7)
(14.8)
(14.9)

The equation 14.7 is a simulation version of the Newtons simple law of motion v = u + at and
equation 14.8 is the simulation version of the Newtons another equation s = ut + 21 at2 . The
acceleration of the follower vehicle depends upon the relative velocity of the leader and the
follower vehicle, sensitivity coefficient and the gap between the vehicles.
Numerical Example
Let a leader vehicle is moving with zero acceleration for two seconds from time zero. Then he
accelerates by 1 m/s2 for 2 seconds, then decelerates by 1m/s2 for 2 seconds. The initial speed
is 16 m/s and initial location is 28 m from datum. A vehicle is following this vehicle with initial
speed 16 m/s, and position zero. Simulate the behavior of the following vehicle using General
Motors Car following model (acceleration, speed and position) for 7.5 seconds. Assume the
parameters l=1, m=0 , sensitivity coefficient (l,m ) = 13, reaction time as 1 second and scan
interval as 0.5 seconds.
Solution The first column shows the time in seconds. Column 2, 3, and 4 shows the acceleration, velocity and distance of the leader vehicle. Column 5,6, and 7 shows the acceleration,
velocity and distance of the follower vehicle. Column 8 gives the difference in velocities between
the leader and follower vehicle denoted as dv. Column 9 gives the difference in displacement
between the leader and follower vehicle denoted as dx. Note that the values are assumed to be
the state at the beginning of that time interval. At time t=0, leader vehicle has a velocity of
16 m/s and located at a distance of 28 m from a datum. The follower vehicle is also having the
same velocity of 16 m/s and located at the datum. Since the velocity is same for both, dv =
0. At time t = 0, the leader vehicle is having acceleration zero, and hence has the same speed.
The location of the leader vehicle can be found out from equation as, x = 28+160.5 = 36
m. Similarly, the follower vehicle is not accelerating and is maintaining the same speed. The
location of the follower vehicle is, x = 0+160.5 = 8 m. Therefore, dx = 36-8 =28m. These
steps are repeated till t = 1.5 seconds. At time t = 2 seconds, leader vehicle accelerates at the
rate of 1 m/s2 and continues to accelerate for 2 seconds. After that it decelerates for a period
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

14.5

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

14. Car Following Models

20

Leader
19

Follower

Velocity

18
17
16
15
0

10

15

20

25

30

Time(seconds)

Figure 14:2: Velocity vz Time


1.5

Leader
Follower

Acceleration

0.5

0.5

1.5

10

15

20

25

30

Time(seconds)

Figure 14:3: Acceleration vz Time


of two seconds. At t= 2.5 seconds, velocity of leader vehicle changes to 16.5 m/s. Thus dv
becomes 0.5 m/s at 2.5 seconds. dx also changes since the position of leader changes. Since the
reaction time is 1 second, the follower will react to the leaders change in acceleration at 2.0
seconds only after 3 seconds. Therefore, at t=3.5 seconds, the follower responds to the leaders
change in acceleration given by equation i.e., a = 130.5
= 0.23 m/s2 . That is the current ac28.23
celeration of the follower vehicle depends on dv and reaction time of 1 second. The follower
will change the speed at the next time interval. i.e., at time t = 4 seconds. The speed of the
follower vehicle at t = 4 seconds is given by equation as v= 16+0.2310.5 = 16.12 The location
of the follower vehicle at t = 4 seconds is given by equation as x = 56+160.5+ 12 0.2310.52
= 64.03 These steps are followed for all the cells of the table.
The earliest car-following models considered the difference in speeds between the leader and
the follower as the stimulus. It was assumed that every driver tends to move with the same

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

14.6

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

14. Car Following Models

Table 14:1: Car-following example


t
a(t)
v(t)
x(t)
a(t)
v(t)
x(t)
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)
(7)
t
a(t)
v(t)
x(t)
a(t)
v(t)
x(t)
0.00 0.00 16.00 28.00 0.00 16.00 0.00
0.50 0.00 16.00 36.00 0.00 16.00 8.00
1.00 0.00 16.00 44.00 0.00 16.00 16.00
1.50 0.00 16.00 52.00 0.00 16.00 24.00
2.00 1.00 16.00 60.00 0.00 16.00 32.00
2.50 1.00 16.50 68.13 0.00 16.00 40.00
3.00 1.00 17.00 76.50 0.00 16.00 48.00
3.50 1.00 17.50 85.13 0.23 16.00 56.00
4.00 -1.00 18.00 94.00 0.46 16.12 64.03
4.50 -1.00 17.50 102.88 0.67 16.34 72.14
5.00 -1.00 17.00 111.50 0.82 16.68 80.40
5.50 -1.00 16.50 119.88 0.49 17.09 88.84
6.00 0.00 16.00 128.00 0.13 17.33 97.45
6.50 0.00 16.00 136.00 -0.25 17.40 106.13
7.00 0.00 16.00 144.00 -0.57 17.28 114.80
7.50 0.00 16.00 152.00 -0.61 16.99 123.36
8.00 0.00 16.00 160.00 -0.57 16.69 131.78
8.50 0.00 16.00 168.00 -0.45 16.40 140.06
9.00 0.00 16.00 176.00 -0.32 16.18 148.20
9.50 0.00 16.00 184.00 -0.19 16.02 156.25
10.00 0.00 16.00 192.00 -0.08 15.93 164.24
10.50 0.00 16.00 200.00 -0.01 15.88 172.19
11.00 0.00 16.00 208.00 0.03 15.88 180.13
11.50 0.00 16.00 216.00 0.05 15.90 188.08
12.00 0.00 16.00 224.00 0.06 15.92 196.03
12.50 0.00 16.00 232.00 0.05 15.95 204.00
13.00 0.00 16.00 240.00 0.04 15.98 211.98
13.50 0.00 16.00 248.00 0.02 15.99 219.98
14.00 0.00 16.00 256.00 0.01 16.00 227.98
14.50 0.00 16.00 264.00 0.00 16.01 235.98
15.00 0.00 16.00 272.00 0.00 16.01 243.98
15.50 0.00 16.00 280.00 0.00 16.01 251.99
16.00 0.00 16.00 288.00 -0.01 16.01 260.00
16.50 0.00 16.00 296.00 0.00 16.01 268.00
17.00 0.00 16.00 304.00 0.00 16.00 276.00
17.50 0.00 16.00 312.00 0.00 16.00 284.00
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay
14.7
18.00 0.00 16.00 320.00 0.00 16.00 292.00
18.50 0.00 16.00 328.00 0.00 16.00 300.00
19.00 0.00 16.00 336.00 0.00 16.00 308.00
19.50 0.00 16.00 344.00 0.00 16.00 316.00
20.00 0.00 16.00 352.00 0.00 16.00 324.00
20.50 0.00 16.00 360.00 0.00 16.00 332.00

dv
(8)
dv
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.50
1.00
1.50
1.88
1.16
0.32
-0.59
-1.33
-1.40
-1.28
-0.99
-0.69
-0.40
-0.18
-0.02
0.07
0.12
0.12
0.10
0.08
0.05
0.02
0.01
0.00
-0.01
-0.01
-0.01
-0.01
-0.01
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00

dx
(9)
dx
28.00
28.00
28.00
28.00
28.00
28.13
28.50
29.13
29.97
30.73
31.10
31.03
30.55
29.87
29.20
28.64
28.22
27.94
27.80
27.75
27.76
27.81
27.87
27.92
27.97
28.00
28.02
28.02
28.02
28.02
28.02
28.01
28.00
28.00
28.00
28.00
February 19, 2014
28.00
28.00
28.00
28.00
28.00
28.00

Transportation Systems Engineering

14. Car Following Models

speed as that of the corresponding leading vehicle so that


atn =

1 t+1
t
(vn vn+1
)

(14.10)

where is a parameter that sets the time scale of the model and 1 can be considered as a
measure of the sensitivity of the driver. According to such models, the driving strategy is to
follow the leader and, therefore, such car-following models are collectively referred to as the
follow the leader model. Efforts to develop this stimulus function led to five generations of
car-following models, and the most general model is expressed mathematically as follows.
at+T
n+1 =

tT m
l,m [vn+1
]
tT
(vntT vn+1
)
tT
tT
l
[xn
xn+1 ]

(14.11)

where l is a distance headway exponent and can take values from +4 to -1, m is a speed exponent
and can take values from -2 to +2, and is a sensitivity coefficient. These parameters are to
be calibrated using field data.

14.4

Summary

Microscopic traffic flow modeling focuses on the minute aspects of traffic stream like vehicle to
vehicle interaction and individual vehicle behavior. They help to analyze very small changes
in the traffic stream over time and space. Car following model is one such model where in the
stimulus-response concept is employed. Optimal models and simulation models were briefly
discussed.

14.5

References

1. L. R Kadiyali. Traffic Engineering and Transportation Planning. Khanna Publishers,


New Delhi, 1987.
2. L J Pignataro. Traffic Engineering: Theory and practice. Prentice-Hall, Englewoods
Cliffs,N.J., 1973.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

14.8

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

15. Lane Changing Models

Chapter 15
Lane Changing Models
15.1

Overview

The transfer of a vehicle from one lane to next adjacent lane is defined as lane change. Lane
changing has a significant impact on traffic flow. Lane changing models are therefore an important component in microscopic traffic simulators, which are increasingly the tool of choice
for a wide range of traffic-related applications at the operational level. Modeling the behaviour
of a vehicle within its present lane is relatively straightforward, as the only considerations of
any importance are the speed and location of the preceding vehicle. Lane changing, however,
is more complex, because the decision to change lanes depends on a number of objectives, and
at times these may conflict. Gap acceptance models are used to model the execution of lanechanges. The available gaps are compared to the smallest acceptable gap (critical gap) and a
lane-change is executed if the available gaps are greater. Gaps may be defined either in terms
of time gap or free space.

15.2

Basic Lane changing model

The basic lane change model is described using the framework shown in Figure 15:1. The
subject vehicle in the current lane tries to change direction either to its left or to its right. If
the gap in the selected lane is acceptable the lane change occurs or else it will remain in the
current lane

15.3

Classification of Lane change

The classification of lane changes is done based on the execution of the lane change and accordingly two type of lane changes exists.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

15.1

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

15. Lane Changing Models

Change direction
Right

Current

Left

Gap
acceptance

NO CHANGE

CHANGE LEFT

NO CHANGE

CHANGE
RIGHT

NO CHANGE

Figure 15:1: Basic Lane Change Model


Start

MLC

MLC

Driving
conditions
not
satisfactory

other
lanes

Left lane

Gap
Accept

Gap
Reject

Left lane

current
lanes

Right lane

Gap
Accept

Gap
Reject

Right lane current


lanes

Left lane

current
lanes

Right lane

Left lane
Gap
Accept

Driving
conditions
satisfactory

Gap
Reject

current
lanes

Gap
Accept

Gap
Reject

current current
Right lane current
lanes
lanes
lanes

Figure 15:2: Discretionary Lane change model


Mandatory Lane Change (MLC): Mandatory lane change (MLC) occurs when a driver
must change lane to follow a specified path Suppose if a driver wants to make a right turn at
the next intersection the he changes to the right most lane which is referred as Mandatory Lane
change.
Discretionary Lane Change (DLC): Discretionary lane change (DLC) occurs when a
driver changes to a lane perceived to offer better traffic conditions, he attempts to achieve
desired speed, avoid following trucks, avoid merging traffic, etc. Suppose if a driver perceives
better driving conditions in the adjacent lane then he makes a Discretionary Lane change.

15.3.1

MLC and DLC Model

The lane changing model structure is shown in Figure 15:2. The MLC branch in the top level
corresponds to the case when a driver decides to respond to the MLC condition. Explanatory
variables that affect such decision include remaining distance to the point at which lane change
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

15.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

15. Lane Changing Models

must be completed, the number of lanes to cross to reach a lane connected to the next link,
delay (time elapsed since the MLC conditions apply), and whether the subject vehicle is a
heavy vehicle (bus, truck, etc..,). Drivers are likely to respond to the MLC situations earlier if
it involves crossing several lanes. A longer delay makes a driver more anxious and increases the
likelihood of responding to the MLC situations. And finally, due to lower maneuverability and
larger gap length requirement of heavy vehicles as compared to their non heavy counterparts,
they have a higher likelihood of responding to the MLC conditions.

15.3.2

Decision making

The MLC branch corresponds to the case where either a driver does not respond to an MLC
condition, or that MLC conditions do not apply. A driver then decides whether to perform a
discretionary lane change (DLC). This comprises of two decisions: whether the driving conditions are satisfactory, and if not satisfactory, whether any other lane is better than the current
lane. The term driving conditions satisfactory implies that the driver is satisfied with the driving conditions of the current lane. Important factors affecting the decision whether the driving
conditions are satisfactory include the speed of the driver compared to its desired speed, presence of heavy vehicles in front and behind the subject, if an adjacent on ramp merges with the
current lane, whether the subject is tailgated etc.
If the driving conditions are not satisfactory, the driver compares the driving conditions
of the current lane with those of the adjacent lanes. Important factors affecting this decision
include the difference between the speed of traffic in different lanes and the drivers desired
speed, the density of traffic in different lanes, the relative speed with respect to the lag vehicle
in the target lane, the presence of heavy vehicles in different lanes ahead of the subject etc. In
addition, when a driver considers DLC although a mandatory lane change is required but the
driver is not responding to the MLC conditions, changing lanes opposite to the direction as
required by the MLC conditions may be less desirable.
If a driver decides not to perform a discretionary lane change (i.e., either the driving conditions are satisfactory, or, although the driving conditions are not satisfactory, the current is
the lane with the best driving conditions) the driver continues in the current lane. Otherwise,
the driver selects a lane from the available alternatives and assesses the adjacent gap in the
target lane.. When trying to perform a DLC, factors that affect drivers gap acceptance behavior include the gap length, speed of the subject, speed of the vehicles ahead of and behind
the subject in the target lane, and the type of the subject vehicle (heavy vehicle or not). For
instance, a larger gap is required for merging at a higher travel speed. A heavy vehicle would
require a larger gap length compared to a car due to lower maneuverability and the length of
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

15.3

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

15. Lane Changing Models

the heavy vehicle.

15.4

Lane changing models

Most models classify lane changes as either mandatory or discretionary lane change. This separation implies that there are no trade-offs between mandatory and discretionary considerations.
For example, a vehicle on a freeway that intends to take on of-ramp will not overtake a slower
vehicle if the distance to the off-ramp is below a threshold, regardless of the speed of that vehicle. Furthermore, in order to implement MLC and DLC model separately, rules that dictate
when drivers begin to respond to MLC conditions need to be defined. However, this point
is unobservable, and so only judgment-based heuristic rules, which often are defined by the
distance from the point where the MLC must be completed, are used. Just like the judgement
based lane changing models ,there also exist lot of other models like general acceleration based
lane changing models and gap acceptance based lane changing models

15.4.1

Forced merging model

If the gap on the target lane is not acceptable then the subject vehicle forces the lag vehicle on
the target to decelerate until the gap is acceptable. This process is known as Forced merging.
At every discrete point in time, a driver is assumed to (a) evaluate the traffic environment in
the target lane to decide whether the driver intends to merge in front of the lag vehicle in the
target lane and (b) try to communicate with the lag vehicle to understand whether the drivers
right of way is established. If a driver intends to merge in front of the lag vehicle and right
of way is established, the decision process ends and the driver gradually move into the target
lane. We characterize this instant by state M, where M denotes start forced merging. This
process may last from less than a second to a few seconds. If right of way is not established,
the subject continues the evaluation/communication process (i.e., remains in state M) during
the next time instant.

15.4.2

Cooperative Merging

The models discussed so far assume that lane changing is executed through gap acceptance.
However, in congested traffic conditions acceptable gaps may not be available, and so other
mechanisms for lane changing are needed. For example, drivers may change lanes through
courtesy and cooperation of the lag vehicles on the target lane that will slow down in order to
accommodate the lane change. In other cases, some drivers may become impatient and decide
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

15.4

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

15. Lane Changing Models


Lane 3

Lane 2

Lane 1

Figure 15:3: Process of lane change


to force in to the target lane and compel the lag vehicle to slow down.

15.5

Discretionary lane changing process

The discretionary lane changing process is modeled as a sequence of the following three steps:
1. Decision to consider a lane change,
2. Check for the feasibility,
3. Gap acceptance
Lane changing process is explained using the example which is shown in Figure 15:3. The
subject vehicle in lane 2 makes a decision to consider a lane change and then it selects a target
lane which may be either lane 1 or lane 3. Then it checks for the feasibility of lane change.
Now this subject vehicle accepts the gap in the target lane to make a lane change.

15.5.1

Desire to change the lane

Decision to change the lane in discretionary lane change conditions may be taken due to a
number of factors but basically what the driver has in mind should be higher utility in the
target lane which may be for example higher speed. Here we use the equation suggested by
Gipps (1986) to find if it is possible for the driver to attain his desired speed within the existing
space difference between his vehicle and the preceding vehicle in the current lane. If required
space difference is not available, the driver is assumed to decide lane change. The relation is
given as:
p
(15.1)
Vn (t + T ) = bn T + b2n T 2 bn (2Dx (t) Vn (t) T Vn1 (t)2 /b)
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

15.5

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

15. Lane Changing Models

where, Vn (t + T ) is the maximum safe speed for vehicle n with respect to the preceding vehicle
at time (t+T), Vn (t) is the velocity nth vehicle, Vn1 (t) is the velocity n-1th vehicle, bn (< 0) is
the most severe braking the driver is prepared to undertake, T is the time between consecutive
calculations of speed and position, b is an estimate of bn1 employed by the driver of vehicle n,
and Dx (t) is the distance between front of subject vehicle and rear of leading vehicle at t. The
driver is assumed to decide to change lane if Dx is more than the existing space gap between
the subject vehicle and preceding vehicle in current lane.

15.5.2

Check for feasibility

The lane change is said to be feasible if the chance that the subject vehicle would collide at the
rear of preceding vehicle in the target lane and the chance that the lag vehicle in the target lane
would collide at the rear of the subject vehicle is avoided. To check if the subject vehicle would
collide at the rear of preceding vehicle in the target lane we consider the subject vehicle as n and
preceding vehicle in the target lane as n-1.Then we substitute the values in the equation 15.1.
If the maximum safe speed can be attained in the time T with a deceleration less than the
maximum possible deceleration of the vehicle we say that the lane change is feasible.
To check if the lag vehicle after sighting the subject vehicle in the target lane, would collide
at the rear of subject vehicle in the target lane. For this we consider the lag vehicle as N and
subject vehicle in the target lane as n-1. Also we have to consider that the space difference
available will be changed as both the vehicles would have moved a distance during the lane
change. Then we substitute the values in the equation 15.1. If the maximum safe speed can be
attained in the time T by the lag vehicle with a deceleration less than the maximum possible
deceleration of the vehicle we say that the lane change is feasible

15.5.3

Gap acceptance

A gap is defined as the gap in between the lead and lag vehicles in the target lane (see Figure 15:4). For merging into an adjacent lane, a gap is acceptable only when both lead and lag
gap are acceptable. Drivers are assumed to have minimum acceptable lead and lag gap lengths
which are termed as the lead and lag critical gaps respectively. These critical gaps vary not only
among different individuals, but also for a given individual under different traffic conditions.
Most models also make a distinction between the lead gap and the lag gap and require that
both are acceptable. The lead gap is the gap between the subject vehicle and the vehicle ahead
of it in the lane it is changing to. The lag gap is defined in the same way relative to the vehicle
behind in that lane. The critical gap lengths are assumed to be log normally distributed The

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

15.6

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

15. Lane Changing Models

critical gap for driver n at time t is assumed to have the following relation.
g
Gg,cr
= e[Xn +Vn +n ]
n

g
where, Gg,cr
n (t) is the critical gap measure for gap G perceived by driver n at time step t, Xn (t)
is the explanatory variable used to characterize mean Gg,cr
n (t), n is the random term follows
log normal distribution, and g is the parameter of driver specific random term vn . Assuming

lag vehicle

total clear gap + vehicle length


lag gap
lead gap

Y
lead vehicle

subject
front vehicle

Figure 15:4: Definition of gaps


gn (t) N(0, 2g ) the conditional probability of acceptance of a gap p(g) considering that the
probability of lead gap acceptance (p(lead)) and lag gap (p(lag)) acceptance as two independent
events is probability that the lead and lag gaps are accepted. That is:
P (g) = p(lead) p(lag)
tag
tag
lead
= p(Glead
tn log(Gcr,tn ) and Gtn log(Gcr,tn ))
tag
tag
lead
= p(log(Glead
tn ) log(Gcr,tn )) P (log(Gtn ) log(Gcr,tn ))


lead
lead
log(Glead
Vn
tn ) lead Xtn
=

,lead
#
"
lag
lead
log(Glag
)

V
lag tn
n
tn

,lag

(15.2)

where (X) means X follows standard normal distribution ,N(0,1)


Numerical Example
For the given state of traffic predict if the subject vehicle in the figure 5 would initiate a
lane change.if yes what is the feasibility and probability of lane change. Given is the midblock section of 2 lane highway with no other blocks in either of the lane. Neglect lateral
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

15.7

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

15. Lane Changing Models

acceleration. Consider update time 1 sec. Maximum deceleration driver ready to apply is -2
m/s2 and maximum acceleration feasible is -2.2 m/s2 Assume that lane change take 1 second.
Given: lead =2, lead = 3 ,Glead =40m, Glag =50m , lead = lag = 1 ,Xnlead = Xnlag = 0.8,
Vnlead = Vnlag = 0.7 , lead =lag = 1.2
Y

X
lag vehicle

40m

50 m

lead vehicle
18 m/s
20.83 m/s
19.4 m/s

18 m/s

N1
30 m

Subject
X

DIRECTION OF TRAFFIC FLOW

Solution Step 1. Decision to change the lane: In the case of discretionary lane change,
the decision to change the lane is taken by the driver when he finds higher utility in any other
lane. Here, we consider higher speed or desired speed as higher utility. Let the desired speed
be 25 m/s2 . Considering the subject vehicle as vehicle n and the vehicle preceding it in the
current lane as vehicle n-1, we calculate the minimum distance required by the subject vehicle
to attain the desired speed in a time T
Dx = xn1 (t) Sn1 xn (t)
p
Vn (t + T ) = bn T + b2n T 2 bn (2Dx Vn T Vn 12 /b)
p
25 = 2 1 + 22 + (2 Dx 19.4 + 182/2.5)
The Dx in this problem is 155 m, which means that the subject vehicle requires at least 155 m
to reach his desired speed. But the gap available is 30 m. So decision is to change the lane or
trigger DLC.
Step 2. Check for the feasibility of lane change: A lane change is said to be
feasible if the subject vehicle is able to maintain maximum safe speed with respect to the
preceding vehicle in the target line. In order to find the maximum safe speed possible for the
subject vehicle to avoid collision we consider the subject vehicle as N and preceding vehicle in
the target lane as N-1. Then we substitute the values in the second equation. Vn (t + T ) =
2 1 + [22 + 22(40) 19.4 + 182 /2.5]1/2 = 17.6m/s And the deceleration required = (17.619.4)/1 = -1.79 m/s2 Since -1.79 m/s2 less than -2.2 m/s2 the lane change feasible to avoid
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

15.8

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

15. Lane Changing Models


Y

X
50 m

lag vehicle

40 m

lead vehicle
18m/s
N1

20.83 m/s
19.4 m/s

18m/s

30 m

subject

DIRECTION OF TRAFFIC FLOW

collision with the lead vehicle in the target lane. Now we have to check if the lag vehicle
in the target line would be able to avoid the collision with the subject vehicle after the lane
change. For this we take lag vehicle as N th vehicle and subject vehicle as N 1th vehicle Here,
X

50 m
Lag vehicle

20.83 m

40 m
lead vehicle

19.4 m

N1

20.83 m/s

18 m/s
18 m/s

19.4 m/s

30 m
X

Y
DIRECTION OF TRAFFIC FLOW

Dx = 50 + 19.4 20.83 = 48.5m as the lag vehicle and subject vehicle would have moved some
distance during the lane change duration of 1 second. These distances are 20.83 m and 19.4
m respectively. Vn (t + T ) = 2x1 + [22 + 22(48.5) 20.83 + 19.42 /2.5]1/2 = 19.38m/s The
deceleration required to be applied by the lag vehicle in the target lane to avoid collision with
the subject vehicle = (19.38 20.83)/1 = 1.44m/s2 . Since -1.44 m/s2 -2.2 m/s2 the lane
change feasible to avoid collision of the lag vehicle in the target lane.
Step 3. Check for the gap acceptance of lane change in the given state of
traffic: Here we find that the lag gap that was available is 50 m and the lead gap is 40

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

15.9

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

15. Lane Changing Models

m.using the equation 2 we get,




lead
lead
log(Glead
Vn
tn ) lead Xtn
p(g) =

,lead
#
"
lag
lead
log(Glag
)

V
lag tn
n
tn

,lag
= (log(40) 0.8 0.84)/2 (log(50) 0.8 0.84)/2
= (1.02) (0.75) = 0.8212 0.7734 = 0.635.
This means that a given driver would opt for a lane change in the the given condition with a
probability of 0.635.

15.6

Average Delay for Lane change

The blockage length and the average delay for the lane change are calculated based on the
following formulae.
T Vs
N
1 BL
Average delay =

2
Vr
BL =

where, T = Total time of headways rejected, BL = blockage length, Vs = stream velocity, Vr


= relative velocity, N = number of acceptable gap
Numerical Example
In a two lane, one way stream of 1000 vph with 360 vehicles in Lane A and the remaining
vehicles in lane B. 8% of the vehicles in lane A have gaps less than 1 sec and 18% of the
vehicles in lane A have gaps less than 2 sec. Compute the time during which vehicles in Lane
B may not change to Lane A in 1 hour. Assume driver requires one second ahead and behind
in making a lane change.
Solution Total acceptable time for lane change in an hour = 3600 - total rejected headway
- total clearance time. Given that 0 to 1 second Gaps is 8% of 360 = 29 and 1 to 2 second
Gaps is (18-8) % of 360 = 36. Total = 65 Gaps. Time spent in Gaps 0 to 1 second = 29 x
.5 = 14.5 sec, and Time spent in Gaps 1 to 2 second = 36 x 1.5 = 54.0 sec. As 65 Gaps are
rejected, Acceptable Gaps are (360-65) = 295 Gaps. In this 295 Gaps clearance time = 295
x 2 = 590 sec. Time lost in rejected gap = 14.5+54=68.5. Therefore, Total time left in one
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

15.10

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

15. Lane Changing Models


Lane A (360 vph)
Lane B (640 vph)

Figure 15:5: Numerical example


car

car

g
A

g
A

g
A

Figure 15:6: Numerical example


hour to accept Gap=(3600 - 590 - 68.5) = 2941 sec. Vehicle can change lane in (2941/3600) =
81.7% of the Total time. Vehicle is prevented from changing lane in 18.3% of the time.
Numerical Example
In a two lane, one way stream of 1000 vph with 360 vehicles in Lane A and the remaining
vehicles in lane B. 8% of the vehicles in lane A have gaps less than 1 sec and 18% of the
vehicles in lane A have gaps less than 2 sec. Compute the average waiting for the driver to
make a lane change. Assume driver velocity in lane B = 40 kmph and stream velocity = 50
kmph. Solution: The average length of headways and portions of head ways of insufficient
length for a lane change, which may be considered as general blockages moving in the stream.
Division of this Blockage length by the relative speed determines potential total delay time of
the blockade. Finally since a delayed vehicle is as likely to be at the head as at the tail of
such a blockade at the moment of desired lane change, the total delay must be divided by 2 for
average delay time.
1 BL

2
Vr
T Vs
BL =
N

Average delay =

where T = 3600 18.3% = 658.8, Vs = 50 kmph, N = acceptable gaps. So 0 to 2 second Gaps


= 18 % of 360 = 65. Therefore N = 360-65 = 295. BL = 658.850
= 111.6. In the above figure
295
the vertical lines are the center line of the cars and gr , ga represents the acceptable and rejected
gaps respectively.
1 BL

2
Vr
1
111.6
Average delay =

= 5.58sec
2 (50 40)
Average delay =

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

15.11

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

15.7

15. Lane Changing Models

Summary

Lane changing is an important component of microscopic traffic simulation model, and has
significant impact on the results of analysis that uses these tools. In recent years, interest in
the development of lane changing models and their implementation in traffic simulators have
increased dramatically. There is a lot of scope for the improvement of these lane change models
like integrating acceleration behavior, impact of the buses, bus stops, traffic signals and queues
that form due to lane change maneuver.

15.8

References

1. K I Ahmed. Modeling drivers acceleration and lane changing behaviors. PhD thesis,
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, MIT, 1999.
2. C F Choudhury. Modeling driving decisions with Latent plans. PhD thesis, Department
of Civil and Environmental Engineering, MIT, 2007.
3. D R Drew. Traffic flow theory and control. McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York,
1968. IITB.
4. P G Gipps. A model for the structure of lane-changing decisions.
Research Part B: Methodological, Volume 20, Issue 5, 1986.

Transportation

5. Theodore M Matson, Wilbure S smith, and Fredric W Hurd. Traffic engineering, 1955.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

15.12

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

16. Microscopic Traffic Simulation

Chapter 16
Microscopic Traffic Simulation
16.1

Overview

The complexity of traffic stream behaviour and the difficulties in performing experiments with
real world traffic make computer simulation an important analysis tool in traffic engineering.
The physical propagation of traffic flows can be specifically described using traffic flow models.
By making use of different traffic simulation models, one can simulate large scale real-world
situations in great detail. Depending on the level of detailing, traffic flow models are classified
into macroscopic, mesoscopic and microscopic models. Macroscopic models view the traffic flow
as a whole whereas microscopic ones gives attention to individual vehicles and their interactions
while the mesoscopic models fall in between these two. This chapter gives an overview of the
basic concepts behind simulation models and elaboration about the microscopic approach for
modelling traffic.
A microscopic model of traffic flow attempts to analyze the flow of traffic by modelling
driver-driver and driver-road interactions within a traffic stream which respectively analyses
the interaction between a driver and another driver on road and of a single driver on the
different features of a road. Many studies and researches were carried out on drivers behavior
in different situations like a case when he meets a static obstacle or when he meets a dynamic
obstacle. Among these, the pioneer development of car following theories paved the way for
the researchers to model the behaviour of a vehicle following another vehicle in the 1950s and
1960s.

16.2

Traffic Simulation Models

Simulation modelling is an increasingly popular and effective tool for analyzing a wide variety of
dynamical problems those associated with complex processes which cannot readily be described
in analytical terms. Usually, these processes are characterized by the interaction of many system
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

16.1

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

16. Microscopic Traffic Simulation

components or entities whose interactions are complex in nature. Specifically, simulation models
are mathematical/logical representations of real-world systems, which take the form of software
executed on a digital computer in an experimental fashion. The most important advantage is
that these models are by no means exhaustive.

16.2.1

Need for simulation

Traffic simulation models have a large variety of applications in the required fields. Now-a-days
they become inevitable tools of analysis and interpretation of real world situations especially in
Traffic Engineering. The following are some situations where these models can find their scope.
1. When mathematical or analytical treatment of a problem is found infeasible or inadequate
due to its complex nature.
2. When there is some doubt in the mathematical formulation or results.
3. When there is a need of an animated view of flow of vehicles to study their behaviour.
It is important to note that simulation can only be used as an auxiliary tool for evaluation and
extension of results provided by other conceptual or mathematical formulations or models.

16.2.2

Applications

Traffic simulations models can meet a wide range of requirements:


1. Evaluation of alternative treatments
2. Testing new designs
3. As an element of the design process
4. Embed in other tools
5. Training personnel
6. Safety Analysis

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

16.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

16.2.3

16. Microscopic Traffic Simulation

Classifications

Traffic simulation models can be classified based on different criteria. Figure 16:1 shows various
types of classification. In a broader sense, they can be categorized into continuous and discrete
ones according to how the elements describing a system change their states. The latter is again
classified into two.
Discrete time based models
Discrete event based models
Traffic simulation models

Deterministic
Macroscopic

Stochastic

Microscopic
Mesoscopic
Discrete

Continuous

Figure 16:1: Classification of Traffic simulation models


The first, divides time into fixed small intervals and within each interval the simulation model
computes the activities which change the states of selected system elements. For some specific
applications, considerable savings in computational time can be achieved by the use of event
based models where scanning is performed based on some abrupt changes in the state of the
system (events). However the discrete time models could be a better choice where the model
objectives require more realistic and detailed descriptions.
According to the level of detailing, simulation models can be classified into macroscopic,
mesoscopic and microscopic models. A macroscopic model describes entities and their activities
and interactions at a low level of detail. Traffic stream is represented in an aggregate measure
in terms of characteristics like speed, flow and density. A mesoscopic model generally represents most entities at a high level of detail but describes their activities and interactions at a
much lower level of detail. A microscopic model describes both the system entities and their
interactions at a high level of detail. Car following models and lane changing models are some
significant examples. The choice of a particular type of model depends on the nature of the
problem of interest.
Depending on the type of processes represented by the model, there are deterministic and
stochastic models. Models without the use of any random variables or in other words, all entity
interactions are defined by exact mathematical/logical relationships are called deterministic
models. Stochastic models have processes which include probability functions.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

16.3

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

16.3

16. Microscopic Traffic Simulation

Building Traffic Simulator

The basic steps involved in the development are same irrespective of the type of model. The
different activities involved are the following.
1. Define the problem and the model objectives
2. Define the system to be studied - Roadway, Vehicle and Driver characteristics
3. Model development
4. Model calibration
5. Model verification
6. Model validation
7. Documentation
The most significant steps among the above are described with the help of stating the procedure
for developing a microscopic model.

16.3.1

Model development

The framework of a model consists of mainly three processes as mentioned below.


1. Vehicle generation
2. Vehicle position updation
3. Analysis
The flow diagram of a microscopic traffic simulation model is given in Figure 16.2. The basic
structure of a model includes various component models like car following models like car
following models, lane changing models etc. which come under the vehicle position updation
part. In this chapter, the vehicle generation stage is explained in detail. The vehicles can
be generated either according to the distributions of vehicular headways or vehicular arrivals.
Headways generally follow one of the following distributions.
1. Negative Exponential Distribution (Low flow rate)
2. Normal Distribution (High flow rate)
3. Erlang Distribution (Intermediate flow rate)
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

16.4

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

16. Microscopic Traffic Simulation

The generation of vehicles using negative exponential distribution is demonstrated here. The
probability distribution function is given as follows.
f (x) = ex

(16.1)

From the above equation, the expression for exponential variate headway X can be derived as:
X = ( loge R)

(16.2)

where, is the mean headway, R is the random number between 0 and 1 Random number
Start
Input and
Initialization
Headway generation
for first vehicle
Is
currenttime= Yes
multiple of scan
interval
No

Vehicle position
updation

Is
currenttime= No
cumulative
headway

Time step
updation

Yes
vehicle generation and
next headway generation
No

Is
Simulation time
over?
Yes
End

Figure 16:2: Flow diagram of a Microscopic traffic simulation model


generation is an essential part in any stochastic simulation model, especially in vehicle generation module. Numerous methods in terms of computer programs have been devised to generate
random numbers which appear to be random. This is the reason why some call them pseudorandom numbers. Therefore headways can be generated using the above expression by giving
a random number and the mean headway as the input variables.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

16.5

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

16. Microscopic Traffic Simulation

In a similar way, the vehicular arrival pattern can be modeled using Poissons distribution.
The probability mass function is given as:
x e
p(x) =
x!

(16.3)

where, p(x) is the probability of x vehicle arrivals in an interval t, is the mean arrival rate of
vehicles If the probability of no vehicle in the interval t is given as p(0), then this probability
is same as the probability that the headway greater than or equal to t.
Numerical example
Given flow rate is 900 veh/hr. Simulate the vehicle arrivals for 1 min using negative exponential
distribution.
1
= 4sec. Step 2: Generate the
Solution Step 1: Calculate the mean headway = (900/3600)
random numbers between 0 and 1. Step 3: Calculate the headways and then estimate the
cumulative headways. The calculations are given in Table 16:1

X = (loge R)

Numerical example
The hourly flow rate in a road section is 900 veh/hr. Use Poisson distribution to model this
vehicle arrival for 10 min.
Solution Step 1: Calculate the no. of vehicles arriving per min. = 900/60 = 15 veh/min.
Step 2: Calculate the probability of 0, 1, 2, ... vehicles per minute using Poisson distribution
formula. Also calculate the cumulative probability as shown below.
p(x) =

x e
x!

Step 3: Generate random numbers from 0 to 1. Using the calculated cumulative probability
values, estimate the no. of vehicles arriving in that interval as shown in Table below. Here
the total number of vehicles arrived in 10 min is 143 which is almost same as the vehicle arrival
rate obtained using negative exponential distribution.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

16.6

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

Veh. No.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

16. Microscopic Traffic Simulation

R
X
Arrival time (sec)
0.73 1.23
1.23
0.97 0.14
1.37
0.27 5.26
6.63
0.44 3.25
9.88
0.52 2.63
12.51
0.77 1.05
13.55
0.43 3.39
16.94
0.81 0.84
17.79
0.08 9.96
27.75
0.74 1.18
28.93
0.53 2.58
31.51
0.81 0.83
32.34
0.15 7.46
39.80
0.44 3.26
43.06
0.29 5.02
48.08
0.68 1.56
49.63
0.05 12.09
61.72

Table 16:1: Vehicle arrivals using Negative exponential distribution

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

16.7

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

16. Microscopic Traffic Simulation

n p(x=n)
0
0.000
1
0.000
2
0.000
3
0.000
4
0.001
5
0.002
6
0.005
7
0.010
8
0.019
9
0.032
10 0.049
11 0.066
12 0.083
13 0.096
14 0.102
15 0.102
16 0.096
17 0.085
18 0.071
19 0.056
20 0.042

p(x=n)
0
0.000
0.000
0.000
0.001
0.003
0.008
0.018
0.037
0.070
0.118
0.185
0.268
0.363
0.466
0.568
0.664
0.749
0.819
0.875
0.917

Table 16:2: Calculation of probabilities using Poisson distribution

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

16.8

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

16. Microscopic Traffic Simulation


t (min)
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

R
0.231
0.162
0.909
0.871
0.307
0.008
0.654
0.775
0.632
0.901

n
11
10
19
18
12
6
15
17
15
20
143

Table 16:3: Vehicle arrivals using Poisson distribution

16.3.2

Model calibration

The activity of specifying data to the model that describes traffic operations and other features
which are site specific is called calibration of the model. In other words, calibration is the
process of quantifying model parameters using real-world data. This data may take the form
of scalar elements and of statistical distributions. Calibration is a major challenge during the
implementation stage of any model. The commonly used methods of calibration are regression,
optimization, error determination, trajectory analysis etc. A brief description about various
errors and their significance is presented in this section. The optimization method of calibration
is also explained using the following example problem.
Numerical example
The parameters obtained in GM car-following model simulation are given in Table below. Field
observed values of acceleration of follower is also given. Calibrate the model by finding the value
of . Assume l=1 and m=0. Use optimization method to solve the problem.
Solution Step 1: Formulate the objective function (z).
Minimize z =

4
X

cal
aobs
i ai

2

i=1

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

16.9

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

16. Microscopic Traffic Simulation

Observed Acceleration (aobs ) Velocity difference, dv Distance headway, dx


0.23
1.5
29.13
0.46
1.88
29.97
0.67
1.16
30.73
0.82
0.32
31.10
Table 16:4: Parameters of GM Model

Step 2: Express acal


in terms of . As per GM model (since l=1 and m=0),
i
acal
i =

dv
dx

Step 3: Therefore the objective function can be expressed as:


z = (0.23 0.05)2 + (0.46 0.06)2 + (0.67 0.04)2 + (0.82 0.01)2
Step 4: Since the above function is convex, differentiating and then equating to zero will give
the solution (as stationary point is the global minimum). Differentiating with respect to and
equating to zero,
dz
=0
d
Then, value of is obtained as 9.74.

16.3.3

Determination of Errors

Most of the available commercial traffic simulation software provides advanced user-friendly
graphic user interfaces with flexible and powerful graphic editors to assist analysts in the modelbuilding process. This reduces the number of errors. There are a number of manual ways to
quantify the error associated with every parameter while calibrating them. Some of the common
measures of error and their expressions are discussed below.
1. Root mean square error
RMSE =

1
i=1 N(xi yyi)2
N

(16.4)

2. Root mean squared normalized error


RMSNE =
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

1
xi yi 2
)
i=1 N(
N
yi

16.10

(16.5)
February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

16. Microscopic Traffic Simulation

3. Mean error

1
i=1 N(xi yi )
N

ME =
4. Mean normalized error
MNE =

xi yi
1
i=1 N(
)
N
yi

(16.6)

(16.7)

where, xi is the ith measured or simulated value, yi is the ith observed value
The above error measures are useful when applied separately to measurements at each
location instead of to all measurements jointly. They indicate the existence of systematic bias
in terms of under or over prediction by the simulation model. Taking into account that the series
of measurements and simulated values can be collected at regular time intervals, it becomes
obvious that they can be interpreted as time series and, therefore, used to determine how close
the simulated and the observed values are. Thus it can be determined that how similar both
time series are. On the other hand, the use of aggregated values to validate a simulation seems
contradictory if one takes into account that it is dynamic in nature, and thus time dependent.
Theil defined a set of indices aimed at this goal and these indices have been widely used for that
purpose. The first index is Theils indicator, U (also called Theils inequality coefficient), which
provides a normalized measure of the relative error that reduces the impact of large errors:
q
1
N(xi yi )2
N i=1
q
(16.8)
U=q
1
1
2 +
2

N(x
)

N(y
)
i=1
i
i=1
i
N
N
The global index U is bounded, 0 U 1, with U = 0 for a perfect fit and xi = yi for i = 1 to
N, between observed and simulated values. For U 0.2, the simulated series can be accepted
as replicating the observed series acceptably well. The closer the values are to 0, the better will
be the model. For values greater than 0.2, the simulated series is rejected.
Numerical example
The observed and simulated values obtained using Model 1 and Model 2 are given in Table
below.
1. Comment on the performance of both the models based on the following error measures
- RMSE, RMSNE, ME and MNE.
2. Using Theils indicator, comment on the acceptability of the models.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

16.11

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

16. Microscopic Traffic Simulation

Table 16:5: Observed and Simulated values


Simulated values, x
Observed values, y Model 1 Model 2
0.23
0.2
0.27
0.46
0.39
0.5
0.67
0.71
0.65
0.82
0.83
0.84

Table 16:6: Error calculations for Model 1

(x y)

)
( xy
y

Model 1
(x y)2

)2
( xy
y

-0.030
-0.130
0.0009
0.0170
-0.070
-0.152
0.0049
0.0232
0.040
0.060
0.0016
0.0036
0.010
0.012
0.0001
0.0001
= -0.050
= -0.211
= 0.0075
= 0.0439
ME = 0.013 MNE = 0.053 RMSE = 0.043 RMSNE = 0.105

Solution
1. Using the formulas given below (Equations 16.4, 16.5, 16.6, 16.7), all the four errors can
be calculated. Here N = 4.
r
1
i=1 N(xi yyi)2
RMSE =
N
r
1
xi yi 2
RMSNE =
)
i=1 N(
N
yi
1
ME = i=1 N(xi yi )
N
xi yi
1
)
MNE = i=1 N(
N
yi
Tabulations required are given below. Comparing Model 1 and Model 2 in terms of
RMSE and RMSNE, Model 2 is better. But with respect to ME and MNE, Model 1 is
better.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

16.12

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

16. Microscopic Traffic Simulation

Table 16:7: Error calculations for Model 2

(x y)

Model 2
(x y)2

( xy
)
y

( xy
)2
y

0.040
0.174
0.0016
0.0302
0.040
0.087
0.0016
0.0076
-0.020
-0.030
0.0004
0.0009
0.020
0.024
0.0004
0.0006
= 0.080
= 0.255
= 0.0040
= 0.0393
ME = 0.020 MNE = 0.064 RMSE = 0.032 RMSNE = 0.099

Table 16:8: Theils indicator calculation


x2
Model 1
Model 2
0.04
0.0729
0.1521
0.25
0.5041
0.4225
0.6889
0.7056
= 1.3851 = 1.451

2. Theils indicator
U=q

y2
0.0529
0.2116
0.4489
0.6724
= 1.3858

1
N(xi
N i=1

1
N(xi )2
N i=1

y i )2
1
N(yi )2
N i=1

The additional tabulations required are as follows: The value of Theils indicator is obtained as: For Model 1, U = 0.037 which is 0.2, and For Model 2, U = 0.027 which is
0.2. Therefore both models are acceptable.

16.3.4

Model Verification

Following de-bugging, verification is a structured regimen to provide assurance that the software performs as intended. Since simulation models are primarily logical constructs, rather
than computational ones, the analyst must perform detailed logical path analyses. When completed, the model developer should be convinced that the model is performing in accord with
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

16.13

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

16. Microscopic Traffic Simulation

expectations over its entire domain of application.

16.3.5

Model Validation

Validation is the process to determine whether the simulation model is an accurate representation of the system under study. This establishes that the model behaviour accurately and
reliably represents the real-world system being simulated, over the range of conditions anticipated and it involves the following major steps.
1. Acquiring and formatting real world data
2. Establishing the validation criteria - Hypotheses, Statistical tests etc.
3. Experimental design for validation including a variety of scenarios
4. Perform validation study
5. Identify the causes of failure if any and repair the model accordingly
The methodological scheme for validation is shown in the following Figure 16:3.

16.4

Simulation Packages

Now a days, traffic simulation packages like CORSIM and VISSIM are frequently used as tools
for analyzing traffic. VISSIM is a microscopic, time step and behaviour based simulation model
developed to analyze the full range of functionally classified roadways and public transportation operations. Since all these are commercial software packages, it is not possible to make
sufficient changes in the internal parameters used in these models according to the specific
requirements. Common applications of these packages include freeway and arterial corridor
studies, sub-area planning studies, evacuation planning, freeway management strategy development, environmental impact studies, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) assessments,
current and future traffic management schemes etc.
Results of simulation can be interpreted in different ways. Animation displays of extracting
the sought information and insights from the mass of the traffic environment (if available) are
a most powerful tool for analyzing simulation results. If the selected traffic simulation lacks
an animation feature or if questions remain after viewing the animation, then the following
procedures may be adopted:

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

16.14

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

16. Microscopic Traffic Simulation


System Data
Collection

Data Filtering
Analysis and
Completion

System Data
Model input to
Simulator

Simulation Model

System Data
Measured Values

Accept

Yes

Compare

Are
Significantly
Close?

Simulation Model
Output:Collected
Data

No

Figure 16:3: Methodological scheme for validation


1. Execute the model to replicate existing real-world conditions and compare its results with
observed behaviour. This face validation can be done to identify model or implementation deficiencies.
2. Perform sensitivity tests on the study network by varying key variables and observing
model responses in a carefully designed succession of model executions.
3. Plot these results. A review will probably uncover the perceived anomalies
Statistical analysis of the simulation results are also conducted to present point estimates of
effectiveness and to form the confidence intervals. Through these processes, one can establish
that which simulation system is the best among the different alternatives.

16.5

Conclusion

It can be observed from the study that using different microscopic simulation models, large scale
real-world situations can be simulated in great detail. New applications of traffic simulation
can contribute significantly to various programs in ITS. Calibration and validation are the
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

16.15

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

16. Microscopic Traffic Simulation

major challenges to be tackled. It is expected that further exploration would open up better
opportunities for better utilization and further development of these models.

16.6

References

1. J Barcelo. Fundamentals of Traffic Simulation. Springer, 2010.


2. R Kitamura and M Kuwahara.
Springer, 2005.

Simulation Approaches in Transportation Analysis.

3. E Lieberman and A K Rathi. Traffic simulation, Traffic flow theory. 1997.


4. L J Pignataro. Traffic Engineering: Theory and practice. Prentice-Hall, Englewoods
Cliffs,N.J., 1973.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

16.16

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

17. Traffic Flow Modeling Analogies

Chapter 17
Traffic Flow Modeling Analogies

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

17.1

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

17. Traffic Flow Modeling Analogies

Contents
17 Traffic Flow Modeling Analogies
17.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
17.2 Model framework . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
17.2.1 Assumptions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
17.2.2 Formulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
17.2.3 Derivation of the Conservation equation
17.3 Analytical Solution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
17.3.1 Formulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
17.3.2 Method of Characteristics . . . . . . . .
17.3.3 Inference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
17.4 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
17.5 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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1
2
2
2
3
4
5
5
6
8
9
9

Introduction

If one looks into traffic flow from a very long distance, the flow of fairly heavy traffic appears
like a stream of a fluid. Therefore, a macroscopic theory of traffic can be developed with the
help of hydrodynamic theory of fluids by considering traffic as an effectively one-dimensional
compressible fluid. The behaviour of individual vehicle is ignored and one is concerned only
with the behaviour of sizable aggregate of vehicles. The earliest traffic flow models began by
writing the balance equation to address vehicle number conservation on a road. In fact, all
traffic flow models and theories must satisfy the law of conservation of the number of vehicles
on the road.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

17.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

17.2

Model framework

17.2.1

Assumptions

17. Traffic Flow Modeling Analogies

The traffic flow is similar to the flow of fluids and the traffic state is described based on speed,
density and flow. However the traffic flow can be modelled as a one directional compressible
fluid. The two important assumptions of this modelling approach are:
The traffic flow is conserved, or in other words vehicles are not created or destroyed. The
continuity or conservation equation can be applied.
There is one to one relationship between speed and density as well as flow and density.
The difficulty with this assumption is that although intuitively correct, in some cases this can
lead to negative speed and density. Further, for a given density there exists many speed values
are actually measured. These assumptions are valid only at equilibrium condition, that is, when
the speed is a function of density. However, equilibrium can be rarely observed in practice and
therefore hard to get Speed-density relationship. These are some of the limitations of continuous
modelling. The advantages of the continuous modelling are:
Better than input output models because flow and density are set as a function of time
and distance.
Compressibility: ie., flow is assumed to be a function of density.
Solving the continuity equation (or flow conservation equation) and the state equation
(speed-density and flow-density) are basic traffic flow equations (q = k.v). By using the
equation that define q, k, and v at any location x and time t, we can evaluate the system
using measures of effectiveness such as delays, travel time etc.

17.2.2

Formulation

Assuming that the vehicles are flowing from left to right, the continuity equation can be written
as
k(x, t) q(x, t)
+
=0
(17.1)
t
x
where x denotes the spatial coordinate in the direction of traffic flow, t is the time, k is the
density and q denotes the flow. However, one cannot get two unknowns, namely k(x, t) by
and q(x, t) by solving one equation. One possible solution is to write two equations from two

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

17.3

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

17. Traffic Flow Modeling Analogies

regimes of the flow, say before and after a bottleneck. In this system the flow rate before and
after will be same, or
k1 v1 = k2 v2
(17.2)
From this the shock wave velocity can be derived as
v(to )p =

q2 q1
k2 k1

(17.3)

This is normally referred to as Stocks shock wave formula. An alternate possibility which
Lighthill and Whitham adopted in their landmark study is to assume that the flow rate q is
determined primarily by the local density k, so that flow q can be treated as a function of only
density k. Therefore the number of unknown variables will be reduced to one. Essentially this
assumption states that k(x,t) and q (x,t) are not independent of each other. Therefore the
continuity equation takes the form
k(x, t) q(k(x, t))
+
=0
t
x

(17.4)

However, the functional relationship between flow q and density k cannot be calculated from
fluid-dynamical theory. This has to be either taken as a phenomenological relation derived from
the empirical observation or from microscopic theories. Therefore, the flow rate q is a function
of the vehicular density k; q = q(k). Thus, the balance equation takes the form
k(x, t) q(k(x, t))
+
=0
t
x

(17.5)

Now there is only one independent variable in the balance equation, the vehicle density k. If
initial and boundary conditions are known, this can be solved. Solution to LWR models are
kinematic waves moving with velocity
dq(k)
(17.6)
dk
This velocity vk is positive when the flow rate increases with density, and it is negative when
the flow rate decreases with density. In some cases, this function may shift from one regime to
the other, and then a shock is said to be formed. This shock wave propagate at the velocity
vs =

q(k2 ) q(k1 )
k2 k1

(17.7)

where q(k2 ) and q(k1 ) are the flow rates corresponding to the upstream density k2 and downstream density k1 of the shock wave. Unlike Stocks shock wave formula there is only one
variable here.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

17.4

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

17. Traffic Flow Modeling Analogies

N1

N2

q1

q2

(1)

17.2.3

(2)

Derivation of the Conservation equation

Consider a unidirectional continuous road section with two counting station. Let N1 : number
of cars passing (1) in time t; q1 : the flow; N2 : number of cars passing (2) in time t; and
q2 : the flow; Assume N1 > N2 , then queuing between (1) and (2)
q1 =

N1
,
t

q = q2 q1

N2
t
N
N2 N1
=
=
t
t
q2 =

Note that q2 < q1 and therefore q is negative. Therefore,


N = q.t

(17.8)

Similarly (k2 > k1 ),


k = k2 k1 =

+N
N1 N2
=
,
x
x

Therefore
N = kx
From the above two equations:
k x + q t = 0
Dividing by t x

k q
+
=0
t
x
Assuming continuous medium (ie., taking limits) limt0
q k
+
=0
x
t
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

17.5

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

17. Traffic Flow Modeling Analogies

If sink or source is considered

q
k
+
= g(x, t)
x
t
where, g(x, t) is the generation or dissipation term (Ramp on and off). Solution to the above
was proposed by Lighthill and Whitham (1955) and Richard (1956) popularly knows as LWR
Model.

17.3

Analytical Solution

17.3.1

Formulation

The analytical solution, popularly called as LWR Model, is obtained by defining the relationship
between the fundamental dependant traffic flow variable (k and q) to the independent variable
(x and t). However, the solution to the continuity equation needs one more equation: by
assuming q = f (k) , ie., q = k.v. Therefore:
q k
+
x
t
f (k) k
+
k
t
k (k.v)
+
t
x
k [k.f (k)]
+
t
x

= 0, becomes
= 0
= 0
= 0, v = f (k)

Therefore,
[k.f (k)]
k
f (k)
=
.f (k) + k.
x
x
x
df k
k
f (k) + k. .
=
x 
dk x

k
df
=
f (k) + k.
x
dk
Continuity equation can be written as


df
k k
f (k) + k.
=0
+
t
x
dk

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

17.6

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

17. Traffic Flow Modeling Analogies

where f (k) could be any function relating density and speed. Eg: Assuming the Greenshields
linear model:
vf
k
kj
df (k)
vf
vf
Therefore, f (k) + k
= vf k + k
dk
kj
kj
vf
= vf 2 k
kj
v = vf

Therefore,



vf
k k
vf 2 k = 0
+
t
x
kj

(17.9)

The equation 17.9 is first order quasi-linear, hyperbolic, partial differential equation (a special
kind of wave equation).

17.3.2

Method of Characteristics

df
+ k
[f (k) + dk
k] = 0 in the total derivative of
Consider k(x, t) at each point of x and t, and k
t
x
df
x
k along a curve which has slope t = f (k) + dk k. ie., Along any curve in (x, t), consider x, k
as function of t.

(k)
t

x0

Total derivative of k will be


k k dx
dk
=
+
.
dt
t
x dt

k k
df
=
f (k) + k
+
t
x
dk
At the solution,
That is,

dk
dt

df
= 0, k is constant along the curve, f (k) + k. dk
is constant along the curve.


dx
t
x(t) = x0 +
dt


dt
= x0 + f (k) + k.
t
dk


Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

17.7

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

17. Traffic Flow Modeling Analogies

Note that the solution is to construct some curve e so that: (a) kt +c(k).kx is the total derivative
= c(k). We know
of k along the curve (ie., directional derivative) and (b) slope of the curve dx
dt
k(x, t). Therefore directional derivative k(x, t) along t
dk(x, t)
k dx k
=
+ .
dt
t dt x

k
df k
=
+ f (k) + k.
t
dk x
= 0
dk
ie.,
= 0
dt
df
= f (k) + k dk
is constant along curve e. Therefore
That is k is constant along the curve e or dx
dt
e must be straight line.


df
t
x(t) = x0 + f (k) + k.
dk
If k(x, 0) = k0 is initial condition
"
#

df
x(t) = x0 + f (k0 ) + k0 .
t
dk k=k0
This function is plotted below along with a fundamental q-k diagram.

17.3.3

Inference

1. Density k is constant along characteristic lines


2. Characteristic lines are straight lines emanating from the boundaries of x t plane
3. The slope of the characteristic line is
dx
df
dq
= f (k) + k.

dt
dk
dk
ie., Characteristic curve has the slope equal to the tangent of the flow density curve.
4. When two Characteristic lines intersect (ie., 2 k values at a given x,t) shock waves are
generated; and characteristic line terminate.
5. Shock wave represent mathematical discontinuity ie., abrupt changes to k, q, v.
6. Speed of the Shock wave is ratio of the time storage rate to space storage rate; that is:
qd qu
.
vw =
kd kv
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

17.8

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

17. Traffic Flow Modeling Analogies


wave velocity

wave velocity

q = kv = k(vf kf k)
vf jdx
dq
dk = vf 2 k k = dt
j

k = 0 kB

kA

kj

dq
uw = dx
dt = dx

Shockwave
B
Characteristic lines
t

Vehicle trajectories

17.4

Conclusion

The advantages of the continuous modelling is that it gives good insight into the understanding
of the behaviour of traffic. It can also be applied to platoon movement, signal control, etc.
Finally, it also paves the way for the development of higher order models. However, it also
has some serious limitations. The first one is the difficulty in getting solutions for realistic
problems(initial boundary conditions). Second, the q k and u k relationship are complex.
It may also cause unrealistic abrupt changes in the system. Finally acceleration-deceleration
characteristics are not directly modelled in the system.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

17.9

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

17.5

17. Traffic Flow Modeling Analogies

References

[1] D Chowdhury, L Santen, and A Schadschneider. Statistical physics of vehicular traffic


and some related systems. Physics Report 329, 2000. 199-329.
1. L. R Kadiyali. Traffic Engineering and Transportation Planning. Khanna Publishers,
New Delhi, 1987.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

17.10

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

18. Cell Transmission Models

Chapter 18
Cell Transmission Models
18.1

Introduction

Models are necessary to simulate the real world scenario to some extent, or in some cases,
they can even provide the exact scenario. Characteristics of traffic changes with time, place,
human behavior etc. The models in traffic engineering are necessary to predict the behavior
of traffic in proper planning and design of the road network. The models can be microscopic
and macroscopic. In the present chapter, a macroscopic model has been discussed known as
cell transmission model which tries to simulate the traffic behavior.
In the classical methods to explain macroscopic behaviour of traffic, like hydrodynamic
theory, differential equations need to be solved to predict traffic evolution. However in situations
of sudden high density variations, like bottle-necking, the hydrodynamic model calls for a shock
wave (an ad-hoc). Hence these equations are essentially piecewise continuous which are difficult
to solve. Cell transmission models are developed as a discrete analogue of these differential
equations in the form of difference equations which are easy to solve and also take care of high
density changes.
In this lecture note the hydrodynamic model and cell transmission model and their equivalence is discussed. The cell transmission model is explained in two parts, first with only a
source and a sink, and then it is extended to a network. In the first part, the concepts of
basic flow advancement equations of CTM and a generalized form of CTM are presented. In
addition, the phenomenon of instability is also discussed. In the second segment, the network
representation and topologies are established, after which the model is discussed in terms of a
linear program formulation for merging and diverging.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

18.1

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

18. Cell Transmission Models

18.2

Single source and sink CTM model

18.2.1

Basic Premise

The cell transmission model simulates traffic conditions by proposing to simulate the system
with a time-scan strategy where current conditions are updated with every tick of a clock. The
road section under consideration is divided into homogeneous sections called cells, numbered
from i = 1 to I. The lengths of the sections are set equal to the distances travelled in light
traffic by a typical vehicle in one clock tick. Under light traffic condition, all the vehicles in a
cell can be assumed to advance to the next with each clock tick. i.e,
ni+1 (t + 1) = ni (t)

(18.1)

where, ni (t) is the number of vehicles in cell i at time t. However, equation 18.1 is not reasonable
when flow exceeds the capacity. Hence a more robust set of flow advancement equations are
presented in a later section.

18.2.2

Flow Advancement Equations

First, two constants associated with each cell are defined, they are: (i) Ni (t) which is the
maximum number of vehicles that can be present in cell i at time t, it is the product of the
cells length and its jam density. (ii) Qi (t) : is the maximum number of vehicles that can flow
into cell i when the clock advances from t to t + 1 (time interval t), it is the minimum of the
capacity of cells from i 1 and i. It is called the capacity of cell i. It represents the maximum
flow that can be transferred from i 1 to i. We allow these constants to vary with time to be
able to model transient traffic incidents. Now the flow advancement equation can be written
as, the cell occupancy at time t + 1 equals its occupancy at time t, plus the inflow and minus
the outflow; i.e.,
ni (t + 1) = ni (t) + yi(t) yi+1 (t)
(18.2)
where, ni (t + 1) is the cell occupancy at time t + 1, ni (t) the cell occupancy at time t, yi (t)
is the inflow at time t, yi+1(t) is the outflow at time t. The flows are related to the current
conditions at time t as indicated below:
yi (t) = min [ni1 (t), Qi (t), Ni (t) ni (t)]

(18.3)

where, ni1 (t): is the number of vehicles in cell i 1 at time t, Qi (t): is the capacity flow into
i for time interval t, Ni (t) - ni (t): is the amount of empty space in cell i at time t.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

18.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

18. Cell Transmission Models

Qi1(t), Ni1(t)

Qi(t), Ni(t)

ni1(t)

ni(t)

Qi+1(t), Ni+1(t)
ni+1(t)

t + 1 ni(t + 1)

Figure 18:1: Flow advancement

18.2.3

Boundary conditions

Boundary conditions are specified by means of input and output cells. The output cell, a sink
for all exiting traffic, should have infinite size (NI+1 = ) and a suitable, possibly time-varying,
capacity. Input flows can be modeled by a cell pair. A source cell numbered 00 with an infinite
number of vehicles (n00 (O) = ) that discharges into an empty gate cell 00 of infinite size,
N0 (t) = . The inflow capacity Q0 (t) of the gate cell is set equal to the desired link input flow
for time interval t + 1.

18.2.4

Equivalence with Hydrodynamic theory

Consider equations 18.2 & 18.3, they are discrete approximations to the hydrodynamic model
with a density- flow (k-q) relationship in the shape of an isoscaled trapezoid, as in Fig.18:2.
This relationship can be expressed as:
q = min [vk , qmax , v(kj k)], f or 0 k kj ,

(18.4)

Flow conservation is given by,


k(x, t)
q(x, t)
=
(18.5)
x
t
To demonstrate the equivalence of the discrete and continuous approaches, the clock tick set
to be equal to t and choose the unit of distance such that vt = 1. Then the cell length is 1,
v is also 1, and the following equivalences hold: x i, kj N, qmax Q, and k(x, t) ni (t)
with these conventions, it can be easily seen that the equations 18.4 & 18.3 are equivalent.
Equation 18.6 can be equivalently written as:
yi (t) yi+1 (t) = ni (t) + ni+1 (t + 1)

(18.6)

This represents change in flow over space equal to change in occupancy over time. Rearranging
terms of equation 18.7 we can arrive at equation 18.3, which is the same as the basic flow
advancement equation of the cell transmission model.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

18.3

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

18. Cell Transmission Models

vkj/2
qmax
-v

ka

kb

F low

Figure 18:2: Flow-density relationship for the basic cell-transmission model

kj
1 1
v +w

qmax
w

ka

kb

Density

Figure 18:3: Flow-density relationship for the generalized CTM

18.3

Generalized CTM

Generalized CTM is an extension of the cell transmission model that would approximate the
hydrodynamic model for an equation of state that allows backward waves with speed w v
(see Fig. 18:3 ). This is a realistic model, since on many occasions speed of backward wave will
not be same as the free flow speed.
yi (t) = min [ni1 (t), Qi (t), w/v{Ni(t) ni (t)}]

(18.7)

A small modification is made in the above equation to avoid the error caused due to numerical
spreading. Equation 18.7 is rewritten as
yi (t) = min [ni1 (t), Qi (t), {Ni( t) ni (t)}]

(18.8)

where, = 1 if ni1 (t) Qi (t), and = w/v if ni1 (t) > Qi (t).
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

18.4

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

18.3.1

18. Cell Transmission Models

Numerical example

Consider a 1.25 km homogeneous road with speed v = 50 kmph, jam density kj = 180 veh/km
and qmax = 3000 veh/hr. Initially traffic is flowing undisturbed at 80% of capacity: q =
2400 veh/hr. Then, a partial lane blockage lasting 2 min occurs on 1/3rd of the distance from
the end of the road. The blockage effectively restricts flow to 20% of the maximum. Clearly, a
queue is going to build and dissipate behind the restriction. After 2 minutes, the flow in cell
3 is maximum possible flow. Predict the evolution of the traffic. Take one clock tick as 30
seconds.
Solution The main purpose of cell transmission model is to simulate the real traffic conditions
for a defined stretch of road. The speed and cell length is kept constant and also the cell lengths
in cell transmission model. The solution has been divided into 4 steps as follows:
Step 1: Determination of cell length and number of cells Given clock tick, t =
30sec = 1/120th of an hour. So, cell length = distance travelled by vehicle in one clock tick
= v t = 50 (1/120) 5/12 km. Road stretch given = 1.25 km. Therefore, no of cells =
1.25/(5/12) = 3 cells
Step 2: Determination of constants (N & Q) N = maximum number of vehicles that
can be at time t in cell i, = cell length x jam density, = 180 x (5/12) = 75 vehicles, Q =
maximum number of vehicles that can flow into cell I from time t to t+1, = 3000 x (1/120) =
25 vehicles. Now, to simulate the traffic conditions for some time interval, our main aim is to
find the occupancies of the 3 cells (as calculated above) with the progression of clock tick. This
is easily showed by creating a table. First of all, the initial values in the tables are filled up.
Step 3: Determination of cell capacity in terms of number of vehicles for various
traffic flows. For 20% of the maximum = 600 (1/120) vehicles. For 80% of the maximum =
2400 (1/120) vehicles.
Step 4: Initialization of the table The table has been prepared with source cell as a
large capacity value and a gate is there which connects and regulates the flow of vehicles from
source to cell 1 as per the capacity of the cell for a particular interval. The cell constants (Q
and N) for the 3 cells are shown in the table. Note that the sink can accommodate maximum
number of vehicles whichever the cell 3 generates. Q3 is the capacity in terms of number of
vehicles of cell 3 . The value from H5 to H7 (i.e 5) corresponds to the 2min time interval with 4
clock ticks when the lane was blocked so the capacity reduced to 20% of the maximum (i.e. 600
(1/120) vehicles). After the 2 min time interval is passed vehicles flows with full capacity
in cell 3. So the value is 25 (i.e 3000 (1/120) vehicles).
Step 5: Computation of Occupancies Simulation need not be started in any specific
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

18.5

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

Source(00)
Q
N
Time
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18

999
999
999
999
999
999
999
999
999
999
999
999
999
999
999
999
999
999

18. Cell Transmission Models

Gate(0) Cell1
20
25
999
75
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20

20

Cell2
25
75
20

Cell3
75

Cell4
25
999

20

Q3
5
5
5
5
25
25
25
25
25
25
25
25
25
25
25
25
25
25

Table 18:1: Entries at the start of the simulation.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

18.6

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

18. Cell Transmission Models

Q=25,N=75
t=1

20

Q=25,N=75
20

t=2
Q=20,N=75
t=1

20

20

Q=5,N=75
5

35
Q=25,N=75

20

t=2

20

20

Q=25,N=75
20

20

20

order, it can be started from any cell in the row corresponding to the current clock tick. Now,
consider cell circled (cell 2 at time 2) in the final table. Its entry depends on the cells marked
with rectangles. By flow conservation law: Occupancy = Storage + Inflow - Outflow. Note
that the Storage is the occupancy of the same cell from the preceding clock tick. Also outflow
of one cell is equal to the inflow of the just succeeding cell. Here, Storage = 20. For inflow use
equation 18.3 Inflow= min [20,min(25,25),(75-20)]= 20. Outflow= min [20,min(25,5),(75-20)]=
5. Occupancy= 20+20-5=35. Now, For cell 1 at time 2, Inflow= min [20,min(25,25),(75-20)]=
20, Outflow= min [20,min(25,25),(75-20)]= 20, Occupancy= 20+20-20=20. Now, For cell 3 at
time 2, Inflow= min [20, min (25,5),(75-20)]= 5. Outflow= 20 (:.sink cell takes all the vehicles
in previous cell) Occupancy= 20+5-20=5. Similarly, rest of the entries can be filled and the
final result is shown in Table below. From the table it can be seen that the occupancy i.e. the
number of vehicles on cell 1 and 2 increases and then decreases simulating the effect of lane
blockage in cell 3 on cell 1 and cell 2. The lane blockage lasts 2 minutes in this problem, after
that there is no congestion taken into account. So as the time passes by, the occupancy in cell
1 and cell 2 also gets reduced.
Q=25,N=75

t=1

20

Q=5,N=75

t=2

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

20

Q=25,N=75

20

20

18.7

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

Source(00)
Q
N
Time
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18

999
999
999
999
999
999
999
999
999
999
999
999
999
999
999
999
999
999

18. Cell Transmission Models

Gate(0) Cell 1 Cell 2 Cell 3 Cell 4


20
25
25
25
999
75
75
75
999
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20

20
20
20
20
30
45
40
35
30
25
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20

20
35
50
65
70
50
50
50
50
50
50
45
40
35
30
25
20
20

20
5
5
5
5
25
25
25
25
25
25
25
25
25
25
25
25
20

Q3
5
5
5
5
25
25
25
25
25
25
25
25
25
25
25
25
25
25

Table 18:2: Final entries simulating the traffic

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

18.8

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering


|1(j)| = 0

18. Cell Transmission Models


|(j)| = 1

Figure 18:4: Source Cell

18.3.2

Numerical example

Consider a 1.25 km homogeneous road with speed v = 50 kmph, jam density kj = 180 veh/km
and qmax = 3000 veh/hr. Initially traffic is flowing undisturbed at 80% of capacity: q = 2400
VPH. Then, a partial lane blockage lasting 2 min occurs l/3 of the distance from the end of
the road. The blockage effectively restricts flow to 20% of the maximum. Clearly, a queue is
going to build and dissipate behind the restriction. Predict the evolution of the traffic. Take
one clock tick as 6 seconds.
Solution This problem is same as the earlier problem, only change being the clock tick.
This problem has been solved in Excel. The simulation is done for this smaller clock tick; the
results are shown in Fig. 18:3 One can clearly observe the pattern in which the cells are getting
updated. After the decrease in capacity on last one-third segment queuing is slowly building up
and the backward wave can be appreciated through the first arrow. The second arrow shows
the dissipation of queue and one can see that queue builds up at a faster than it dissipates.
This simple illustration shows how CTM mimics the traffic conditions.

18.4

CTM: Network Traffic

18.4.1

General

As sequel to his first paper on CTM, Daganzo (1995) published first paper on CTM applied to
network traffic. In this section application of CTM to network traffic considering merging and
diverging is discussed. Some basic notations: (The notations used from here on, are adopted
from Ziliaskopoulos (2000)) 1 = Set of predecessor cells. = Set of successor cells.

18.4.2

Network topologies

The notations introduced in previous section are applied to different types of cells, as shown in
Figures 18:4, 18:5 & 18:6. Some valid and invalid representations in a network are shown in
Fig 18:10 & Fig 18:9.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

18.9

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering


clock tick
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34

1
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4

2
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
8
7
4
4
4
4
4

3
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
8
9
12
14
10
10
10
10
10
9

4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
6
7
10
13
14
14
14
10
4
4
4
4
4
4

18. Cell Transmission Models


5
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
5
8
11
14
14
14
14
14
14
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10

6
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
5
6
9
12
14
14
14
14
14
14
14
14
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10

7
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
6
7
10
13
14
14
14
14
14
14
14
14
14
14
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10

8
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
5
8
11
14
14
14
14
14
14
14
14
14
14
14
14
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10

9
4
4
4
5
6
9
12
14
14
14
14
14
14
14
14
14
14
14
14
14
14
14
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10

10 11
6 4
7 1
10 1
13 1
14 1
14 1
14 1
14 1
14 1
14 1
14 1
14 1
14 1
14 1
14 1
14 1
14 1
14 1
14 1
14 1
14 1
10 5
10 5
10 5
10 5
10 5
10 5
10 5
10 5
10 5
10 5
10 5
10 5
10 5

12 13 14 15
4 4 4 4
4 4 4 4
1 4 4 4
1 1 4 4
1 1 1 4
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
5 1 1 1
5 5 1 1
5 5 5 1
5 5 5 5
5 5 5 5
5 5 5 5
5 5 5 5
5 5 5 5
5 5 5 5
5 5 5 5
5 5 5 5
5 5 5 5

Table 18:3: Illustration of traffic simulation in CTM


Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay
18.10

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

18. Cell Transmission Models

|(j)| = 0

|1(j)|=1

Figure 18:5: Sink Cell

Cell j
|1(j)| = 1

|(j)| = 1

Figure 18:6: Ordinary Cell

Cell j

|1(j)| > 1

|(j)| = 1

Figure 18:7: Merging Cell

Cell j

|(j)| > 1

|1(j)| = 1

Figure 18:8: Diverging Cell

k
k

Figure 18:9: Invalid representations


Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

18.11

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

18. Cell Transmission Models

Figure 18:10: Valid representations


B_{k}
k
E_{k}

Figure 18:11: Ordinary Link

18.4.3

Ordinary link

Consider an ordinary link with a beginning cell and ending cell, which gives the flow between
two cells is simplified as explained below.
yk (t) = min(nBk (t), min[QBk (t), QEk (t)], Ek [NEk(t) nEk(t)])

(18.9)

where, = w/v. yk (t) is the inflow to cell Ek in the time interval (t,t + 1). Defining the
maximum flows that can be sent and received by the cell i in the interval between t to t + 1 as
SI (t) = min(QI, nI), and RI (t) = min(QI , I , [NI nI ]). Therefore, yk (t) can be written in a
more compact form as: yk (t) = min(SBk , REk ). This means that the flow on link k should be
the maximum that can be sent by its upstream cell unless prevented to do so by its end cell. If
blocked in this manner, the flow is the maximum allowed by the end cell. From equations one
can see that a simplification is done by splitting yk (t) in to SBk and REk terms. S represents
sending capacity and R represents receiving capacity. During time periods when SBk < REk
the flow on link k is dictated by upstream traffic conditions-as would be predicted from the
forward moving characteristics of the Hydrodynamic model. Conversely, when SBk > REk , flow
is dictated by downstream conditions and backward moving characteristics.

18.4.4

Merging and Diverging

Consider two cells merging, here we have a beginning cell and its complimentary merging into
ending cell, the constraints on the flow that can be sent and received are given by equation 18.10
and equation 18.10.
yk (t) SBk ; yck (t) SCk yk (t) + yck (t) REk
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

18.12

(18.10)
February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

18. Cell Transmission Models

Bk
k

Ek
ck
Ck

where, SI (t) = (QI , nI ), and RI (t) = (QI , I, [NI nI ]). A number of combinations of yk (t) +
yck (t) are possible satisfying the above said constraints. Similarly for diverging a number of
possible outflows to different links is possible satisfying corresponding constraints, hence this
calls for an optimization problem. Ziliaskopoulos (2000), has given this LP formulations for
both merging and diverging, this has been discussed later

18.5

CTM Software - NETCELL

NETCELL is a freeway network simulation program based on the cell transmission model
developed by Cay ford, Lin and Daganzo.
It consists of two components,
NETCELL
NETVIEW(a graphical post-processor)
This is a free software and can be downloaded from the link below http://www.ce.berkeley.edu/ daganzo/software and data.htm
NETCELL is a macroscopic simulation program in which vehicle quantities are treated as
continuous variables. Vehicles are advanced in a way consistent with the hydrodynamic
theory of traffic flow.

18.6

Conclusion

18.6.1

Summary

CTM is a discrete approximation of hydrodynamic model. System evolution is based on


difference equations.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

18.13

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

18. Cell Transmission Models

Unlike hydrodynamic model, it explains the phenomenon of Instability.


Lesser the time per clock tick lesser are the size of cells and more accurate results would
be obtained. But a compromise is needed between accuracy and computational effort.
Largest possible cell size which would sufficiently give the details needed must be chosen.
CTM has many applications in DTA, NDP, traffic operations, emergency evacuations etc.
There is a vast scope for improvement and applications of this model.

18.6.2

Advantages and applications

CTM is consistent with hydrodynamic theory, which is a widely used model for studying
macroscopic behavior of the traffic.
It is simple and sufficiently accurate for planning purposes.
CTM can be used to provide real time information to the drivers.
CTM has been used in developing a system optimal signal optimization formulation.
CTM based Dynamic Traffic Assignment have shown good results.
CTM has its application in Network Design Problems.(NDP)

18.6.3

Limitations

CTM is for a typical vehicle in network traffic, work is needed for the multi-modal
representation of traffic.
Cell length cannot be varied. For this the methods like Modified Cell Transmission Model
is to be used.
CTM is largely deterministic, stochastic variables are needed to be introduced to represent
the random human behavior.

18.7

References

1. C D Alexandru. A stochastic mesoscopic cell transmission model for operational analysis of large-scale transportation networks. A dissertation submitted to Louisiana State
University, 2006.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

18.14

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

18. Cell Transmission Models

2. C F Daganzo. The cell transmission model Part I: A simple dynamic representation


of highway traffic. Research Report UCB-ITS-PATH-RR-93-7, University of California,
Berkeley, 1993.
3. C F Daganzo. The cell transmission model: A dynamic representation of highway traffic
consistent with the hydrodynamic theory. Transportation Research B, 28(4):269-287,
1994.
4. C F Daganzo. The cell transmission model. Part II: Network Traffic. Transportation
Research B, 29(2):79-93, 1995.
5. A K Ziliaskopoulos. A Linear Programming Model for the Single Destination System
Optimum Dynamic Traffic Assignment Problem. Transportation Science, Vol.34,No. 1,
2000.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

18.15

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

19. Traffic Progression Models

Chapter 19
Traffic Progression Models
19.1

Introduction

A majority of the metro cities in India are facing the problem of traffic congestion, delays,
which have further resulted in pollution. The delays are caused mainly due to the isolated
functioning of the traffic signals at closely located intersections. For better regulation of traffic
flow at these intersections, the traffic signals need to be coordinated or linked. For the linking
of signals, the vehicle movement characteristics from upstream signal to downstream signal
need to be considered and simulated. Traffic Progression Models model the vehicle movement
characteristics and help in the linking of signals. First, the concept of platoon, platoon variables
is discussed and then platoon ratio is defined which is required for determination of arrival type.
Then, the phenomenon of platoon dispersion and platoon dispersion model is introduced for
understanding dispersion behavior of the vehicles. Finally, one of the platoon dispersion models
i.e., Robersons platoon dispersion model is discussed, which estimates the vehicle arrivals at
downstream locations based on an upstream departure profile.

19.2

Characterizing Platoon

A vehicle Platoon is defined as a group of vehicles travelling together. A vehicle Platoon is


shown in Fig. 19:1.

19.2.1

Variables describing platoon

The various vehicle platoon characteristics or variables include platoon size, platoon headway,
platoon speed and inter-arrival headway. Platoon behaviour and distribution patterns could be
identified with respect to these parameters. The various platoon characteristics are illustrated
in Fig. 19:2.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

19.1

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

19. Traffic Progression Models

Vehicle

Vehicle

Vehicle

Vehicle

Vehicle

Vehicle

Vehicle

Vehicle

Vehicle

Vehicle Vehicle Vehicle Vehicle Vehicle Vehicle

Figure 19:1: A vehicle Platoon


Stop Platoon
Line Detector

LP

Direction of traffic

IA

h1 h2

Figure 19:2: Illustration of Platoon Variables


Platoon Size (Np): It is the number of vehicles in a platoon.
Platoon Headway (hp): It is the average value of headways within a platoon.
Platoon Speed (Vp): It is the average speed of all the vehicles within a platoon.
Inter-Arrival (IA): It is the headway between the last vehicle of the preceding platoon
and the first vehicle of the following platoon.
Various values of platoon headway and inter-arrival between consecutive platoons can be used
to determine appropriate critical headway for platoon identification and detection. Once the
critical headway is determined, platoon size and platoon speed can be detected to calculate
the signal timing adjustment to accommodate the approaching vehicle platoon. It is of great
importance to select a proper value of the critical headway since a small change in the critical
headway will generate tremendous changes in the resultant platoon characteristics. Use of a
large critical headway will result in a large average platoon size and require a large detection
area in order to detect large vehicle platoons. Consequently, a large detection area leads to
an increase of detector installation and maintenance costs. On the other hand, use of a small
critical headway will result in a small average platoon size, but may not provide sufficient
vehicle platoon information. Therefore, it is desired to find an appropriate critical headway so
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

19.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

19. Traffic Progression Models

Table 19:1: Relationship between Arrival Type and Platoon Ratio


Arrival Range of platoon Default value(Rp ) Progression quality
type
ratio(Rp )
1
0.50
0.333
Very poor
2
> 0.50 0.85
0.667
Unfavorable
3
> 0.85 1.15
1.000
Random arrivals
4
> 1.15 1.50
1.333
Favorable
5
> 1.5 2.00
1.667
Highly favorable
6
>2
2.000
Exceptional

that sufficient platoon information can be obtained within a proper detection area. Research
has shown that headways are rarely less than 0.5 seconds or over 10 seconds at different traffic
volumes. Many investigations have been done on finding the effects of critical headways of
1.2, 1.5, 2.1 and 2.7 seconds on platoon behaviour and these investigations have shown that a
critical headway of 2.1 seconds corresponding to a traffic volume of 1500 vehicles per hour per
lane (vphpl) can be taken for data collection.

19.2.2

Platoon Ratio

The platoon ratio denoted as Rp, is a numerical value used to quantify the quality of progression
on an approach. The platoon ratio represents the ratio of the number of vehicles arriving during
the green phase to the proportion of the green interval of the total cycle. This is given by
Rp = P

C
g

(19.1)

where, P = Proportion of all vehicles during green time, C = Cycle length, g = Effective green
time. Its value ranges from 0.5 to 2.0. It is used in the calculation of delays, capacity of an
approach. The arrival types range from 1 (worst platoon condition) to 6 (the best platoon
condition). The platoon ratio approximates the arrival type and the progression quality. For
example HCM (2000) has suggested the following relationship between platoon ratio and arrival
which is as shown in Table 19:1.

19.3

Platoon Dispersion

As a platoon moves downstream from an upstream intersection, the vehicles disperse i.e., the
distance between the vehicles increase which may be due to the differences in the vehicle speeds,
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

19.3

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

19. Traffic Progression Models


4
0m

Direction of traffic flow

2
0m

0
2 18 34 50 66 82

200 m

300 m

200 m

0
2 18 34 50 66 82
4
300 m

2
0

2 18 34 50 66 82

Figure 19:3: A simple case of Platoon Dispersion


vehicle interactions (lane changing and merging) and other interferences (parking, pedestrians,
etc.,). This phenomenon is called as Platoon Dispersion.
Dispersion has been found to be a function of the travel time from a signal to a downstream
signal (or other downstream location) and the length of the platoon. The longer the travel
time between signals, the greater the dispersion. This is intuitively logical since the longer
the travel time, the more time (opportunity) there is for different drivers to deviate from the
average travel time. A simple case of Platoon Dispersion is as shown in Fig. 19:3. From the
figure, it can be observed that, initially the peak of the platoon is high and the length of the
platoon is comparatively small, but as the platoon progresses downstream, the peak of the
platoon decreases and the length increases.
Various traffic engineering software like TRANSYT (Traffic Network Study Tool) and
SCOOT (Split Cycle Offset Optimization Technique) have employed the phenomenon of Platoon Dispersion for the prediction of Arrival Types. A flow profile obtained from TRANSYT-7F
is as shown in the Fig. 19:4. From this figure also, it can be observed that, initially the peak
of the platoon is high and the length of the platoon is small, but as the platoon progresses
downstream, the peak of the platoon decreases and the length increases.

19.3.1

Platoon Dispersion Models

Platoon dispersion models simulate the dispersion of a traffic stream as it travels downstream
by estimating vehicle arrivals at downstream locations based on an upstream vehicle departure profile and a desired traffic-stream speed. There are two kinds of mathematical models
describing the dispersion of the platoon, namely:

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

19.4

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

19. Traffic Progression Models

1600
1400
Flowrate

1200
1000
800
600
400

2000
1000
500
100
50

200
0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
Time

Figure 19:4: A TRANSYT-7F Flow Profile


1. Normal Distribution Model - proposed by Pacey
2. Geometric Distribution Model - proposed by Robertson
One of the geometric distribution models is the Robertsons platoon dispersion model, which
has become a virtually universal standard platoon dispersion model and has been implemented
in various traffic simulation software. Research has already been conducted on the applicability
of platoon dispersion as a reliable traffic movement model in urban street networks. Most of
the research has shown that Robertsons model of platoon dispersion is reliable, accurate, and
robust.

19.3.2

Robertsons Platoon Dispersion Model

The basic Robertsons recursive platoon dispersion model takes the following mathematical
form
d
qtd = Fn qtT + (1 Fn ) qtn
(19.2)
where, qtd = arrival flow rate at the downstream signal at time t, qtT = departure flow rate at
the upstream signal at time t-T, T = minimum travel time on the link (measured in terms of
unit steps T =Ta ), Ta = average link travel time, n = modeling time step duration, Fn is the
smoothing factor given by:
1
(19.3)
Fn =
1 + n n Ta
n = platoon dispersion factor (unit less) n = travel time factor (unit less) Equation shows
that the arrival flows in each time period at each intersection are dependent on the departure
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

19.5

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering


All inflow
in vehicles

19. Traffic Progression Models


q1

q2

q1*F

q2*F

q3

t+i

t+2i

q#*F

q4

t+ki

Figure 19:5: Graphical Representation of Robertsons Platoon Dispersion Model


flows from other intersections. Note that the Robertsons platoon dispersion equation means
that the traffic flow qtd , which arrives during a given time step at the downstream end of a link,
is a weighted combination of the arrival pattern at the downstream end of the link during the
d
previous time step qtn
and the departure pattern from the upstream traffic signal T seconds
ago qtT .
Fig. 19:5 gives the graphical representation of the model. It clearly shows that predicated
flow rate at any time step is a linear combination of the original platoon flow rate in the
corresponding time step (with a lag time of t) and the flow rate of the predicted platoon in the
step immediately preceding it. Since the dispersion model gives the downstream flow at a given
time interval, the model needs to be applied recursively to predict the flow. Seddon developed
a numerical procedure for platoon dispersion. He rewrote Robertsons equation as,
qtd

Fn (1 Fn )iT qti+T

(19.4)

i=T

This equation demonstrates that the downstream traffic flow computed using the Robertsons
platoon dispersion model follows a shifted geometric series, which estimates the contribution of
an upstream flow in the (ti)th interval to the downstream flow in the tth interval. A successful
application of Robertsons platoon dispersion model relies on the appropriate calibration of the
model parameters. Research has shown that the travel-time factor (n ) is dependent on the
platoon dispersion factor (n ). Using the basic properties of the geometric distribution of
Equation 19:5, the following equations have been derived for calibrating the parameters of the
Robertson platoon dispersion model.
n =
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

1
1 + n

OR n =
19.6

1 n
n

(19.5)
February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

19. Traffic Progression Models

Equation 19.5 demonstrates that the value of the travel time factor () is dependent on the
value of the platoon dispersion factor () and thus a value of 0.8 as assumed by Robertson
results in inconsistencies in the formulation. Further, the model requires calibration of only
one of them and the other factors can be obtained subsequently.

2Ta + n n2 + 4 2
n =
(19.6)
2Ta
where, is the standard deviation of link travel times and Ta is the average travel time between
upstream and downstream intersections. Equation demonstrates that travel time factor can be
obtained knowing the average travel time, time step for modeling and standard deviation of
the travel time on the road stretch.

n2 + 4 2 n
(19.7)
Fn = n
2 2
Equation 19.7 further permits the calculation of the smoothing factor directly from the standard
deviation of the link travel time and time step of modeling. Thus, both n and Fn can be
mathematically determined as long as the average link travel time, time step for modeling and
its standard deviation are given.
Numerical Example 1
In a case study, the average travel time for a particular stretch was found out to be 22.8 seconds,
standard deviation is 5.951 and model time step duration is 10 sec. Find out the Robertsons
model parameters and also the flow at downstream at different time steps where the upstream
flows are as given as: q10 sec = 20, q20 sec = 10, q30 sec = 15, q40 sec = 18, q50 sec = 14, q60 sec = 12.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

19.7

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

19. Traffic Progression Models

Solution Given, The model time step duration n=10sec, average travel time (Ta )=22.8sec,
standard deviation ()=5.951. From equations above.

2Ta + n n2 + 4 2
n =
2Ta

2 22.8 + 10 102 + 4 5.9512


=
2 22.8
= 0.878
1 n
n =
n
1 0.878
=
0.878
= 0.139

n2 + 4 2 n
Fn = n
2
2
102 + 4 5.9512 10
= 10
2 5.9512
= 0.783

Upstream Flows: Since the modelling time step duration is given as n=10 sec, the given
upstream flows can be written as follows:
q10

sec

= q1

q20

sec

= q2

q30

sec

= q3

On similar lines , q4 , q5 , q6 can be written.


Downstream Flows: On the downstream, at 10 sec the flow will be zero since the modelling
step duration is 10 sec. Hence the downstream flows can be written as follows.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

d
q20

sec

= q1d

d
q30

sec

= q2d

d
q40

sec

= q3d

19.8

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

19. Traffic Progression Models

Similarly, downstream flows can be written till 80 sec. Note that since n=10 sec, T is taken in
units of n. The minimum travel time (T) is given as
T = Ta = 0.878 22.8 = 20 sec = 2

X
d
qt =
Fn (1 Fn )iT qti+T
i=T

q1d

= F (1 F )22 q12+2
= F q1
= 0.783 20 = 15.66 16 veh

q2d = F (1 F )22 q22+2 + F (1 F )32 q23+2


= F q2 + F (1 F )1 q1
= 0.783x10 + 0.783 (1 0.783)1 20
= 7.83 + 3.39 = 11.22 11 veh
q3d = F (1 F )22 q32+2 + F (1 F )32 q3+2 + F (1 F )42 q34+2
= F q3 + F (1 F )1 q2 + F (1 F )2 q1
= 0.783 15 + 0.783 (1 0.783)1 10 + 0.783 (1 0.783)2 20
= 11.75 + 1.69 + 0.737 = 14.18 14 veh
Calculating on similar lines, we get
q4d (50 sec) = 17 veh
q5d (60 sec) = 15 veh
q6d (70 sec) = 13 veh
q7d (80 sec) = 3 veh
The total upstream vehicles in 60 sec is 89. And total downstream vehicles in 80 sec is 89. That
is, all 89 vehicles coming from upstream in 6 intervals took 7 intervals to pass the downstream.
Numerical Example 2
In a case study, the average travel time from the upstream point to 1st downward point (point
in between upstream and downstream) was found out to be 22.8 seconds and from upstream
point to downward point (end point) was found out to be 32.8 seconds , standard deviation
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

19.9

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

19. Traffic Progression Models

is 5.951 and model time step duration is 10 sec. Find out the Robertsons model parameters
and also the flow at downstream at different time steps where the upstream flows are as given
below. q10 sec = 20, q20 sec = 10, q30 sec = 15, q40 sec = 18, q50 sec = 14, q60 sec = 12.
Solution This problem is similar to the earlier problem. Only there are 2 downstream points
given in this. For the first downstream point, upstream values of flow given in the problem
will be used, whereas for the 2nd downstream point, the flow from the 1st downstream point
is to be used. Hence at 1st downstream point, flow in the first interval is zero and at the 2n d
downstream value, flow is zero for first 2 intervals. The calculations have been done in excel
and the following shows the results.
Upstream Vol. for (in sec.)
10
20
30
40
50
60

No. of Vehicles
20
10
15
18
14
12
0
0
0
0
89

Smoothing Factor F
Lag Time(For In Between Point)
Lag Time(For End Point)

0.783
20 sec
30 sec

Four graphs are plotted below. The first graph shows the upstream profile, the second shows
the downstream profile at in between point, the third shows the downstream profile at the end
point. The last graph shows the comparison of all the three.

19.4

Conclusion

Initially, the concept of platoon and platoon variables was discussed. The platoon variables are
required for the determination of critical headway which further helps in platoon identification.
Then, the platoon ratio was defined which helps us in identifying the arrival type. Later,
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

19.10

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

19. Traffic Progression Models

Downstream Volume
At in between Point
(in seconds)
10
0
20
15.66
30
11.23
40
14.18
50
17.17
60
14.69
70
12.58
80
2.73
90
0.59
100
0.13
0.00
88.96

Downstream Volume
At End Point
(in seconds)
10
0.00
20
0.00
30
12.26
40
11.45
50
13.59
60
16.39
70
15.06
80
13.12
90
4.99
100
1.55
110
0.44
120
0.09
88.84

25
20

Upstream
traffic
Downstream
traffic in between
Downstream
traffic at end point

15
10
5
0

20

40

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

60

80 100

120 140

19.11

February 19, 2014

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19. Traffic Progression Models

platoon dispersion model was discussed which model the departure profile of the downstream
vehicles based on the upstream departure profile. Finally, Robertsons platoon dispersion model
is discussed with the help of numerical examples. The Robertsons platoon dispersion model
estimates the downstream volume at different time intervals which can be used for the linking
of the signals and optimization of signal timings.

19.5

References

1. Highway Capacity Manual. Transportation Research Board. National Research Council,


Washington, D.C., 2000.
2. Y Jiang, L Shou, and E Daniel. A Platoon-based Traffic Signal Timing Algorithm for
Major-Minor Intersection Types. Transportation Research Part B 40, 2006.
3. A Manar and K G Baass. Traffic Flow Theory and Traffic flow simulation models.
Transportation Research Record: 1566, 1996.
4. F Qiao, H Yang, and W Lam. Intelligent simulation and prediction of traffic flow dispersion. Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, 35(9), 2001.
5. H Rakha and M Farzaneh. Calibration of TRANSYT Traffic Dispersion Model: Issues
and Proposed Solutions. Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, 2004.
6. R H Showers. Investigation and Enhancement of models that describe the flow of traffic
on arterial streets. A Ph.D. Thesis submitted to the University of Florida,4,73,97, 2002.
7. W Wey. Model formulation and solution algorithm of traffic signal control in an urban
network. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, 24, 2000.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

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20. Discrete Simulation Models

Chapter 20
Discrete Simulation Models
20.1

Introduction

In the field of traffic flow modelling, microscopic simulation involves the detailed models that
describe the behaviour of individual vehicles so it is always a time consuming and a complex
process. So, approximately a decade ago new microscopic models have been developed and
they are based on Cellular Automata programming. The main advantage was an efficient and
fast performance when used in computer simulations, due to their rather low accuracy on a
microscopic scale. These so-called traffic cellular automata (TCA) are dynamical systems that
are discrete in nature, in the sense that time advances with discrete steps and space is coarsegrained (e.g., the road is discretised into cells of 7.5m wide, each cell being empty or containing
a vehicle).
A Cellular Automata is an n-dimensional array of simple cells where each cell may be in
any one of k-states. At each tick of the clock a cell will change its state based on the states of
the cells in a local neighborhood. Typically, the rule for updating the state does not change
over time, and is applied to the whole grid simultaneously. Due to its simplicity the CA rules
are used to solve the complex behaviour. Through the use of powerful computers, these models
can encapsulate the complexity of the real world traffic behavior and produces clear physical
patterns that are similar to those we see in everyday life. One more advantage of cellular
automata models is their efficiency in showing the clear transition from the moving traffic to
jamming traffic. CA models have the distinction of being able to capture micro-level dynamics
and relate these to macro level traffic flow behavior.

20.2

Cellular Automata

20.2.1

Components of Cellular Automata

There are four components, which play a major role in cellular automata.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

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Figure 20:1: Physical environment as different types of cells

i1

i+1

Figure 20:2: Neighbourhoods of the present cell i


The physical environment
The term physical environment indicates the physical platform on which CA is computed. It
normally consists of discrete lattice of cells with rectangular, hexagonal etc shown in Fig. 20:1.
All these cells are equal in size. They can be finite or infinite in size and its dimensionality can
be 1 (a linear string of cells called an elementary cellular automaton or ECA).
The cells states
Every cell can be in a particular state where typically an integer can determine the number of
distinct states a cell can be in, eg (binary state). Generally, the cell is assigned with an integer
value or a null value based upon its state. The states of cells collectively are called as Global
configuration. This convention clearly indicates that states are local and refer to cells, while
a configuration is global and refers to the whole lattice.
The cells neighbourhoods
The future state of a cell is mainly dependent on its state of its neighbourhood cell, so neighbourhood cell determines the evolution of the cell. So generally, the lattices vary as one-dimensional
and two-dimensional. In one dimensional lattice, the present cell and the two adjacent cells
forms its neighbourhoods ( shown in Fig. 20:2), whereas in the context of two dimensional
lattice there are four adjacent cells which acts as the neighbourhoods. Therefore, it is clear
that as the dimensionality increases the no of adjacent cells also increases.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

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A local transition rule


This rule (also called function) acts upon a cell and its direct neighbourhood, such that the
cells state changes from one discrete time step to another (i.e., the systems iterations). The
CA evolves in time and space as the rule is subsequently applied to all the cells in parallel.
Typically, the same rule is used for all the cells (if the converse is true, then the term hybrid
CA is used). When there are no stochastic components present in this rule, we call the model
a deterministic CA, as opposed to a stochastic (also called probabilistic) CA.

20.2.2

Road and physical environment

When the cellular automaton analogy is applied to vehicular road traffic flows, the physical
environment of the system represents the road on which the vehicles are been driving. In a
general single-lane setup for traffic cellular automata, this layout consists of a one-dimensional
lattice that is composed of individual cells (our description here mainly focuses on unidirectional, single-lane traffic). Every cell either can be empty, or occupied by exactly one vehicle.
We use the term single-cell models to describe these systems. Multi-cell models are those models, where the vehicle has a possibility to span several consecutive cells. Because vehicles move
from one cell to another, TCA models are also called particle-hopping models.
An example of the tempo-spatial dynamics of such a system is depicted in the below Fig.4,
where two consecutive vehicles i and j are driving on a one-dimensional lattice. Here we assume
T = 1 s and X = 7.5m, corresponding to speed increments of V =X/T =27 km/h. The spatial
discretisation corresponds to the average length a conventional vehicle occupies in a closely jam
packed (and as such, its width is neglected), whereas the temporal discretisation is based on a
typical drivers reaction time and we implicitly assume that a driver does not react to events
between two consecutive time steps.

20.2.3

Vehicle movements

In traffic stream, the movement of the individual vehicles is described by means of a rule
set that reflects the car-following and lane-changing behaviour of a traffic cellular automaton
evolving in time and space. The TCAs local transition rule actually comprises this set of rules.
These rules are applied to all the vehicles in parallel (where in that case it is called as parallel
update). Therefore, in a classic setup, the systems state is changed through synchronous
position updates of all the vehicles.
For each vehicle, the new speed is computed, after which its position is updated according
to this speed and a possible lane-change manoeuvre. Note that there are other ways to perform
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this update procedure, e.g., a random sequential update. It is assumed that a driver does not
react to events between consecutive time steps. For single-lane traffic, we assume that vehicles
act as anisotropic particles, i.e., they only respond to frontal stimuli. So typically, the carfollowing part of a rule set only considers the direct frontal neighbourhood of the vehicle to
which the rules are applied.
The radius of this neighbourhood should be taken large enough such that vehicles are able
to drive collision-free. In most cases, this radius is equal to the maximum speed a vehicle can
achieve, expressed in cells per time step. From a microscopic point of view, the process of a
vehicle following its predecessor is typically expressed using a stimulus-response relation. This
response is the speed or the acceleration of a vehicle in TCA models. A vehicles stimulus is
mainly composed of its speed and the distance to its leader, with the response directly being a
new (adjusted) speed of the vehicle.

20.2.4

Mathematical notations

CA model represents a discrete dynamic system, consisting of four ingredients namely, the
physical environment denoted as (), the set of possible states denoted as (), the associated
neighbourhood cells of ith cell represented as (Ni ) and the set of the possible future update
cells is denoted by the notation (). So the CA is the function of the four ingredients and is
formulated mathematically as CA = (, , N, ). The physical environment () is a discrete
lattice with the neighbourhood of radius 1 in normal case where as it changes with the user
based upon his usage of the different cells sizes. The set of possible states denoted as () takes
the values as ( 0,1) where 1 indicates the presence of vehicle in the cell or 0 for the empty
condition. So, for every time step t the ith cell of a lattice has a state i(t) which belongs to .
In normal case of one-dimensional, lattice the neighbourhood cells of i are Ni = i 1, i, i + 1,
where (i 1) is the left hand side cell and (i + 1) is the right hand side cell. The set of possible
future update cells is represented as i 1(t), i(t), i + 1(t) i(t + 1), where left hand side are
the present cell and the neighbourhood cells and the right hand side part is the state of the cell
i at time t + 1.
Converting between TCA and real world units seems straightforward, as we only need
to suitably multiply with or divide by the temporal and spatial discretisation T and X,
respectively. The conversions for the macroscopic traffic stream characteristics densities, flows,
and space-mean speeds, as well as the microscopic vehicle speed, are as follows:
k = k 1000/X

(20.1)

q = q 3600/T

(20.2)

v = v 3.6 X/T

(20.3)

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where k , v , q are the values of density, speed, flow in the units of CA, and k, q, v are the real
world values of density, flow and speed.
The length of our cell is 7.5 m and if our stretch of road is 1000m (i.e., 1 km ) then the
no of cells in CA turns out to be 1000/7.5 =133.333 cells. So, for a single cell model if the
density turns out to be one unit (i.e., one vehicle per cell) then in the real world its density
(Kj) is 1*1000/7.5 = 133vehicles/km as per the equation. 20.1. The speed increment of the
vehicles is the ratio of distance and time. In our case the distance is the length of one cell and
time interval is one unit (sec) so the speed in km/hr is 7.5*3600/1000 =27km/hr as per the
equation. 20.3.

20.2.5

Wolfram 184 rule

In this section, we shall discuss about the Wolfram rule 184, which is used to determine the
new state of the cell. In a single lane highway, rule 184 is used as a simple model for traffic
flow and it forms the basis for many cellular automaton models of traffic flow.
In this model, vehicles move in a single direction, stopping and starting depending on the
vehicles in front of them. The number of vehicles remains unchanged throughout the simulation.
Because of this application, Rule 184 is sometimes called the traffic rule. Rule 184 in a simpler
way can be understood as a system of particles moving both leftwards and rightwards through
a one-dimensional medium. The rule set for Rule 184 is described as; At each step, if a cell
with value 1 has a cell with value 0 immediately to its right, the 1 moves rightwards leaving a
0 behind. A 1 with another 1 to its right remains in place, while a 0 that does not have a 1 to
its left stays a 0. This description is most apt for the application to traffic flow modeling.
The truth table for rule 184 is shown in Table. 20:1. The operation of the rule is easily
summarized as: if the center cell is at state zero, shift the state of the left neighbor into the
center cell, else shift the state of the right neighbor into the center cell (equation. 20.4).

t
t

i1 : i = 0
t
it+1 =
(20.4)
i+1
: it = 1

The first three columns are the neighborhood and the rightmost column is the state of the
center cell that results from applying the transition function on the neighborhood.
The name for this rule, Rule 184, is the Wolfram code describing the state in the Fig. 20:3:
the bottom row of the figure, 10111000, when viewed as a binary number, is equal to the
decimal number 184. All 8 possible configurations for the local neighbourhood are sorted in
descending order, expressing the local transition rule (i, t) as explained by Fig. 20:3.
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Table 20:1: Operation of Wolfram rule 184


t
t
Si1
Sit Si+1
Sit+1
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
1
0
0
0
1
1
1
1
0
0
1
1
0
1
1
1
1
0
0
1
1
1
1
11 1

1 10

101

100

011

010

001

000

1 27 + 0 26 + 1 25 + 1 24 + 1 23 + 0 22 + 0 21 + 0 20
128 + 0 + 32 + 16 + 8 + 0 + 0 + 0 = 184

Figure 20:3: New state of each cell as a function of the previous state

20.2.6

Single cell models

Till now we have discussed the physical and mathematical aspects of cellular automata and TCA
models in particular, we shall now focus on single-cell models. As explained before each cell can
either be empty, or is occupied by exactly one vehicle all vehicles have the same length li =1
cell. Traffic is also considered homogeneous, so all vehicles characteristics are assumed the same.
In earlier section, 2.5 we had discussed the wolfram rule 184 which is actually a deterministic
model but in the realistic traffic scenario there is stochastic term coming into picture so Wolfram
rule proved to inefficient in explaining such cases and hence stochastic models are have been
emerged. In the subsequent sections, we look at such stochastic TCA models (accompanied
by their suggested abbreviations). In summary, Wolframs rule 184 (CA-184) falls under the
deterministic model and the stochastic models have emerged when Nagel with the help of
Schreckenberg proposed a TCA model which is the well known cellular automata in the traffic
perspective.
Models that allow for the spontaneous emergence of phantom jams are called stochastic
models. In 1992, Nagel and Schreckenberg proposed a TCA model that was able to reproduce
several characteristics of real-life traffic flows, e.g., the spontaneous emergence of traffic jams.
Their model is called the NaSch TCA, but is more commonly known as the Stochastic traffic
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cellular automaton (STCA).

20.2.7

Stochastic Cellular Automata (STCA)

We shall now discuss stochastic TCA models (i.e., these are probabilistic CAs) that allow for the
spontaneous emergence of phantom jams. All these models explicitly incorporate a stochastic
term in their equations, in order to accomplish this kind of real-life behaviour.
In 1992, Nagel and Schreckenberg proposed. A TCA model that was able to reproduce
several characteristics of real-life traffic flows, e.g., the spontaneous emergence of traffic jams.
Their model is called the NaSch TCA, but is more commonly known as the stochastic traffic
cellular automaton (STCA). It explicitly includes a stochastic noise term in one of its rules,
which we present in the same fashion as those of the previously discussed deterministic TCA
models. The space is divided into cells (cell may contain vehicle or can be empty). The length of
a cell is the minimum space headway available between vehicles in times of jam, and numerically
it is reciprocal of jam density and is set to 7.5 m( Kj=133veh/km).
The STCA then comprises the following three rules (note that in Nagel and Schreckenbergs
original formulation, they decoupled acceleration and braking, resulting in four rules). Here we
shall discuss about the NaSch model based upon its rules. There are four rules, mainly rules
for acceleration, rules of deceleration, rules for randomization and lastly the vehicle updation
step.
Step 1: Rule for acceleration
if (vn < vmax ), then vn min(vn + 1, vmax )

(20.5)

This step reflects the general tendency of the drivers to drive as fast as possible without crossing
the maximum speed limit. If the present speed is smaller than the desired maximum speed, the
vehicle is accelerated. The desired speed vmax can be assumed to be distributed by a statistical
distribution function where the values of vmax are only allowed to be 1, 2,..., 5 cell/t.
Step 2: Rule for deceleration
if (dn vn ), then vn min(vn , dn 1)

(20.6)

This step ensures that the driver doest collide with any vehicle ahead of him so that deceleration
is applied to those vehicles which may collide. If the present speed is larger than the gap in the
front, set v = gap. This rule avoids rear end collisions between vehicles. Note that here a very
unrealistic braking rule allowing for arbitrarily large decelerations is involved. This rule forces
minimum time headway of t s.
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velocity

Step 3: Rule for randomization


if (vn > 0), then vn max(vn 1, 0)

(20.7)

This step of randomization takes into account the different behavioral patterns of the individual
drivers, especially, overreaction while slowing down and nondeterministic acceleration where
overreaction while slowing down will be mostly responsible for the formation of traffic jams.
This rule introduces a random element into the model. This randomness models the uncertainties of driver behavior, such as acceleration noise, inability to hold a fixed distance to the
vehicle ahead. Fluctuations in maximal speed, and assign different acceleration values to different vehicles. If present velocity of a vehicle is greater than zero then the velocity of the vehicle
reduces by a single unit with a probability Pbrake. This rule has no theoretical background
and is introduced quite heuristically.
Step 4: Vehicle updation
xn xn + vn
(20.8)
After the above three steps the position of vehicles are updated according to their respective
velocities. Even changing the precise order of the steps of the update rules stated above would
change the properties of the model.
Numerical Example
Assume a single lane stretch road divided into 8 cells and vehicles are present in the first, third,
sixth, seventh cells with 2, 1, 1, 0 as their velocities respectively. Apply the rules of cellular
automata.
Solution Apply the CA rules (equation. 20.5 - 20.8) in a sequential way as per the requirements of acceleration, deceleration, randomization and vehicle updation. The rules are applied
step wise as shown below.
Solution Step 1: Acceleration stage (according to equation. 20.5)
if (vn < vmax ), then vn min(vn + 1, vmax )

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Here the velocity of the present vehicle is 2 where the maximum velocity is 5 so the vehicle gets
accelerated and acquires the new velocity based upon the min of the (present velocity (2) +1,
or the maximum velocity).
First vehicle: (2 < 5) so min(2 + 1, 5) = 3. Similarly applying the same rule for the rest
of the vehicles the velocities acquired are as follows.
Second vehicle: (1 < 5) so min(1 + 1, 5) = 2
Third vehicle: (1 < 5) so min(1 + 1, 5) = 2
Fourth vehicle: (0 < 5) so min(0 + 1, 5) = 1
Step 2: Deceleration stage ( according to equation. 20.6)
if (dn vn ), then vn min(vn , dn 1)
In this step the vehicle decelerates if it doest find enough gap ahead of it in its lane. The new
velocity of the first vehicle is 3 where as the gap ahead of it 2 so it needs to decelerate by an
amount of gap minus one i.e., (2-1)=1.
First vehicle : ( 2 3) , min ( 2-1, 3) = 1
Similarly applying it to remaining vehicles the updated velocities are obtained and are
shown below.
Second vehicle : (3 > 2), no deceleration.
Third vehicle : (1 < 2), (1 1, 2) =0
Fourth vehicle : (2 > 1), no deceleration.

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Step 3: Randomization stage ( according to equation. 20.7)


if (vn > 0), then vn max(vn 1, 0)
This step is generally a randomly applied rule for a particular number of vehicles in a set of
total n vehicles. This number depends upon the probability ratio p that the user defines. But
in our case as we are working with a limited number of vehicles so we cannot use the probability
function so for the simplicity of the rule we shall apply this rule ( additional deceleration) to all
the those vehicles which undergo deceleration stage. So in our case the first vehicle undergoes
randomization stage and acquires a new velocity of 0.
First vehicle : (1 > 0), max(1 1, 0) = 0
Step 4: Vehicle updation: ( according to equation. 20.8)
xn xn + vn
The velocity of the first vehicle after undergoing the three rules has been reduced from two to
zero, so the position of the vehicle is not changed in the next time step.
First vehicle : Xn = 1 + 0 = 1
Similarly applying the rule to the rest of the vehicles in the same way will obtained the
following results as below.
Second vehicle :Xn = 3 + 2 = 5
Third vehicle : Xn = 6 + 0 = 6
Fourth vehicle :Xn = 7 + 1 = 8
The figure below gives the reader a clear overview if all the four stages at a glance.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

20.10

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Transportation Systems Engineering


Actual
position

Acceleration
stage

Deceleration
stage

20. Discrete Simulation Models


1

Randomization

Vehicle
updation

20.2.8

Limitations

Every model has some limitations and as such this cellular automata for single lane traffic
has also some limitations which are stated below.
A single lane model doesnt suit the realistic traffic where it has vehicle types of different
velocities. So here in single lane model if such vehicles are entertained the result is the
platooning effect and the average velocity of the stream becomes the velocity of slow
moving velocity.
So, two lane models are introduced to meet the requirement and four more additional
rules are included for the exchange of vehicles between the lanes.

20.3

Lane changing

The concept of lane changing came into picture with the disadvantage of the single lane model of
unexplained realistic traffic conditions. The reason behind this disadvantage is that a realistic
traffic is usually composed of vehicle types of different desired velocities.
The presence of such vehicles will result in platooning effect. The generic two lane model is
the combination of two parallel single lane models with periodic boundary conditions with some
additional rules as stated in the below sections. The update step is split into two sub-steps. In
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first sub-step the exchange of vehicles in the two lanes, take place according to the new rule
set. Vehicles are moved only sideways. They do not advance in one go. However, in reality
this does not happen and this is step is also not seen. This step has a meaning when it is
coordinated with the second step. In the second step, the independent single-lane updates on
both lanes according to the single lane update rules.

20.3.1

STCA models of two lane traffic:

Nagatani has formulated an oversimplified model for two-lane traffic. There are some assumptions in this model, one of which is that the maximum allowable speed of each vehicle is
identical. Therefore, the model turns out to be a homogeneous type model and hence cannot
explain heterogeneous traffic consisting of different types of vehicles. Some of the notations,
which will be used to indicate the gaps in the lanes, are
Xpf (n) = gaps in front of nth vehicle in its present lane.
Xof (n) = gaps in front of nth vehicle in other lane.
Xob (n) =gap in the other lane behind the site.
All lane-changing rules consist of two parts: Trigger criterion (Do I want to change the lane)
and Safety criterion (Is it safe if I change the lane). Once if both the criteria are fulfilled,
the vehicle will change the lane.
In a two lane model proposed by Rickert, a vehicle changes its lane with a probability p,
provided there is not enough gap in the current lane in front of the vehicle, if the gap in the
front of the vehicle in the target lane is adequate, if it is possible without collision and finally
when the lane changing activity doesnt block someone elses way. The above sentences are
formulated in form of rules from equations. 20.9 to 20.11
The vehicle does not find enough gap in its current lane ahead of it.
Xpf (n) < V (n) + 1

(20.9)

The gap in the target lane ahead of it is adequate.


Xof (n) > V (n) + 1

(20.10)

No collision takes place (i.e.,The cell where the vehicle is intending to change should be
empty)
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

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20. Discrete Simulation Models


1

Figure 20:4: CA Example


2

Figure 20:5: CA Example


It should not block some others way.
Xob (n) > Vmax

(20.11)

Rules 9 and 10 are called the trigger criterion and the rule 11 is called the safety criterion.
These rules are applicable for both left to right and right to left lane changes and it changes
the lane with probability.
Numerical Example
Assume a two-lane road divided into nine cells in each of its lane. In first lane vehicles are
present in first (1), third (1), fourth (2), eight (1) cells and in second lane vehicles are present
in fifth (1) and sixth (1) cells. The numbers in the brackets indicate the present velocities of
the respective velocities. Apply the lane changing rules and determine which vehicles fulfilled
the lane changing requirements.
Solution Initially the solution starts with the acceleration stage of the vehicles, where the
vehicles are applied with the acceleration rule (equation. 20.5). In the acceleration stage, a
single unit increase in every vehicle, which possesses a velocity less than the maximum velocity.
So stage of the vehicles after the acceleration are shown in the Fig. 20:5. Lane changing is
required for L1 (1), L1 (2), L2 (1) where L1 (1) indicates number in the subscript as its lane
number and the superscript as it vehicle number in respective lanes.
Rule 1: Xpp (n) < V (n) + 1 The first vehicle has a velocity two and the gap ahead of it in
its current lane is 2 so according to the rule (velocity +1 > gap). Therefore, the vehicle satisfied
the rule so that it can change the lane. L1 (1) = (2 < 2 + 1) . . . satisfied. Similarly checking
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for all the other vehicles. L1 (2) = (1 < 2 + 1) . . . satisfied, L2 (1) = (1 < 2 + 1) . . . satisfied.
The term gap is generally referred in two different ways, where it is explained as the distance
between bumper to bumper of the vehicles. The other way to state, the term gap is the number
of empty cells in front of a vehicle. Here in the present discussion it is taken as the earlier one
but anyways it depends on the reader of choosing it where a slight modification (i.e., addition
of 1on the other side of the equations).
Rule 2 : (Xof (n) > V (n) + 1 ) (as per the rule 10) The velocity of the first vehicle is
two and the gap in the target lane ahead of it is four so the rule ( gap ( target lane ) > velocity
+ one ) is satisfied for the first vehicle. L1 (1) = (4 > 2 + 1) . . . satisfied. Similarly checking
for other vehicles also will obtain the following results. L1 (2) = (2 6> 2 + 1) . . . rejected, and
L2 (1) = (34 6> 2 + 1) . . . rejected.
Rule 3: No collision of vehicles is observed as per the pattern given.
Rule 4: (Xob (n) > Vmax ) (as per the rule 11)
The maximum velocity of any vehicle is given as four and the gap behind the first vehicle
in the target lane is five which is greater than the maximum velocity so the vehicle satisfied
the rule and subjected to lane change. L1 (1) = (5 > 4). Therefore the first vehicle in the first
lane satisfied all the four rules.

20.3.2

Limitations

In real world traffic the vehicles dont have unique velocities but it was an assumption in the
model. So the vehicles are further divided into two types of different Vmax , namely Vf max , Vsmax ,
corresponding to fast vehicles and a slow vehicles. Introduction of symmetric two lane model
for inhomogeneous traffic.

20.4

Extensions

20.4.1

Types of updates

There are two types


Sequential update :
This updating procedure considers each cell in the lattice one at a
time. If all cells are considered consecutively, two updating directions are possible, left-to-right
and right-to-left. There is also a third possibility, called random sequential update. Under this
scheme and with N particles in the lattice, each time step is divided in N smaller sub steps.

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v
3

t
Figure 20:6: Without randomization
v
3

Figure 20:7: With randomization


At each of these sub steps, a random cell (or vehicle) is chosen and the CA rules are applied
to it.
Parallel update: This type of update is the classic update procedure generally used in all
the models. For a parallel update, all cells in the system are updated in one and the same time
step. Compared to a sequential updating procedure, this one is computationally more efficient
(note that it is equivalent to a left-to-right sequential update).

20.4.2

Effect of Randomization

The Fig. 20:6 shows the updation without randomization and the Fig. 20:7 is with randomization where an extra deceleration is observed in second vehicle and then updation.

20.4.3

Totally asymmetric simple exclusion principle

The simple exclusion process is a simplified well-known particle transport model from nonequilibrium statistical mechanics, defined on a one-dimensional lattice. In the case of open
boundary conditions (i.e., the bottleneck scenario), particles enter the system from the left side
at an entry rate , move through the lattice, and leave it at an exit rate . The term simple
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

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20. Discrete Simulation Models


v

Global spacemean speed [cells/time step]

Figure 20:8: Total asymmetric exclusion process

CA184 (vMax = 1)
STCA (vMax = 1, p = 0.1)
TASEP (vMax = 5)
TASEP (vMax = 1)

1
0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2
0
0

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

Global density [vehicles/cell]

Figure 20:9: Speed-density relation


exclusion refers to the fact that a cell in the lattice can only be empty, or occupied by one
particle.
When moving through the lattice, particles move one cell to the left with probability, and
one cell to the right with probability . When = , the process is called the symmetric simple
exclusion process (SSEP); if = then it is called the asymmetric simple exclusion process
(ASEP). Finally, if we set = 0 and = 1, the system is called the totally asymmetric simple
exclusion process (TASEP). If we consider the TASEP as a TCA model, then all vehicles move
with Vmax = 1 cell/time step to their direct right-neighbouring cell, on the condition that this
cell is empty. The process is shown in the below Fig. 20:8.

20.4.4

Comparisons

The above Fig. 20:9 gives a differentiation between four types of models and interestingly it is
observed that the TASEP with Vmax = 1 has a trend of the Greenshield model and following a
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

20.16

February 19, 2014

Global flow [vehicles/time step]

Transportation Systems Engineering

20. Discrete Simulation Models

0.5

CA184 (vMax = 1)
STCA (vMax =1, p = 0.1)
TASEP (vMax =5)
TASEP (vMax = 1)

0.45
0.4
0.35
0.3
0.25
0.2
0.15
0.1
0.05
0
0

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

Global density [vehicles/cell]

Figure 20:10: Flow density relation


linearity in the speed-density relation. The same trend is also observed in the below Fig. 20:10
flow density curve.

20.5

References

1. Sven Maerivoet and Bart De Moor. Cellular automata models of road traffic, 2005.
2. K Nagel and M Schreckenberg. A cellular automaton model for freeway traffic. France,
1992.
3. M Rickert, K Nagel, M Schreckenberg, and A Latour. Two lane traffic simulations using
cellular automata. 1996.
4. Debashish Chowdhury Ludger Santen and Andreas Schadschneider. Statistical physics
of vehicular traffic and some related systems, 2000.
5. Andreas Schadschneider. Statistical physics of traffic flow, 2000.
6. Christopher Stone and Larry Bull. Solving the Density Classification Task Using Cellular
Automaton 184 with Memory. Complex Systems Publications,Inc., 2009.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

20.17

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

21. Capacity and Level of Service LOS

Chapter 21
Capacity and Level of Service LOS
21.1

Introduction

Often it is required to ascertain how much a transport facility can accommodate. Such information is useful in the design of traffic facility. Capacity analysis helps in answering the
question. It is a quantitative assessment of the ability of a traffic facility to handle vehicles or
people for which it is designed.
A related question is, what is the performance level of the system at various operating
conditions. Or in other words, how good is the operation of the traffic facility. Level of Service
analysis tries to answer this question which is essentially a qualitative analysis. Capacities and
Level of Services are therefore closely related analysis of a traffic facility.

21.2

Concepts

21.2.1

Capacity

Capacity of a transport facility is defined as the maximum number of vehicles, passengers, or


the like, per unit time which can be accommodated under given conditions with a reasonable
expectation of occurrence. The Highway Capacity Manual(2010) defines the capacity as the
maximum howdy rate at which persons or vehicles can be reasonably expected to traverse a
point or a uniform segment of a lane or roadway during a given time period, under prevailing
roadway, traffic and control conditions. Several observations can be made from the above definition. Although capacity is the maximum howdy rate, in many situations the break 15 minute
flow rate is expressed as the capacity. The above definition also contains the term reasonably
expected to account for the variation in traffic and driving habit at various location. However,
it can be termed as a probabilistic measure. Further, analytical derivations are possible for
getting the maximum flow rate, seldom it is achieved in the field. However, capacity measures

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

21.1

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

21. Capacity and Level of Service LOS

are often empirically derived. Capacity is usually defined for a point or a uniform segment
where operating conditions do not vary.
The capacity measure depends on these operating conditions. The first is the traffic conditions and the factors that influence the capacity includes vehicle composition, turning, movements, etc. The second factor is the roadway conditions and it includes geometrical characteristics such as lane width, shoulder width, horizontal alignment, vertical alignment. The third
factor is the control conditions such as the traffic signal timings, round-about characteristics.
It is also to be noted that the above capacity definition holds good for a point or at a section
of the road having uniform control conditions. Another aspect of the above capacity definition
is the expression that the maximum flow rate which accounts for the worst 15 minutes traffic
within the peak hour traffic. Lastly the term reasonable expectancy indicates that the capacity measure is probabilistic and not an analytically derived deterministic value. The capacity
measure is probabilistic, for it accounts for the unexplainable variation in traffic and diverse
driving characteristics.

21.2.2

Level of service

Level-of-Service(LOS) of a traffic facility is a concept introduced to relate the quality of traffic


service to a given flow rate. Level-of-Service is introduced by HCM to denote the level of quality
one can derive from a local under different operation characteristics and traffic volume. HCM
proposes LOS as a letter that designate a range of operating conditions on a particular type of
facility. Six LOS letters are defined by HCM, namely A, B, C, D, E, and F, where A denote
the best quality of service and F denote the worst. These definitions are based on Measures of
Effectiveness(MoE) of that facility. Typical measure of effectiveness include speed, travel-time,
density, delay etc. There will be an associated service volume for each of the LOS levels. A
service volume or service flow rate is the maximum number of vehicles, passengers, or the like,
which can be accommodated by a given facility or system under given conditions at a given
LOS.

21.2.3

Type of Facilities

HCM has developed the capacities standard and LOS measure for various facilities. Each traffic
facility has its own unit for the capacity and measure of effectiveness for each item will also vary.
The traffic facilities can be divided into three, namely: the uninterrupted facilities, interrupted
facilities, and others. Interrupted facilities include freeway (basic freeway, weaving sections,
and ramps), multi-lane highways (unidirectional), two-lane highways(bidirectional). Freeways
normally have density as the measure of effectiveness, while multi-lane and two-lane highways
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

21.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

21. Capacity and Level of Service LOS

have delay/speed as the MoE. Interrupted facilities include un-signalized intersection, signalized
intersection, and arterials or corridors. They have respectively control delay, total delay and
average travel speed as the measure of effectiveness. Other facilities may include pedestrian
pathways, bicycle tracks, bus-transit system, rail-transit system and air-transportation system.
Each of them have facility specific measure of effectiveness.

21.3

Illustrations

For a typical freeway mid block section the capacity and LOS can be defined for an ideal section.
An ideal section has uninterrupted flow from both sides and has only passenger cars and the
drivers are regular travelers who are familiar with the facility. The lane width is 3.65m wide
with proper shoulder and 1.8m lateral clearance is available from the edge of the pavement.
The free flow speed of 115kmph is achievable on the multi-lane and 100kmph on the two-lane
highway.

21.3.1

Capacity

Such a facility is considered as an ideal facility and for such facilities the following values can
be taken as capacity.
1. A capacity of 2000 vehicle per hour per lane for a speed of 115kmph
2. A capacity of 1900 vehicles per hour per lane for a speed of 80kmph
3. A capacity of 2800 vehicle per hour for both direction at 100kmph
Note that the above values are not analytical or experimentally derived, but, statistically derived from the observed field values from large number of such sections. Needly to say that it
is possible to have a flow higher than this capacity measure, but not necessary.

21.3.2

Level of service

The above capacity value drop due to various non-ideal condition which includes changes in
speed or travel time, traffic interruptions or restriction etc. Accordingly HCM has defined
various levels of services for the traffic facility. Assigning quality value is based on several user
surveys capturing the perception of drivers on the quality of the traffic under various operating
condition. The Fig. 21:1 illustrate the quality of services or Level-of-Services (A to F) and the
various operating conditions. The same can be shown in the form of a table ??.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

21.3

February 19, 2014

Operating Speed

Transportation Systems Engineering

21. Capacity and Level of Service LOS

A
B
C
D
E
F

V/C Ratio

1.0

Figure 21:1: The LOS of a Mid Block Section

Table 21:1: The LOS of a Mid Block Section


LOS
Quality
Speed V/C
Description
(kmph)
A
Free-flow
80
0.6
High level of physical
and psychological comfort
B
Reasonable
70
0.7
Reasonable level of
free-flow
physical and psychological comfort
C
Near
60
0.8
Local deterioration
free-flow
possible with blockages
D
Medium
50
0.85
Non-recoverable
flow
local disruptions
E
At capacity
40
0.9
Minor disturbances
flow
resulting breakdown
F
Congested
15
1.0
Break down of flow
flow
capacity drops

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

21.4

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

21.4

21. Capacity and Level of Service LOS

Conclusion

In this lecture the concepts of capacity and LOS is presented. Capacity is a quantitative
measure, whereas LOS is a qualitative measure. Capacity defined for various traffic facilities
considering the traffic, geometric and control condition and obtained from field observation.
LOS on the other side is assigning quality levels of traffic based on performance measure like
speed, density, etc. Together, the concepts gave planner a valuable tool in designing and
evaluating various traffic facilities.

21.5

References

1. James H Banks. Introduction to transportation engineering. Tata Mc-Graw Hill, 2004.


2. W R McShane and P R Roger. Traffic Engineering. Prentice Hall Publication, 1990.
3. C. S Papacostas.
Delhi, 1987.

Fundamentals of Transportation Engineering.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

21.5

Prentice-Hall, New

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

22. Urban Streets

Chapter 22
Urban Streets
22.1

Introduction

Cities and traffic have developed hand-in-hand since the earliest large human settlements and
forcing inhabitants to congregate in large urban areas and in turn enforcing need of urban
transportation. To develop efficient street transportation, to serve effectively various land use
in an urban area, and ensure community development, it is desirable to establish a network of
streets divided into systems, each system serving a particular function or particular purpose.
Accordingly, a community should develop an ultimate street-classification in which each system
has a specific transportation service function to perform. There are several operational performance measures and level of services (LOS) which have to be taken into account to evaluate
the system of streets. Increasing population of urban areas due to shifting of people from rural
to urban areas and thus certainly increasing vehicular population on urban streets, have caused
problems of congestion in urban areas. Road traffic congestion poses a challenge for all large
and growing urban areas. This document provides a summary of urban street with respect
to their classification, related operational performance measures and level of services (LOS)
involved in each class of urban street and it also provides strategies necessary for any effective
congestion management policy to curb the congestion.

22.2

Classification of urban streets

There are three ways of classifying urban streets


Functional based
Design based
Combination of functional and design based
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

22.1

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

22. Urban Streets

Arterials

Mobility

Collectors

Land access

Locals

Figure 22:1: Relationship of functionally classified systems in service traffic mobility and land
access

22.2.1

Function based

Functional classification is the process by which streets and highways are grouped into classes,
or systems, according to the character of service they are intended to provide. Basic to this
process is the recognition that individual roads and streets do not serve travel independently in
any major way. Rather, most travel involves movement through a network of roads. It becomes
necessary then to determine how this travel can be channelized within the network in a logical
and efficient manner. Functional classification defines the nature of this channelization process
by defining the part that any particular road or street should play in serving the flow of trips
through a highway network. The four functional systems for urbanized areas are:
1. Principal Arterial streets
2. Minor Arterial streets
3. Collector street
4. Local roads
General idea of various streets as per their mobility and land use is shown in the Fig. 22:1.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

22.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

22. Urban Streets

Principal arterial system


Arterial streets are basically meant to carry longer and through traffic. Function of arterial
is to provide access to commercial and residential land uses. A downtown street not only
carries through traffic but also turning traffics and it resembles arterials. As shown in Fig. ??
mobility of principal arterials is high but land access is very low. Major arterial serves as
principal network for through traffic flow. This should be connected with principal traffic
generations, important rural highways entering the city. It should be well coordinated with
existing and proposed expressway system for good distribution and circulation of through traffic
and continuity of routes should be maintained. In every urban environment there exists a
system of streets and highways which can be identified as unusually significant to the area
in which it lies in terms of the nature and composition of travel it serves. In smaller urban
areas (population under 50,000) these facilities may be very limited in number and extent and
their importance may be primarily derived from the service provided to travel passing through
the area. In larger urban areas their importance also derives from service to rural oriented
traffic, but equally or even more important, from service for major movements within these
urbanized areas. The principal arterial system should carry the major portion of trips entering
and leaving the urban area, as well as the majority of through movements desiring to bypass
the central city. In addition, significant intra-area travels, such as between central business
districts and outlying residential areas between major inner city communities or between major
suburban centers should be served by this system. Frequently the principal arterial system will
carry important intra urban as well as intercity bus routes. Finally, this system in small urban
and urbanized areas should provide continuity for all rural arterials which intercept the urban
boundary.
Minor arterials
The minor arterial street system should interconnect with and augment the urban principal
arterial system and provide service to trips of moderate length at a somewhat lower level of
travel mobility than principal arterials. This system also distributes travel to geographic areas
smaller than those identified with the higher system. The minor arterial street system includes
all arterials not classified as a principal and contains facilities that place more emphasis on
land access than the higher system, and offer a lower level of traffic mobility. Such facilities
may carry local bus routes and provide intra-community continuity, but ideally should not
penetrate identifiable neighborhoods. This system should include urban connections to rural
collector roads where such connections have not been classified as urban principal arterials.
The spacing of minor arterial streets may vary from half to one km in the central business
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

22.3

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

22. Urban Streets

City
Town
Village
Arterials
Collector
Streets
Local
Streets

Figure 22:2: Schematic illustration of functional classification of rural highway network

Legend
Collector street

Arterial street
Commercial

Public

Figure 22:3: Schematic illustration of a portion of urban street network


district to 4 to 5 km in the suburban fringes, but should normally be not more than 2 km in
fully developed areas.
Collector streets
This system of streets includes all distributer and collector streets. Function of this system
is serving between major arterials and local streets to connect adjacent neighborhood areas
placed approximately at half miles intervals to accommodate local through traffic movements
and interconnect local streets with the major arterial street system. Unlike arterials their
operation is not always dominated by traffic signals.
Local Street
Local streets are primarily meant for direct access to residential commercial, industrial or other
abutting property. All through traffics should be discouraged on local streets. Land access is
very high but mobility is very low for local streets.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

22.4

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

22.2.2

22. Urban Streets

Design based Classification

This classification basically depends upon speed limits, signal density, driveways / access point
density etc.
1. High speed
2. Suburban
3. Intermediate
4. Urban
High speed streets
These are the streets with very low driveway or access point density. These are provided with
separate right turn lanes and; no parking is permitted on street. Streets may be multilane
divided or undivided or two lane facility with shoulders. Signals are infrequent and spaced at
long distances. Road side development is very low. A speed limit on these roads is 75 to 90
kmph.
Sub-urban streets
They represent streets with a low driveway/access-point density,separate or continuous right
turn lane and some portions where parking is permitted. These roads possess comparatively
higher density of roadside development than that on high speed streets. It has about three
signals per Km. and speed limit on these roads is 65 to 75 kmph.
Intermediate design streets
They represent urban streets with moderate driveway/access point density. Like sub-urban
streets they also have some separate or continuous right turn lane and some portions where
parking is permitted. These roads possess comparatively higher roadside development than
that on sub-urban streets. It has about two to six signals per Km. and speed limit on these
roads is 50 to 60 Kmph.
Urban streets
They represent urban streets with high driveway/access point density. These are usually provided with road side parking. It has highest road side development density among all above
stated four classes. Signal density is about four to eight per Km. Speed limit is 40 to 55 Kmph.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

22.5

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

22. Urban Streets

Table 22:1: Combined classification of urban streets


Design category
Functional category
Principal arterial Minor arterial
High speed
I
NA
Suburban
II
II
Intermediate
II
III or IV
Urban
III or IV
IV

Table 22:2: Specifications of street classes


Urban Street Class Signal density
Free flow
(signals/km) speed(kmph)
I
0.2
80
II
2
65
III
4
55
IV
6
45

22.2.3

Combination of functional and design based

This type of classification considers for combination of functional and design classes divided
into four classes viz. I, II, III, IV which reflects a unique combination for of street function and
Design, as shown in table 1 and related signal densities are shown in table 2.

22.3

Operational performance measures

Engineer has to quantify how well the system or facility is working. The facilities will usually
assembled by specific qualitative and quantitative index of flow characteristics termed as Level
of Service (LOS), in this regard engineer has to do following works.
1. Assessing the existing condition
2. Evaluating alternative improvements
3. Quantifying associated cost and benefits
4. Communicating results to both technical and non technical people

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

22.6

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

22. Urban Streets

As far as operational performance of urban streets is considered we are interested in determining


arterial level of service which is discussed in succeeding section.

22.3.1

Arterial LOS

Urban streets LOS is mainly based on average travel speed for the segment or for the entire
street under consideration. The average travel speed is computed from the running times
on the urban street and the control delay of through movements at signalized intersections.
The control delay is the portion of the total delay for a vehicle approaching and entering a
signalized intersection. Control delay includes the delays of initial deceleration, move-up time
in the queue, stops, and re-acceleration, these delays are also known as intersection approach
delays.
The LOS for urban streets is influenced both by the number of signals per kilometer and
by the intersection control delay. Inappropriate signal timing, poor progression, and increasing
traffic flow can degrade the LOS substantially. Streets with medium-to-high signal densities
(i.e., more than one signal per kilometer) are more susceptible to these factors, and poor LOS
might be observed even before significant problems occur. On the other hand, longer urban
street segments comprising heavily loaded intersections can provide reasonably good LOS,
although an individual signalized intersection might be operating at a lower level. The term
through vehicle refers to all vehicles passing directly through a street segment and not turning.
Considering all the above aspects, HCM provides a seven step methodology to determine the
level of service of an arterial which will be discussed in following section.

22.3.2

HCM Method of performance measurement

HCM method of arterial performance measurement involves seven steps which aim to compute
average travel speed of arterial to measure the Level of Service. These seven steps are as
follows,
1. Establish arterial to be considered
2. Determine arterial class by free flow speed
3. Define arterial section
4. Compute running time
5. Compute intersection approach delay
6. Compute average travel speed
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

22.7

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

22. Urban Streets

Table 22:3: Range and typical values of FFS for different arterial classes
Free flow
Arterial Class
speed (kmph)
I
II
III
IV
Speed range 90 to 70 70 to 55 55 to 50 55 to 40
Typical value
80
65
55
45

7. Estimate the LOS.


The above flow chart shows the steps to determine LOS in a schematic form. Further in this
section we are going to discuss these seven steps in detail.

22.3.3

Step 1: Establish arterial to be considered

Establishing the arterial is the very first step in the process of determining the LOS. In this
step, an engineer has to define arterial segment or entire arterial whose LOS is to be determined.
Arterial may be established by arterial class, its flow characteristics and signal density. Arterial
class may be defined as per its free flow speed as explained in step 2 as follows.

22.3.4

Step 2: Determine arterial class by free flow speed

Free flow speed is the speed on the arterial which most of the drivers choose if they had green
indication and they are alone in the direction of movement are not the part of platoon) but
have to be conscious about all other prevailing conditions. (e.g. Block spacing, contiguous
land use, right of way, characteristic, pedestrian activity, parking, etc.) Free flow speed should
be measured at just the time when the entire factors are present except for the prevailing
traffic levels and red indication. An arterial can be classified on the basis of its free flow speed
as explained under the section design based classification and combined classification . The
following table 3 can be used to determine the arterial class.

22.3.5

Step 3: Define arterial section

After determining the arterial class it is required to be more specific about the particular section
of an arterial for which LOS is to be determined. The arterial section may be mid block or
intersection. Generally signalized intersection is taken into account to determine intersection
approach delays which are further required to determine level of service.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

22.8

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

22.3.6

22. Urban Streets

Step 4: Arterial running time

There are two principal components for the total time that a vehicle spends on a segment of an
urban street. These are running time and control delay at signalized intersections. To compute
the running time for a segment, the analyst must know the streets classification, its segment
length, and its free flow speed. Arterial running time can be obtained by Travel time studies,
information of running times from local data and intersection delays etc.

22.3.7

Step 5: Intersection Approach Delay

Intersection approach delay is the correct delay which is to be used in arterial evaluation. It
gives consideration not only for absolute stopped delay but also for the delay in retarding the
vehicle approaching at signal for stopping and re-accelerating on starting of green. It is longer
than the stopped delay. This can be related to intersection stopped delay and is computed by,
D = 1.3 d

(22.1)

where, D = intersection approach delay (sec/veh), and d = intersection stopped delay (sec/veh).
Delay at intersection approach is of special interest because it is a Measure of Effectiveness
(MOE) used to quantify LOS. To determine intersection approach (or control) delay it is necessary to calculate stopped delay which is discussed below.
Stopped Delays
Stopped vehicles on intersection are counted for intervals of 10 to 20 seconds. It is assumed
that vehicles counted as stopped during one of these intervals will be stopped for the length
of the interval. Measuring the stopped delays involves following steps.
1. Maximum extent of queue length on intersection approach during the study period must
be observed in advance (observer must be able to count all stopped vehicles in the longest
possible queue).
2. Count intervals are set at 10, 15, or 20 seconds stopped vehicles within the queuing area
observed and recorded at each interval.
3. Discharge volumes are separately counted for the study period.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

22.9

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

22. Urban Streets

Table 22:4: Data observed at an intersection for stopping vehicles


Seconds into minute
Minute 0 sec 15 sec 30 sec 45 sec
5.00 pm
2
4
1
3
5.01 pm
4
5
3
0
5.02 pm
6
3
2
1
5.03 pm
2
5
4
3
5.04 pm
4
2
6
4
5.05 pm
5
4
1
1
5.06 pm
1
2
5
5
5.07 pm
4
3
3
3
5.08 pm
2
5
2
2
5.09 pm
3
1
4
2
Total
33
34
31
24

Numerical example
In an intersection the following data was observed for stopping times for vehicles as tabulated
in table 4. Calculate intersection approach delay for the given data set. Total exiting vehicles:
100.
Solution: Total of stopped-vehicle counts (density counts) for study sample is: 33+34+31+24=122
veh. Each of the vehicle interval is 15 seconds. Aggregate delay for the 10 minutes study period
is, 122 15 sec=1830 veh-sec. Average stopped delay per vehicle for study period of 10 minutes
is, 1830/100 =18.3 sec per vehicle. That is, d=18.3 sec per vehicle. We use this in the first
equation. So, intersection approach (or control) delay D
D = 1.3 d = 1.3 18.3 = 23.79 sec/veh.

22.3.8

Step 6: Average travel speed

Arterial LOS is based on the average travel speed for segment, section or entire arterial under
consideration. Arterial average travel speed is given by
vavg =

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

3600L
Tr L + D
22.10

(22.2)

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

22. Urban Streets

Table 22:5: Urban Street LOS by Class and Average Travel Speed
LOS Average Travel Speed (km/h)
I
II
III
IV
A
> 72 > 59 > 50
> 41
B
> 56 > 46 > 39
> 32
C
> 40 > 33 > 28
> 23
D
> 32 > 26 > 22
> 18
E
> 26 > 21 > 17
> 14
F
> 26 < 21 < 17
< 14

where, vavg = arterial or segmental average travel speed (Kmph), L = arterial or segmental
length (Km), Tr = total of the running time per kilometer on all segments in the arterial or
section (seconds), D = total of the approach delay at all intersections within the defined arterial
(seconds). It is the actual speed in consideration with the additional effect of control and all
stop delays. It is the measure by which LOS is defined.

22.3.9

Step 7: Estimate the LOS

This is the last step of determination of LOS. After calculation of average travel speed we can
determine the level of service of an arterial by using Table 22:5.
Numerical example
Consider an arterial which has free flow speed of 65 kmph and average running time of vehicles
is 145 sec/km determine LOS for this arterial.

Solution: From Table 22:5 we can find LOS of an arterial. As free flow speed is 65 kmph
by using table 3 we can classify this as Arterial Class II, Now we should know average travel
speed, to find out LOS. Delay is determined in problem 1. Hence D=23.79sec/veh.
vavg =

3600 1
3600L
=
= 21.32 km/hr
Tr L + D
145 + 23.79

As average travel speed is 21.32 kmph we can have LOS as E from Table 22:5.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

22.11

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

22.4

22. Urban Streets

Congestion Management

When demand on a facility exceeds the capacity Congestion takes place. The travel time or
delay is in excess of that normally incurred under light or free flow traffic condition. The
travel time or delay is in excess of agreed upon norm which may vary by type of transport
facility, travel mode, geographical location, and time of day. In the procedure for congestion
management initially we have to find out the root cause of congestion and finding out the
remedies for managing the congestion, updating the signalization if it is needed. It is always
better to use good signalization for minimizing impact of congestion. We can provide more
space by making use of turn bays if geometry permits. Parking restrictions also help in
congestion management on urban streets. Now we will discuss some important strategies to
manage the congestion on urban streets.

22.4.1

Managing surface street congestion

Basically at street level congestion can be encountered by following ways,


1. Signal based
2. Non-signal based

22.4.2

Signal based remedies

Signal based remedies for congestion management can be achieved by implementing following
two strategies,
1. Metering plans
2. Reasonably shorter cycle lengths
Metering plans
It is the congestion management policy for street congestion to limit the volumes arriving at
critical locations. It uses some control strategies within the congestion networks by storing
vehicles at links defined to be part of system under control. It should be noted that metering
concept does not explicitly minimize delays and stops but manages queue formation. There are
three types of metering strategies,
1. Internal metering: It is the management policy which makes use of control strategies
within the congested network by influencing the distribution of vehicles arriving at and
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

22.12

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

22. Urban Streets

Figure 22:4: g/C is reduced to limit discharge


departing from critical locations as shown in Fig. 22:4 Limit the upstream or downstream
blockage by limiting the turn in flows as shown in Fig. 22:5. It deals with upstream
control by creating moving storage situation on upstream link. It manages congestion by
limiting turn-in flows from cross streets and preserving arterials for their through flow by
metering from face of back up from outside as shown in Fig. 22:6
2. External metering: Control of major access points shown in Fig. 22:7 (e.g. river crossing,
downtown surrounded by water from three sides, a system that receives limited no. of
arterials etc.) so as to limit inflow rates. It is conceptually convenient because the storage
of problem vehicles belongs to somebody else outside the system. But while metering it
should be noted that metering should not be upto such extent that other areas.
3. Release metering: It uses policy of controlling the release of vehicles from the places
where vehicles are stored such as parking, garages etc. they are stored off-street so as to
reduce their spill-back potential. This type of metering can be used in shopping centers,
mega center, etc. by lowering the discharge rates of vehicles.
Shorter cycle length
If on any intersection higher cycle time is provided then it will certainly create problems like
increase in queue length and platoon length discharged and it will lead to increase in blockage
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

22.13

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

22. Urban Streets

Figure 22:5: g/C is reduced to preserve through flow

critical intersection
undersaturated
internally metered

Figure 22:6: Internal metering


Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

22.14

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

22. Urban Streets

external metering plans


innerbound routes that are metered

Figure 22:7: External metering


of intersection, with substantial adverse impact on system capacity. This is particularly when
short link lengths are involved. Length of downstream space should be greater than queue
length to store the vehicles. Note that a critical lane flow of Vi nominally discharges Vi*C/3600
vehicles in a cycle. If each vehicle requires D meters of storage space, the downstream link would
be


Vi C
DL
(22.3)
3600
Vi C
= no. of vehicles per cycle, D= storage space required for each vehicle, L= available
where, 3600
downstream space in m. (This may be set by some lower value to keep the queue away from
the discharging intersection, or to allow for turn-ins.) Equation may be re-arranged as,

 
3600
L
(22.4)
C
D
Vi

Note that Vi in this case is the discharge volume per downstream lane, which may differ from
the demand volume, particularly at the fringes of the system being considered. Note that only
rather high flows (maximum f > 800 veh per hour per lane (vphpl)) and short blocks will create
very severe limits on the cycle length. However, these are just the situations of at most interest
for extreme congestion situations. An illustrative example to show the requirement of shorter
cycle length is given below.
Numerical example
Flow on an critical lane is 300 veh/h, cycle time is 80 seconds, suppose storage space required
per lane vehicle is 6m as an average and space available on downstream is 30 m, find whether
the space is sufficient and comment on the result and suggest some remedy if required.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

22.15

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

22. Urban Streets

Solution: Given: Vi = 300 veh/h, C = 80 sec, and L = 30 m. Vehicles discharged by a


Vi C
) = 300 * 80/3600 = 60/9
critical lane per cycle to be found out and which is given by, ( 3600
=6.6 veh/cycle. Therefore, space required for storing these vehicles for cycle time is, = 6.6 *
D, = 6.6 * 6, = 39.6 m. 40 m. So, 40 m > 30 m (length of downstream storage i.e. space
available), So length is inadequate. As the length is fixed the only possible variable is cycle
time so we will reduce the cycle time, let the new cycle time be, 40 seconds instead of 80
seconds. Space required will be get reduced to half i.e. 20m which is lesser than the available
space i.e. 30m so it is feasible to reduce the cycle length to manage the congestion.

22.4.3

Non-signal based remedies

If the problem of congestion does not get resolved by signalization the next set of actions are
summarized in two words more space means there is need of provision of additional lanes or
some other facility. It can be achieved by adding left turn bays / right turn bays, removing
obstructions to through flows by adding more space and free movements Some non-signal based
remedies are given below,
1. Two way turn lanes
2. Reversible lanes
3. Kerb parking prohibition
4. Lane marking
Two way turn lanes
On suburban and urban arterials dedication of a central lanes shown in Fig. 22:8 for turns in
either direction is provided. This also allows for storage and vehicles to make their maneuvers
in two distinct steps.
Leaving the arterial and entering it is separated into two distinct
steps. Vehicles leaving (Fig. 22:9) the arterial do not have to block a moving lane while waiting
for a gap in the opposing flow. Entering vehicles (Fig. 22:10) do not have to wait for a gap
simultaneously in both directions. The Figure 22:8 shown above is the road sign for two way left
turn lane which indicates that the center lane is provided exclusively for two way left turning
traffic.
Reversible lane
Reversible lanes shown in Figure 8 have great advantage of matching lane availability to the
peak demand. Lanes are reversible means can be split into various combinations for different
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

22.16

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

22. Urban Streets

2 way sign
Figure 22:8: Two way left-turn lane on arterial

2
Vehicle

1
Figure 22:9: A vehicle leaving arterial in two steps

1
Vehicle

2
Figure 22:10: A vehicle entering arterial in two steps

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

22.17

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

22. Urban Streets

Reversible lane

Figure 22:11: Lane marking and associated signal /signs for reversible lane
times of day to match the demand. E.g. eight lanes can be split into 6:2 or 5:3 and so forth
if required to match up for the demand. It should be noted that some jurisdictions have
combined two-way lanes and reversible lanes on same arterial because combination of peakperiod congestion and increased road side development. The concerns with reversible lanes
and relates to the misuse and lanes by the driver (particularly the unfamiliar driver), despite
the signalization over the lanes.
HOV lanes
High occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes are designed to help move more people through congested
areas. HOV lanes offer users a faster, more reliable commute, while also easing congestion in
regular lanes - by moving more people in fewer vehicles. HOV lanes on provincial highways are
reserved for any of the following passenger vehicles carrying at least two people (often referred
to as 2+):
1. Car
2. Commercial truck less than 6.5 meters long
3. Minivan
4. Motorcycle
5. Taxi or limousine
In addition, vehicles with a special green licence plate (plug-in hybrid electric or battery electric
vehicle) A bus of any type can use an HOV lane, even without passengers. This helps buses
keep to their schedules and provide reliable, efficient service. Emergency vehicles are permitted
to use the HOV lanes at all times.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

22.18

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

22. Urban Streets

Kerb Parking Prohibition


Congestion can be managed by prohibiting the kerb parking. Kerb parking means on street
parallel parking. If such parking is avoided it implies oblique and right angled parking is also
prohibited and hence provides more space for traffic flow so congestion is minimized.
Lane marking
Longitudinal lane markings such solid white lines and broken white lines restricts overtaking maneuver of vehicles which encourages mix through traffic flow unobstructed resulting in
reducing the congestion.
Equity offsets
This topic can be read in reference to congestion management by signal based remedies. Offset
on an arterial are usually set to move vehicles smoothly along the arterial, as is logical. Equity
offset allows the congested arterial to have its green at upstream intersection until the vehicle
just begin to move , then switch the signal, so that these vehicles flush out the intersection,
but no new vehicles continue to enter.
Imbalanced split
This topic can be referred under signal based congestion management remedies. It is the procedure of allocating the available green in proportion to the relative demands. It is sometimes
desirable to split green as per demand of various routes to meet peak hour demands of respective
routes.
HOV Lanes
This topic can be referred as non signal based remedies On provincial highways HOV lanes are
developed by adding a new inside (leftmost) lane to existing corridors. Where the HOV lane
begins, signs on the left side of the highway inform carpools and buses to move left into the
new lane. An overhead sign indicates the beginning of the HOV lane. In some locations, where
a highway on-ramp used to end, the on-ramp lane has been extended as the new HOV lane.
In this situation, motorists not permitted to use the HOV lane have to exit that lane before
the start of the HOV lane designation. Overhead signs at 1 kilometre and again at 500 metres
before the start of the HOV lane designation advise drivers to exit the lane. Overhead signing
and closely spaced white broken lines and diamond symbol pavement markings indicate the
beginning of the HOV lane (Figure 22:12).
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

22.19

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

22. Urban Streets

111111111111111
000000000000000
000000000000000
111111111111111

Figure 22:12: High Occupancy Vehicle Lane

22.5

Conclusion

It can be understood that urban streets are integral part of transportation system. Urban
streets plays vital role in development of country. These are classified on their function, design
for various considerations taking into account. Performance measures are to be worked out
to determine LOS. Congestion is a huge problem which can be curbed by some preventive
measures and design strategies. Signalized remedies are more efficient than any other measures
of street congestion management. Non signalized remedies can be used to manage congestion
by providing more space in terms of extra lanes.

22.6

References

1. Highway Capacity Manual. Transportation Research Board. National Research Council,


Washington, D.C., 2000.
2. L. R Kadiyali. Traffic Engineering and Transportation Planning. Khanna Publishers,
New Delhi, 1987.
3. W R McShane and P R Roger. Traffic Engineering. Prentice Hall Publication, 1990.
4. C D Papacostas and P D Prevedouros. Transportation Engineering and Planning. 2002.
5. B K Woods. Highway Engineering Handbook. McGraw Hill Company. 1960.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

22.20

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

23. Multilane Highways

Chapter 23
Multilane Highways
23.1

Introduction

Increasing traffic flow has forced engineers to increase the number of lanes of highways in order
to provide good manoeuvring facilities to the users. The main objectives of this lecture is to
analyze LOS which is very important factor for a traffic engineer because it describes the traffic
operational conditions within a traffic stream. Also we are going to study the characteristics
and capacity for multilane highways. Free-flow speed is an important parameter that is being
used extensively for capacity and level-of- service analysis of various types of highway facilities.

23.2

Multilane Highways

A highway is a public road especially a major road connecting two or more destinations. A
highway with at least two lanes for the exclusive use of traffic in each direction, with no control
or partial control of access, but that may have periodic interruptions to flow at signalized
intersections not closer than 3.0 km is called as multilane highway. They are typically located
in suburban areas leading to central cities or along high-volume rural corridors that connect
two cities or important activity centers that generate a considerable number of daily trips.

23.2.1

Highway Classification

There are various ways of classification of highways; we will see classification of highways
according to number of lanes.
Two lane highways.
Multilane highways

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

23.1

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

23. Multilane Highways


11111111
00000000
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111

Figure 23:1: Divided multilane highway in a rural/suburban environment

Figure 23:2: Undivided multilane highway in a rural/suburban environment

23.2.2

Highway Characteristics

Multilane highways generally have posted speed limits between 60 km/h and 90 km/h. They
usually have four or six lanes, often with physical medians or two-way right turn lanes (TWRTL),
although they may also be undivided. The traffic volumes generally varies from 15,000 - 40,000
vehicles per day. It may also go up to 100,000 vehicles per day with grade separations and no
cross-median access. Traffic signals at major intersections are possible for multilane highways
which facilitate partial control of access. Typical illustrations of multilane highway configurations are provided in Fig. 23:1 and 23:2

23.3

Highway Capacity

An important operation characteristic of any transport facility including the multi lane highways
is the concept of capacity. Capacity may be defined as the maximum sustainable flow rate at
which vehicles or persons reasonably can be expected to traverse a point or uniform segment of
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

23.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

23. Multilane Highways

Table 23:1: Free flow speed and capacity for Multilane highway
Types of facility
Multilane

Free flow
speed(kmph)
100
90
80
70

Capacity
(pcphpl)
2200
2100
2000
1900

a lane or roadway during a specified time period under given roadway, traffic, environmental,
and control conditions; usually expressed as vehicles per hour, passenger cars per hour, or
persons per hour. There are two types of capacity, possible capacity and practical capacity.
Possible capacity is defined as the maximum number of vehicles that can pass a point in one
hour under prevailing roadway and traffic condition. Practical capacity on the other hand is
the maximum number that can pass the point without unreasonable delay restriction to the
average drivers freedom to pass other vehicles. Procedure for computing practical capacity for
the uninterrupted flow condition is as follows:
1. Select an operating speed which is acceptable for the class of highways the terrain and
the driver.
2. Determine the appropriate capacity for ideal conditions from table 1.
3. Determine the reduction factor for conditions which reduce capacity (such as width of
road, alignment, sight distance, heavy vehicle adjustment factor).
4. Multiply these factors by ideal capacity value obtained from step 2.

23.4

Level of Service

Level of service (LOS) is a qualitative term describing the operational performance of any
transportation facility. The qualitative performance measure can be defined using various
quantitative terms like:
1. Volume to capacity ratio,
2. Mean passenger car speed,( in km/h)
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

23.3

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

23. Multilane Highways

Figure 23:3: LOS A


3. Density, (in p/kmln).
Basically any two of the following three performance characteristics can describe the LOS for a
multilane highway. Each of these measures can indicate how well the highway accommodates
the traffic demand since speed does not vary over a wide range of flows, it is not a good indicator
of service quality. Density which is a measure of proximity of other vehicles in the traffic stream
and is directly perceived by drivers and does not vary with all flow levels and therefore density
is the most important performance measure for estimating LOS. Based on the quantitative
parameter, the LOS of a facility can be divided into six qualitative categories, designated as
LOS A,B,C,D,E,F The definition of each level of service, is given below:

23.4.1

Level of Service A

Travel conditions are completely free flow. The only constraint on the operation of vehicles
lies in the geometric features of the roadway and individual driver preferences. Lane changing,
merging and diverging manoeuvre within the traffic stream is good, and minor disruptions to
traffic are easily absorbed without an effect on travel speed. Average spacing between vehicles
is a minimum of 150 m or 24 car lengths. Fig. 23:3 shows LOS A.

23.4.2

Level of Service B

Travel conditions are at free flow. The presence of other vehicles is noticed but it is not a constraint on the operation of vehicles as are the geometric features of the roadway and individual
driver preferences. Minor disruptions are easily absorbed, although localized reduction in LOS
are noted. Average spacing between vehicles is a minimum of 150 m or 24 car lengths. Fig. 23:4
below shows LOS B.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

23.4

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

23. Multilane Highways

Figure 23:4: LOS B

Figure 23:5: LOS C

23.4.3

Level of Service C

Traffic density begins to influence operations. The ability to manoeuvre within the traffic
stream is affected by other vehicles. Travel speeds show some reduction when free-flow speeds
exceed 80 km/h. Minor disruptions may be expected to cause serious local deterioration in
service, and queues may begin to form. Average spacing between vehicles is a minimum of 150
m or 24 car length. Fig. 23:5 shows LOS C.

23.4.4

Level of Service D

The ability to manoeuvre is severely restricted due to congestion. Travel speeds are reduced
as volumes increase. Minor disruptions maybe expected to cause serious local deterioration in
service, and queues may begin to form. Average spacing between vehicles is a minimum of 150
m or 24 car length. Fig. 23:6 shows LOS D.

Figure 23:6: LOS D

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

23.5

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

23. Multilane Highways

Figure 23:7: LOS E

Figure 23:8: LOS F

23.4.5

Level of Service E

Operations are unstable at or near capacity. Densities vary, depending on the free-flow speed.
Vehicles operate at the minimum spacing for which uniform flow can be maintained. Disruptions
cannot be easily dissipated and usually result in the formation of queues and the deterioration
of service to LOS F. For the majority of multilane highways with free-flow speed between 70
and 100km/h, passenger-car mean speeds at capacity range from 68 to 88 km/h but are highly
variable and unpredictable. Average spacing between vehicles is a minimum of 150 m or 24 car
length. Fig. 23:7 shows LOS E.

23.4.6

Level of Service F

A forced breakdown of flow occurs at the point where the numbers of vehicles that arrive at
a point exceed the number of vehicles discharged or when forecast demand exceeds capacity.
Queues form at the breakdown point, while at sections downstream they may appear to be at
capacity. Operations are highly unstable, with vehicles experiencing brief periods of movement
followed by stoppages. Travel speeds within queues are generally less than 48 km/h. Note
that the term LOS F may be used to characterize both the point of the breakdown and the
operating condition within the queue. Fig. 23:8 shows LOS F.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

23.6

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

23.5

23. Multilane Highways

Determination of Level of Service

The determination of level of service for a multilane highway involves three steps:
1. Determination of free-flow speed
2. Determination of flow rate
3. Determination of level of service

23.5.1

Free-flow speed

Free-flow speed is the theoretical speed of traffic density, when density approaches zero. It is
the speed at which drivers feel comfortable travelling under the physical, environmental and
traffic conditions existing on an uncongested section of multilane highway. In practice, free-flow
speed is determined by performing travel-time studies during periods of low-to-moderate flow
conditions. The upper limit for low to moderate flow conditions is considered 1400 passenger
cars per hour per lane(pc/h/ln) for the analyses. Speed-flow and density flow relationships are
shown in Fig. 23:9 and Fig. 23:10. These relationships hold for a typical uninterrupted-flow
segment on a multilane highway under either base or no base conditions in which free-flow
speed is known. Fig. 23:9 indicates that the speed of traffic volume up to a flow rate of 1400
pc/h/ln. It also shows that the capacity of a multilane highway under base conditions is 2200
pc/h/ln for highways with a 90 km/h free-flow speed. At flow rates between 1400 and 2200
pc/h/ln, the speed on a multilane highway drops; for example, by 8 km/h for a highways with
a free-flow speed of 90 km/h. Fig. 23:10 shows that density varies continuously throughout the
full range of flow rates. The capacity value of 2200 pc/h/ln is representative of the maximum
15-min flow rate that can be accommodated under base conditions for highways with 90 km/h
free-flow speed. From various studies of the flow characteristics, base conditions for multilane
highways are defined as follows:
1. Lane widths are 3.6 m.
2. Lateral clearance is 1.8 m.
3. A minimum of 3.6 m of total lateral clearance in the direction of travel. Clearances
are measured from the edge of the outer travelled lanes (shoulders included) and lateral
clearance of 1.8 m or greater are considered to be equal to 1.8 m.
4. No direct access points along the highway.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

23.7

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

23. Multilane Highways

110

Speed (km/hr)

100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
0

400

800 1200 1600 2000

2400

Flow (pc/h/ln)

Figure 23:9: Speed-flow relationship on multilane highways

Density (pc/h/ln)

50
45
40
35
30
25
20

Free flow speed = 70 km/hr


Free flow speed = 80 km/hr
Free flow speed = 90 km/hr
Free flow speed = 100 km/hr

15
10
1
5
0
0

400

800

1200 1600 2000 2400

Flow (pc/h/ln)

Figure 23:10: Density-flow relationships on multilane highways


FreeFlow Speed, FFS = 100 km/h
100

90 km/h
90

80 km/h
80

70

LOS A

70 km/h
B

30

m
/ln

/ln
/km

/ln

/k

pc

28

pc

/k

16

pc
22

sit

pc

40

11

50

y=
7p
c/k
m/
ln
/km
/ln

E
60

De
n

Average PassengerCar Speed (km/h)

110

20

10
0
400

800

1200

1600

2000

2400

Flow Rate (pc/h/ln)

Figure 23:11: Speed-flow curves with LOS criteria for multilane highways

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

23.8

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

23. Multilane Highways

Speed (km/hr)

110
100
90
80
70
60
50

Density = 7 pc/km/ln
Density = 11 pc/km/ln
Density = 16 pc/km/ln
Density = 22 pc/km/ln
Density = 25 pc/km/ln

40
30
20
10
0
0

400

800

1200 1600

2000 2400

Flow (pc/h/ln)

Figure 23:12: Flowchart showing step by step procedure to find density and LOS
5. A divided highway.
6. Only passenger cars in the traffic stream.
7. A free-flow speed of 90 km/h or more.
The average of all passenger-car speeds measured in the field under low volume conditions can
be used directly as the free-flow speed if such measurements were taken at flow rates at or below
1400 pc/h/ln. No adjustments are necessary as this speed reflects the net effect of all conditions
at the site that influence speed, including lane width, lateral clearance, type of median, access
points, posted speed limits, and horizontal and vertical alignment. Free-flow speed also can be
estimated from 85th-percentile speed or posted speed limits, research suggests that free-flow
speed under base conditions is 11 km/h higher than the speed limit for 65 km/h to 70 km/h
speed limits and 8 km/h higher for 80 km/h to 90 km/h speed limits. Fig. 23:12 shows speedflow curves with LOS criteria for multilane highways, here LOS is easily determined for any
value of speed simply by plotting the point which is a intersection of flow and corresponding
speed. Note that density is the primary determinant of LOS. LOS F is characterized by highly
unstable and variable traffic flow. Prediction of accurate flow rate, density, and speed at LOS
F is difficult.

23.5.2

Determination of free-flow speed

When field data are not available, the free-flow speed can be estimated indirectly as follows:
F F S = BF F S fLW fLC fM fA

(23.1)

where, F F S is the estimated FFS (km/h), BF F S= base FFS (km/h), fLW = adjustment for
lane width, from Table 3 (km/h), fLC = adjustment for lateral clearance, from Table 4 (km/h),
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

23.9

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

23. Multilane Highways

Table 23:2: Level of Service criteria for a typical free flow speed of 100 kmph proposed in HCM
2000
Free-Flow
Speed
100 km/h

Criteria
Max. density
(pc/km/ln)
Average speed
(kmph)
Max. volume
capacity ratio
Max. service
flow rate
(pc/h/ln)

(LOS)
A
7

(LOS) (LOS)
B
C
11
16

(LOS) (LOS)
D
E
22
25

100

100

98.4

91.5

88

0.32

0.50

0.72

0.92

1.00

700

1100

1575

2015

2200

fM = adjustment for median type, from Table 5 (km/h), and fA = adjustment for access points,
from Table 6 (km/h). FFS on multilane highways under base conditions is approximately 11
km/h higher than the speed limit for 65 and 70 km/h speed limits, and it is 8 km/h higher for
80 and 90 km/h speed limits. BFFS is approximately equal to 62.4 km/h ( i.e decrease in 1.6
km/h) when the 85 th percentile speed is 64 km/h, and it is 91.2 km/h ( i.e decrease in 4.8
km/h) when the 85 th percentile speed is 96 km/h and the in between speed values is found
out by interpolation. According to Table 3, the adjustment in km/h increase as the lane width
decreases from a base lane width of 3.6 m. No data exist for lane widths less than 3.0m.
The adjustment for lateral clearance (TLC ) is given as:
TLC = LCL + LCR

(23.2)

where, TLC = Total lateral clearance (m), LCL = Lateral clearance (m), from the right edge of
the travel lanes to roadside obstructions (if greater than 1.8 m, use 1.8 m), and LCR = Lateral
clearance (m), from the left edge of the travel lanes to obstructions in the roadway median
(if the lateral clearance is greater than 1.8 m, use 1.8 m). Once the total lateral clearance is
computed, the adjustment factor is obtained from Table 4. For undivided highways, there is
no adjustment for the right-side lateral clearance as this is already accounted for in the median
type. Therefore, in order to use Table 5 for undivided highways, the lateral clearance on the
left edge is always 1.8 m, as it for roadways with TWRTLs. The access-point density, which
is use in Table 6, for a divided roadway is found by dividing the total number of access points
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

23.10

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

23. Multilane Highways

Table 23:3: Adjustment for lane width (Source: HCM, 2000)


Lane Width (m)
3.6
3.5
3.4
3.3
3.2
3.1
3.0

Reduction in FFS(km/h)
0.0
1.0
2.1
3.1
5.6
8.1
10.6

Table 23:4: Adjustment for lateral clearance(Source: HCM, 2000)


Four-Lane Highways
Total Lateral
Reduction in FFS
Clearance a (m)
(km/h)
3.6
0.0
3.0
0.6
2.4
1.5
1.8
2.1
1.2
3.0
0.6
5.8
0.0
8.7

Six-Lane Highways
Total Lateral
Reduction in FFS
Clearance a (m)
(km/h)
3.6
0.0
3.0
0.6
2.4
1.5
1.8
2.1
1.2
2.7
0.6
4.5
0.0
6.3

Table 23:5: Adjustment to free flow speed for median type(Source: HCM, 2000)
Median Type
Undivided highways
Divided highways

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

Reduction in FFS (km/h)


2.6
0.0

23.11

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

23. Multilane Highways

Table 23:6: Adjustment to free flow speed for Access-point density(Source: HCM, 2000)
Access Points/Kilometer
0
6
12
18
24

Reduction in FFS (km/h)


0.0
4.0
8.0
12.0
16.0

(intersections and driveways) on the right side of the roadway in the direction of travel being
studied by the length of the segment in kilometers. The adjustment factor for access-point
density is given in Table 6. Thus the free flow speed can be computed using equation 1 and
applying all the adjustment factors.

23.5.3

Determination of Flow Rate

The next step in the determination of the LOS is the computation of the peak hour factor. The
fifteen minute passenger-car equivalent flow rate (pc/h/ln), is determined by using following
formula:
V
vp =
(23.3)
(P HF N fHV fp )
where, vp is the 15-min passenger-car equivalent flow rate (pc/h/ln), V is the hourly volume
(veh/h), P HF is the peak-hour factor, N is the number of lanes, fHV is the heavy-vehicle
adjustment factor, and fp is the driver population factor. PHF represents the variation in
traffic flow within an hour. Observations of traffic flow consistently indicate that the flow rates
found in the peak 15-min period within an hour are not sustained throughout the entire hour.
The PHFs for multilane highways have been observed to be in the range of 0.75 to 0.95. Lower
values are typical of rural or off-peak conditions, whereas higher factors are typical of urban
and suburban peak-hour conditions. Where local data are not available, 0.88 is a reasonable
estimate of the PHF for rural multilane highways and 0.92 for suburban facilities. Besides that,
the presence of heavy vehicles in the traffic stream decreases the FFS because base conditions
allow a traffic stream of passenger cars only. Therefore, traffic volumes must be adjusted to
reflect an equivalent flow rate expressed in passenger cars per hour per lane (pc/h/ln). This
is accomplished by applying the heavy-vehicle factor (fHV ). Once values for ET and ER have

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

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February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

23. Multilane Highways

Table 23:7: Passenger-car equivalent on extended general highway segments(Source: HCM,


2000)
Factor
ET (Trucks and Buses)
ER (RVs)

Type of Terrain
Level Rolling Mountainous
1.5
2.5
4.5
1.2
2.0
4.0

been determined, the adjustment factors for heavy vehicles are applied as follows:
fHV =

1
(1 + PT (ET 1) + PR (ER 1)

(23.4)

where, ET and ER are the equivalents for trucks and buses and for recreational vehicles (RVs),
respectively, PT and PR are the proportion of trucks and buses, and RVs, respectively, in the
traffic stream (expressed as a decimal fraction), fH V is the adjustment factor for heavy vehicles.
Adjustment for the presence of heavy vehicles in traffic stream applies for three types of vehicles:
trucks, buses and recreational vehicles (RVs). Trucks cover a wide range of vehicles, from lightly
loaded vans and panel trucks to the most heavily loaded coal, timber, and gravel haulers. An
individual trucks operational characteristics vary based on the weight of its load and its engine
performance. RVs also include a broad range: campers, self-propelled and towed; motor homes;
and passenger cars or small trucks towing a variety of recreational equipment, such as boats,
snowmobiles, and motorcycle trailers. There is no evidence to indicate any distinct differences
between buses and trucks on multilane highways, and thus the total population is combined.

23.5.4

Determination of Level of Service

The level of service on a multilane highway can be determined directly from Fig. 23:12 or Table2 based on the free-flow speed (FFS) and the service flow rate (vp) in pc/h/ln. The procedure
as follows:
1. Define a segment on the highway as appropriate. The following conditions help to define
the segmenting of the highway,
Change in median treatment
Change in grade of 2% or more or a constant upgrade over 1220 m
Change in the number of travel lanes
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

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Transportation Systems Engineering

23. Multilane Highways

The presence of a traffic signal


A significant change in the density of access points
Different speed limits
The presence of bottleneck condition
In general, the minimum length of study section should be 760 m, and the limits should
be no closer than 0.4 km from a signalized intersection.
2. On the basis of the measured or estimated free-flow speed on a highway segment, an
appropriate speed-flow curve of the same as the typical curves is drawn.
3. Locate the point on the horizontal axis corresponding to the appropriate flow rate (vp)
in pc/hr/ln and draw a vertical line.
4. Read up the FFS curve identified in step 2 and determine the average travel speed at the
point of intersection.
5. Determine the level of service on the basis of density region in which this point is located.
Density of flow can be computed as
vp
D=
(23.5)
S
where, D is the density (pc/km/ln), vp is the flow rate (pc/h/ln), and S is the average passenger-car travel speed (km/h). The level of service can also be determined by
comparing the computed density with the density ranges shown in table given by HCM.
To use the procedures for a design, a forecast of future traffic volumes has to be made
and the general geometric and traffic control conditions, such as speed limits, must be
estimated. With these data and a threshold level of service, an estimate of the number
of lanes required for each direction of travel can be determined.
Numerical example 1
A segment of undivided four-lane highway on level terrain has field-measured FFS 74.0-km/h,
lane width 3.4-m, peak-hour volume 1,900-veh/h, 13 percent trucks and buses, 2 percent RVs,
and 0.90 PHF. What is the peak-hour LOS, speed, and density for the level terrain portion of
the highway?
Solution The solution steps are given below:

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

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Transportation Systems Engineering

23. Multilane Highways

1. Data given: Level terrain, field measured FFS = 74 km/h, lane width is 3.4 m, peakhour volume = 1900 veh/h, percent trucks and buses pt = 0.13, percent RVs PR = 0.02,
and PHF=0.90.
2. Determination of flow rate(Vp): LOS can be calculated by knowing flow rate and
free flow speed. Flow rate (Vp) is calculated from the equation
V
(P HF N f HV f p)

Vp =

Since fHV is unknown it is calculated from the equation


fHV

1
(1 + P T (ET 1) + P R(ER 1)

where, ET and ER are passenger-car equivalents for trucks and buses and for recreational
vehicles (RVs) respectively PT and PR are proportion of trucks and buses, and RVs,
respectively, in the traffic stream (expressed as a decimal fraction)
1
1 + 0.13(1.5 1) + 0.02(1.2 1)
= 0.935.
=

fHV

Assume no RVs, since none is indicated.


1900
(0.90 2 0.935 1)
= 1129 pc/h/ln.

Vp =

3. Determination of free flow speed(S): In this example the free flow speed (FFS)
measured at the field is given and hence no need to compute free flow speed by indirect
method. Therefore, F F S = S = 74.0km/h.
4. Determination of density(D): The density of flow is computed from the equation
D = V p/S = 15.3
5. Determination of LOS: LOS determined from the speed-flow diagram. LOS = C.
Numerical example 2
A segment of an east-west five-lane highway with two travel lanes in each direction separated
by a two-way left-turn lane (TWLTL) on a level terrain has- 83.0-km/h 85th-percentile speed
,3.6-m lane width, 1,500-veh/h peak-hour volume, 6 % trucks and buses, 8 access points/km
(WB), 6 access points/km (EB), 0.90 PHF, 3.6-m and greater lateral clearance for westbound
and eastbound. What is the LOS of the highway on level terrain during the peak hour?
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

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Transportation Systems Engineering

23. Multilane Highways

Solution The solution steps are enumerate below:


1. Data given: Level terrain, 85th-percentile speed is 83.0 km/h , lane width is 3.6 m, peakhour volume, v=1500 veh/h percent of trucks and buses PT=0.06, 8 access points/km
in WB, 6 access points/km in EB, PHF = 0.90, and lateral clearance for westbound and
eastbound is more than 3.6 m.
2. Determination of flow rate(VP): LOS can be calculated by knowing flow rate and
free flow speed. Flow rate (Vp) is calculated from the equation
V
(P HF N f HV f p)

Vp =

where, Vp = 15-min passenger-car equivalent flow rate (pc/h/ln), V = hourly volume


(veh/h), PHF = peak-hour factor, N = number of lanes, fHV = heavy-vehicle adjustment
factor, and fp = driver population factor Since fHV is unknown it is calculated from the
equation
1
fHV =
(1 + P T (ET 1) + P R(ER 1)
where, ET and ER = passenger-car equivalents for trucks and buses and for recreational
vehicles (RVs), respectively PT and PR = proportion of trucks and buses, and RVs,
respectively, in the traffic stream (expressed as a decimal fraction) Assume no RVs, since
none is indicated.
1
fHV =
1 + 0.06(1.5 1) + 0
= 0.970.
1500
(0.90 2 0.970 1)
= 858 pc/h/lane

Vp =

3. Determination of free flow speed(S): BFFS is approximately equal to 62.4 km/h


when the 85 th percentile speed is 64 km/h, and it is 91.2 km/h when the 85 th percentile
speed is 96 km/h and the in between speed values is found out by interpolation. Hence,
BFFS = 80 km/h. Now, compute east bound and west bound free-flow speeds
F F S = BF F S fLW fLC fA fM
= 80 0 0 4 0
= 76 kmph (WB)
= 80 0 0 5.3 0
= 74.7 kmph (EB)
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

23.16

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

23. Multilane Highways

4. Determination of LOS: LOS determined from the speed-flow diagram. LOS = C (for
EB) LOS = C (for WB)
Numerical example 3
A 10 km long 4 lane undivided multilane highway in a suburban area has a segment 1 km
long with a 3% upgrade and a segment 1 km long with a 3% downgrade. The section has a
volume of 1900 vehicles/hr in each direction with 13% trucks and buses and 2% recreational
vehicles. The 85 th percentile speed of passenger car is 80 km/hr on upgrade and 86km/hr on
downgrade. There are total of 12 access points on both sides of the roadway. The lane width
is 3.6 m, PHF is 0.90 and having a 3m lateral clearance. Determine the LOS of the highway
section (upgrade and downgrade) during the peak hour? From HCM, For a 3% upgrade and 1
km length( ET=1.5 , ER=3) For a 3% downgrade and 1 km length( ET=1.5 , ER=1.2 )
Solution
1. Data given: 3%upgrade and 3%downgrade No of lanes = 4, N = 4, 80.0 km/h 85thpercentile speed for upgrade, 86 km/h 85t h-percentile speed for downgrade, 3.6-m lane
width, 1,900-veh/h peak-hour volume, (V =1900 veh/h) 13 % trucks and buses, (PT
=0.13) 2 % Recreational vehicles, ( Pr=0.02 ) 12 access points/km, PHF = 0.90 lateral
clearance = 3 m
2. Determination of flow rate(VP): LOS can be calculated by knowing flow rate and
free flow speed.
For upgrade: Flow rate is calculated from the equation
Vp=

V
(P HF N f HV f p)

where, Vp = 15-min passenger-car equivalent flow rate (pc/h/ln), V = hourly volume


(veh/h), PHF = peak-hour factor, N = number of lanes, fHV = heavy-vehicle adjustment
factor, and fp = driver population factor Since fHV is unknown it is calculated from the
equation
fHV

1
(1 + P T (ET 1) + P R(ER 1)

where, ET and ER = passenger-car equivalents for trucks and buses and for recreational
vehicles (RVs), respectively PT and PR = proportion of trucks and buses, and RVs,

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

23.17

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

23. Multilane Highways

respectively, in the traffic stream (expressed as a decimal fraction) Assume no RVs, since
none is indicated.
1
1 + 0.13(1.5 1) + 0.02(3 1)
= 0.905.
1900
Vp =
(0.90 2 0.905 1)
= 1166 pc/h/ln

fHV

For downgrade:
1
1 + 0.13(1.5 1) + 0.02(1.2 1)
= 0.935
1900
Vp =
(0.90 2 0.935 1)
= 1128 pc/h/ln

fHV

3. Determination of free flow speed(S): For upgrade: BFFS is approximately equal


to 62.4 km/h when the 85 th percentile speed is 64 km/h, and it is 91.2 km/h when
the 85 th percentile speed is 96 km/h and the in between speed values is found out by
interpolation. Hence for 86 km/hr 85th percentile speed from interpolation we get, BFFS
= 77.0 km/h Now, Compute east bound and west bound free-flow speeds
F F S = BF F S fLW fLC fA fM
= 77 0 0.6 8.0 2.6
= 65.8 km/h
For downgrade: BFFS is approximately equal to 62.4 km/h when the 85 th percentile
speed is 64 km/h, and it is 91.2 km/h when the 85 th percentile speed is 96 km/h and the
in between speed values is found out by interpolation. Hence for 86 km/hr 85th percentile
speed from interpolation we get, BFFS= 82.0 km/h Now, Compute the free-flow speed
F F S = BF F S fLW fLC fA fM
= 82 0 0.6 8.0 2.6
= 71 km/h
4. Determination of LOS LOS determined from the speed-flow diagram. LOS = D (for
upgrade) LOS = D (for downgrade)
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

23.18

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

23.6

23. Multilane Highways

Conclusion

This chapter helps to determine the level of service and capacity for a given road segment. In
the first part we studied highways in general there classification and characteristics which gives
the overall idea of multilane highways. Then we studied determination of capacity for multilane
highway which is again a very important parameter used to determine the level of service, then
we studied the concept of level of service and procedure to determine level of service. Also by
using its applications, number of lanes required (N), and flow rate achievable (vp), Performance
measures related to density (D) and speed (S) can also be determined.

23.7

References

1. R Asworth. Highway Engineering. Heinemann Education books limited, London, 1966.


2. Nicholas J Garber and Lester A Hoel.
Learning, 2009.

Traffic and Highway Engineering.

Cengage

3. Highway Capacity Manual. Transportation Research Board. National Research Council,


Washington, D.C., 2000.
4. R W McShane and R P Roess. Highway Engineering. McGraw Hill Company, 1984.
5. P Y TSENG and F B LIN. Journal of the eastern asia society for transportation studies,
2005.
6. B K Woods. Highway Engineering Handbook. McGraw Hill Company. 1960.
7. H R Wright.
Data, 1996.

Highway Engineering.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

Library Of Congress Catlaloging-in-Publication

23.19

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

24. Freeway Operations

Chapter 24
Freeway Operations
24.1

Introduction

A freeway is defined as a divided highway with full control of access and two lanes for the
exclusive use of traffic in each direction. Freeways were originally intended to serve longer trips
of generally regional and interurban character. Traffic on freeways differs from that on city
streets and rural roads in that it moves at higher speeds (depending on traffic conditions, design
standards, etc.), more smoothly, and at much larger rates of flow. Speed limits are generally
higher on freeways, and are occasionally non-existent. Because higher speeds reduce decision
time, freeways are usually equipped with a larger number of guide signs than other roads, and
the signs themselves are physically larger. Guide signs are often mounted on overpasses or
overhead gantries so that drivers can see where each lane goes. Access to freeways is typically
provided only at grade-separated interchanges, though lower-standard right-in/right-out access
can be used for direct connections to side roads. This chapter basically describes the capacity
and level of service. Later weaving phenomenon in has been described.

24.2

Basic features of freeway

Freeway provides uninterrupted traffic flow on a freeway. Traffic on freeway is free-flowing. All
cross-traffic (and left-turning traffic) is relegated to overpasses or underpasses, so that there are
no traffic conflicts on the main line of the highway which must be regulated by traffic lights,
stop signs, or other traffic control devices. Specific features are:
1. There are no signalized or stop-controlled at-grade intersections.
2. Direct access to and from adjacent property is not permitted.
3. Access to and from the freeway is limited to ramp locations.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

24.1

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

24. Freeway Operations


Not to scale

Basic Freeway Segment

Basic Freeway Segment

Figure 24:1: Basic freeway segment


4. Opposing directions of flow are continuously separated by a raised barrier, an at-grade
median, or a continuous raised median.
5. The advantage of grade-separated interchanges is that freeway drivers can almost always
maintain their speed at junctions since they do not need to yield to vehicles crossing
perpendicular to mainline traffic.
A freeway is composed of following three components
1. Basic freeway segment
2. Ramp junction
3. Weaving areas

24.2.1

Basic freeway segment

Basic freeway are that part of segment of freeway which are outside of the influence area of
ramps or weaving areas of freeway. We can see in Fig.24:1 that a basic freeway segment is
independent of the ramps and weaving areas and the flow in such section occurs smoothly at
the much larger rates. Merging and diverging of traffic occurs where on-or-off ramps join the
basic freeway segment. Weaving occurs when vehicles cross each others path while travelling
on freeway lanes. The exact point at which basic freeway segment begins or ends- that is, where
the influence of weaving areas and ramp junctions has dissipated- depends on local conditions,
particularly the level of service operating at the time. If traffic flow is light, the influence may
be negligible, whereas under congested conditions, queues may be extensive.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

24.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

24. Freeway Operations

Base condition of basic freeway segment


The base conditions under which the full capacity of a basic freeway segment is achieved are
good weather, good visibility, and no incidents or accidents. For the analysis procedures in this
chapter, these base conditions are assumed to exist. A set of base conditions for basic freeway
segments has been established. These conditions serve as a starting point for the
1. Lane widths of 3.6 m,
2. Clearance of 1.8 m between the edge of the travel lanes and the nearest obstructions or
objects at the roadside and in the median,
3. Free-flow speed of 120 km/h for freeways,
4. Only passenger cars in the traffic stream (no heavy vehicles),
5. Level terrain,
6. No no-passing zones on two-lane highways, and
7. No impediments to through traffic due to traffic control or turning vehicles.
Base conditions for intersection approaches include the following:
1. Lane widths of 3.6 m,
2. Level grade,
3. No curb parking on the approaches,
4. Only passenger cars in the traffic stream,
5. No local transit buses stopping in the travel lanes,
6. Intersection located in a non central business district area, and
7. No pedestrians

24.3

Capacity of a freeway segment

Freeway capacity is defined as:

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

24.3

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

24. Freeway Operations

the maximum sustained 15-min flow rate, expressed in passenger cars per hour per
lane, that can be accommodated by a uniform freeway segment under prevailing
traffic and roadway conditions in one direction of flow.
Capacity analysis is based on freeway segments with uniform traffic and roadway conditions.
If any of the prevailing conditions change significantly, the capacity of the segment and its
operating conditions change as well. Therefore, each uniform segment should be analysed
separately.

24.3.1

Factors affecting Capacity

Roadway conditions
Roadway conditions include geometric and other elements. In some cases, these influence the
capacity of a road; in others, they can affect a performance measure such as speed, but not the
capacity or maximum flow rate of the facility. Roadway factors include the following:
1. Number of lanes, Number of lanes decided for basic freeway is five or more than five but
if number of lanes is less than five then capacity of freeway is reduced.
2. Lane widths, If the lane width is less than the specified lane width for basic freeway
segment, i.e 3.6m then capacity is reduced because traffic flow tends to be restricted.
3. Shoulder widths and lateral clearances, shoulder width and lateral clearance influences
the capacity of freeway. When lane widths are less than 3.65 m, drivers are forced to
travel closer to one another laterally than they would normally desire. Drivers tend
to compensate for this by reducing their travel speed. The effect of restricted lateral
clearance is similar. When objects are located too close to the edge of the median and
roadside lanes, drivers in these lanes will shy away from them, positioning themselves
further from the lane edge hence capacity is reduced.
4. Design speed, freeway is designed for free flow speed around 120 km per hour ,if some
vehicle is moving less than the design speed then capacity of freeway.
5. Grades: Effect of grade depends on both the length and slope of the grade.Traffic operations significantly affected when grades of 3% or more are longer than one quarter miles
and when grades are less than 3% and longer than mile.The effect of heavy vehicles on
such grades is much greater.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

24.4

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

24. Freeway Operations

Traffic conditions
Traffic conditions that influence capacities and service levels include vehicle type and lane or
directional distribution.
Vehicle type The entry of heavy vehicles - that is, vehicles other than passenger cars (a
category that includes small trucks and vans) - into the traffic stream affects the number of
vehicles that can be served. Heavy vehicles are vehicles that have more than four tires touching
the pavement. Trucks, buses, and recreational vehicles (RVs) are the three groups of heavy
vehicles.
1. They are larger than passenger cars and occupy more roadway space; and
2. They have poorer operating capabilities than passenger cars, particularly with respect to
acceleration, deceleration, and the ability to maintain speed on upgrades.
Directional and Lane Distribution In addition to the distribution of vehicle types, two
other traffic characteristics affect capacity and level of service: directional distribution and lane
distribution. Each direction of the facility usually is designed to accommodate the peak flow
rate in the peak direction. Typically, morning peak traffic occurs in one direction and evening
peak traffic occurs in the opposite direction. Lane distribution also is a factor on multi lane
facilities. Typically, the shoulder lane carries less traffic than other lanes.
Control conditions
For interrupted-flow facilities, the control of the time for movement of specific traffic flows
is critical to capacity and level of service. The most critical type of control is the traffic
signal. The type of control in use, signal phasing, allocation of green time, cycle length,
and the relationship with adjacent control measures affect operations. Stop signs and yield
signs also affect capacity, but in a less deterministic way. A Impact of control conditions
traffic signal designates times when each movement is permitted; however, a stop sign at a
two-way stop-controlled intersection only designates the right-of-way to the major street. The
capacity of minor approaches depends on traffic conditions on the major street. An all-way stop
control forces drivers to stop and enter the intersection in rotation. Capacity and operational
characteristics can vary widely, depending on the traffic demands on the various approaches.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

24.5

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

24.4

24. Freeway Operations

Level of service (LOS) of a basic freeway segment

Level of service is defined as:


qualitatively measures both the operating conditions within a traffic system and
how these conditions are perceived by drivers and passengers.
These operational conditions within a traffic stream are generally described in terms of service
measures as speed and travel time, freedom to maneuver, traffic interruptions, and comfort
and convenience. The three measures of speed, density and flow are interrelated. If values
of two are known, the third can be computed. Six LOS are defined for each type of facility
that has analysis procedures available. Letters designate each level, from A to F, with LOS A
representing the best operating conditions and LOS F the worst. Each level of service represents
a range of operating conditions and the drivers perception of those conditions. Safety is not
included in the measures that establish service levels.
1. LOS A describes free-flow operations. Free-flow speeds prevail. Vehicles are almost
completely unimpeded in their ability to maneuver within the traffic stream. The effects
of incidents or point breakdowns are easily absorbed at this level.
2. LOS B represents reasonably free flow, and free-flow speeds are maintained. The ability
to maneuver within the traffic stream is only slightly restricted, and the general level of
physical and psychological comfort provided to drivers is still high. The effects of minor
incidents and point breakdowns are still easily absorbed.
3. LOS C provides for flow with speeds at or near the FFS of the freeway. Freedom to
maneuver within the traffic stream is noticeably restricted, and lane changes require
more care and vigilance on the part of the driver. Minor incidents may still be absorbed,
but the local deterioration in service will be substantial. Queues may be expected to form
behind any significant blockage.
4. LOS D is the level at which speeds begin to decline slightly with increasing flows and
density begins to increase somewhat more quickly. Freedom to maneuver within the
traffic stream is more noticeably limited, and the driver experiences reduced physical and
psychological comfort levels. Even minor incidents can be expected to create queuing,
because the traffic stream has little space to absorb disruptions.
5. LOS E describes operation at capacity. Operations at this level are volatile, because there
are virtually no usable gaps in the traffic stream. Vehicles are closely spaced leaving
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

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February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

24. Freeway Operations

Figure 24:2: LOS A


little room to maneuver within the traffic stream at speeds that still exceed 80 km/h.
Any disruption of the traffic stream, such as vehicles entering from a ramp or a vehicle
changing lanes, can establish a disruption wave that propagates throughout the upstream
traffic flow. At capacity, the traffic stream has no ability to dissipate even the most
minor disruption, and any incident can be expected to produce a serious breakdown with
extensive queuing. Maneuverability within the traffic stream is extremely limited, and
the level of physical and psychological comfort afforded the driver is poor.
6. LOS F describes breakdowns in vehicular flow. Such conditions generally exist within
queues forming behind breakdown points. Breakdowns occur for a number of reasons:
(a) Traffic incidents can cause a temporary reduction in the capacity of a short segment,
so that the number of vehicles arriving at the point is greater than the number of
vehicles that can move through it.
(b) Points of recurring congestion, such as merge or weaving segments and lane drops,
experience very high demand in which the number of vehicles arriving is greater than
the number of vehicles discharged.
In all cases, breakdown occurs when the ratio of existing demand to actual capacity
forecast demand to estimated capacity exceeds 1.00. The figures 24:2-24:7 given below
gives a better idea of the LOS classification done on the basis of density of the traffic
stream.

24.5

Determination of LOS

A basic freeway segment can be characterized by three performance measures: density in terms
of passenger cars per kilometer per lane, speed in terms of mean passenger-car speed, and
volume-to-capacity (v/c) ratio. Each of these measures is an indication of how well traffic flow
is being accommodated by the freeway. The measure used to provide an estimate of level of
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

24.7

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

24. Freeway Operations

Figure 24:3: LOS B

Figure 24:4: LOS C

Figure 24:5: LOS D

Figure 24:6: LOS E

Figure 24:7: LOS F


Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

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February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

24. Freeway Operations

service is density. The three measures of speed, density, and flow or volume are interrelated. If
values for two of these measures are known, the third can be computed.

24.5.1

Methodology

Level of service of an existing freeway is determined considering it as a stretch of basic freeway


segment. It means that we have to take all the base conditions decided for basic freeway
segment as a standard or initial input. The following steps are followed to determine the level
of service of a freeway.
1. The very first step of methodology is to collect all the input data like geometric data,
measured FFS or BFFS, volume.
2. volume adjustment: The hourly volume is converted into flow rate of passenger cars i.e
pc/hr/ln.
3. Computation of FFS: If BFFS is the input, then for getting the value of FFS ,we have
to adjust the BFFS for the lane width,number of lanes,interchange density and lateral
clearance.
4. computation of S(average passenger car speed): S is calculated from the FFS. If FFS is
measured directly in field, then FFS can be taken as S.
5. Speed-flow curve is designed and speed is determined using this curve.
6. Density is determined from the flow rate and speed taken from the speed-flow curve.
7. Based on the density, the corresponding level of service(LOS) can be determined .
The steps involved in calculation of LOS are1. Calculation of flow rate (Vp )
2. Calculation of average passenger car (S)
3. Calculation of density (D) and determining LOS

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

24.9

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

24.5.2

24. Freeway Operations

Calculating Flow rate (Vp )

The hourly flow rate must reflect the influence of heavy vehicles, the temporal variation of traffic
flow over an hour, and the characteristics of the driver population. These effects are reflected
by adjusting hourly volumes or estimates, typically reported in vehicles per hour (veh/h), to
arrive at an equivalent passenger-car flow rate in passenger cars per hour (pc/h). The equivalent
passenger-car flow rate is calculated using the heavy-vehicle and peak-hour adjustment factors
and is reported on a per lane basis (pc/h/ln). The flow rate can be given asVp =

V
P HF N fHV fP

(24.1)

where, V = hourly volume, P HF = peak hour factor (0.80-0.95), N = no. of lanes, fHV =
heavy vehicle adjustment factor, fP = driver population factor
Peak hour factor (PHF) The peak-hour factor (PHF) represents the variation in traffic
flow within an hour. Observations of traffic flow consistently indicate that the flow rates found
in the peak 15-min period within an hour are not sustained throughout the entire hour.
P HF =

V
V154

(24.2)

Where, V = hourly volume in veh/hr for hour of analysis, V1 5 = Maximum 15-min flow rate
within peak hour, 4 = number of 15-min period per hour.
On freeways, typical PHFs range from 0.80 to 0.95. Lower PHFs are characteristic of rural
freeways or off-peak conditions. Higher factors are typical of urban and suburban peak-hour
conditions. Field data should be used, if possible, to develop PHFs representative of local
conditions.
Heavy vehicle adjustment factor (fHV ) Freeway traffic volumes that include a mix of
vehicle types must be adjusted to an equivalent flow rate expressed in passenger cars per hour
per lane. This adjustment is made using the factor fHV . Once the values of ET and ER are
found, the adjustment factor, fHV , is determined by using equation given below fHV = 11 + PT (ET 1) + PR (ER 1)

(24.3)

where, ET , ER = passenger car equivalents for truck buses and recreational vehicles (RVs)
in traffic stream respectively, PT , PR = proportion of truck/buses and recreational vehicles in
traffic stream. Adjustments for heavy vehicles in the traffic stream apply for three vehicle types:
trucks, buses, and RVs. There is no evidence to indicate distinct differences in performance
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

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February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

24. Freeway Operations

between trucks and buses on freeways, and therefore trucks and buses are treated identically.
The factor fHV is found using a two-step process. First, the passenger-car equivalent for
each truck/bus and RV is found for the traffic and roadway conditions under study. These
equivalence values, ET and ER , represent the number of passenger cars that would use the same
amount of freeway capacity as one truck/bus or RV, respectively, under prevailing roadway and
traffic conditions. Second, using the values of ET and ER and the proportion of each type of
vehicle in the traffic stream (PT and PR ), the adjustment factor fHV is computed.
Driver population factor: Under base conditions, the traffic stream is assumed to consist of
regular weekday drivers and commuters.Such drivers have a high familiarity with the roadway
and generally maneuver and respond to the maneuvers of other drivers in a safe and predictable
fashion. But weekend drivers or recreational drivers are a problem. Such drivers can cause a
significant reduction in roadway capacity relative to the base condition of having only familiar
drivers. To account for the composition of the driver population, the fp adjustment factor is
used and its recommended range is 0.85 1.00.

24.5.3

Calculating average passenger car speed (S)

The average passenger car speed depends on the free flow speed (FFS) and flow rate as calculated earlier and can be given as - For, 90 F F S 120 and Vp (3100 15F F S),
S = FFS

(24.4)

For, 90 F F S 120 and (3100 15F F S) vP (1800 + 5F F S)


 


Vp + 15F F S 3100
26
S = F F S 1/28(23F F S 1800
20F F S 1300

(24.5)

The average of all passenger-car speeds measured in the field under low- to moderate- volume
conditions can be used directly as the FFS of the freeway segment.
Concept of free flow speed (FFS) Free flow speed can be defined as:
the mean speed of passenger cars that can be accommodated under low to moderate flow rates on a uniform freeway segment under prevailing roadway and traffic
conditions.
FFS is the mean speed of passenger cars measured during low to moderate flows (up to
1,300 pc/h/ln). For a specific segment of freeway, speeds are virtually constant in this range of
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

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Transportation Systems Engineering

24. Freeway Operations

Table 24:1: Adjustment for Lane Width (reduction in free-flow speed for various widths of lane
Lane Width (m) fLW (km/h)
3.6
0.0
3.5
1.0
3.4
2.1
3.3
3.1
3.2
5.6
3.1
8.1
3.0
10.6

flow rates. Two methods can be used to determine the FFS of a basic freeway segment: field
measurement and estimation with guidelines provided in this section. The field-measurement
procedure is provided for users who prefer to gather these data directly. If field measurement of
FFS is not possible, FFS can be estimated indirectly on the measurement is not possible basis of
the physical characteristics of the freeway segment being studied. The physical characteristics
include lane width, number of lanes, right-shoulder lateral clearance, and interchange density.
Equation given below is used to estimate the free-flow speed of a basic freeway segment:
F F S = BF F S fLW fLC f N fID

(24.6)

where, F F S = free flow speed (km/h), BF F S = base free flow speed (km/h), fLW = adjustment
for lane width (km/h), fLC = adjustment for right shoulder clearance (km/h),fN = adjustment
for no. of lanes (km/h), fID = adjustment for interchange density (km/h) Estimation of FFS
for an existing or future freeway segment is accomplished adjusting a base free-flow speed
downward to reflect the influence of four factors: lane width, lateral clearance, number of
lanes, and interchange density. Thus, the analyst is required to select an appropriate BFFS as
a starting point.
Adjustment for Lane Width The base condition for lane width is 3.6 m or greater. When
the average lane width across all lanes is less than 3.6 m, the base free-flow speed (e.g., 120
km/h) is reduced. Adjustments to reflect the effect of narrower average lane width are given
in Table 24:1.
Adjustment for Lateral Clearance Base lateral clearance is 1.8 m or greater on the right
side and 0.6 m or greater on the median or left side, measured from the edge of the paved
shoulder to the nearest edge of the travelled lane. When the right-shoulder lateral clearance
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24. Freeway Operations

Table 24:2: Adjustment for Lateral Clearance (reduction in free-flow speed for various values
of lateral clearance)
Right Shoulder
fLC (km/h)
Lateral
Lanes in One Direction
Clearance (m)
2
3
4
5
1.8
0.0 0.0 0.0
0.0
1.5
1.0 0.7 0.3
0.2
1.2
1.9 1.3 0.7
0.4
0.9
2.9 1.9 1.0
0.6
0.6
3.9 2.6 1.3
0.8
0.3
4.8 3.2 1.6
1.1
0.0
5.8 3.9 1.9
1.3

Table 24:3: Adjustment for number of lanes (reduction in free-flow speed for number of lanes
in one direction)
Number of Lanes fN (km/h)
5
0.0
4
2.4
3
4.8
2
7.3

is less than 1.8 m, the BFFS is reduced. Adjustments to reflect the effect of narrower rightshoulder lateral clearance are given in Table 24:2.
Adjustment for Number of Lanes Freeway segments with five or more lanes (in one
direction) are considered as having base conditions with respect to number of lanes. When
fewer lanes are present, the BFFS is reduced. Table 24:3 provides adjustments to reflect the
effect of number of lanes on BFFS. In determining number of lanes, only mainline lanes, both
basic and auxiliary, should be considered.
Adjustment for Interchange Density The base interchange density is 0.3 interchanges
per kilometer, or 3.3-km interchange spacing. Base free-flow speed is reduced when interchange
density becomes greater. Adjustments to reflect the effect of interchange density are provided in
Table 24:4. Interchange density is determined over a 10-km segment of freeway (5 km upstream
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

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Transportation Systems Engineering

24. Freeway Operations

Table 24:4: Adjustment for Interchange Density (Reduction in Free-Flow Speed for various
values of interchange density)
Interchanges per km fID (km/h)
0.3
0.0
0.4
1.1
0.5
2.1
0.6
3.9
0.7
5.0
0.8
6.0
0.9
8.1
1.0
9.2
1.1
10.2
1.2
12.1

and 5 km downstream) in which the freeway segment is located. An interchange is defined as


having at least one on-ramp. Therefore, interchanges that have only off-ramps would not be
considered in determining interchange density. Interchanges considered should include typical
interchanges with arterial or highways and major freeway-to-freeway interchanges.

24.5.4

Calculation of Density and determining LOS

Level of service on the basis of density can be calculated using the equation 24.7
Vp
(24.7)
S
Where, D = density (pc/km/ln), Vp = flow rate (pc/h/ln), S = average passenger car speed
(km/h). The density of the traffic stream can be used to determine the level of service of a
freeway segment. Level-of-service thresholds based on density for a basic freeway segment are
summarized in the Table 24:5 shown below.
D=

Numerical example 1
Consider an existing four lane freeway in rural area, having very restricted geometry with
rolling terrain. Peak hour volume is 2000 veh/h with 5% trucks. The traffic is commuter type
with peak hour factor 0.92 and interchange density as 0.6 interchanges per kilometer. Freeway
consists of two lanes in each direction of 3.3 m width with lateral clearance of 0.6 m. Find the
LOS of freeway during peak hour.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

24.14

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

24. Freeway Operations

Table 24:5: LOS for a freeway segment


LOS Density Range (pc/km/ln)
A
0-7
B
>7 - 11
C
>11 - 16
D
>16 - 22
E
>22 - 28
F
>28

Solution Assumptions: Assume 0 percent buses and RVs since none are indicated. Assume
BFFS of 120 km/h for rural areas. Since the freeway is in a rural area assume that the number
of lanes does not affect free-flow speed. Assume fp = 1.00 for commuter traffic. We can get the
corresponding values of adjustment factors from the tables as - fLW =3.1, fLC =3.9, fID =3.9
and fN =0.
Step 1 Find fHV using equation 24.3 as given below fHV

1
1 + PT (ET 1) + PR (ER 1)
1
=
1 + 0.05(2.5 1) + 0
= 0.930
=

Step 2 Convert volume (veh/h) to flow rate (pc/h/ln) using equation as given below
V
P HF N fHV fP
2000
=
0.92 2 0.930 1.00
= 1, 169 pc/h/ln

Vp =

Step 3 Compute free-flow speed from equation 24.6 as given below and putting the respective
values of adjustment factors we get F F S as
F F S = BF F S fLW fLC fN fID
= 120 3.1 3.9 0.0 3.9
= 109.1 kmph.
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24. Freeway Operations

Step 4 Determine the density using the equation 24.7 as Vp


S
Since, 90 F F S 120 and Vp (3100 15F F S) we can take S = F F S (from equation 24.4).
Keeping values of Vp and S we can get the value of density as D =

D =

1169
= 10.7 pc/km/ln
109.1

Step 5 Find Level of service, for the calculated value of density we can get the level of service
from the LOS table. i.e for D = 10.7 pc/km/ln we get LOS = B
Numerical example 2
A new suburban freeway is designed in the level terrain. Peak hour volume is 4,000 veh/h and
the flow consists of 15% trucks and 3% recreational vehicles (RVs). The traffic is commuter
type with peak hour factor 0.85 and interchange density as 0.9 interchanges per kilometer. Lane
width is proposed to be 3.6 m with lateral clearance of 1.8 m. How many lanes are needed to
provide LOS C during the peak hour?
Solution Assumptions: Assume BF F S of 120 km/h. Since the freeway is being designed in
a suburban area assume that the number of lanes affects free-flow speed. For commuter traffic
we can take fp = 1.00. We can get the corresponding values of adjustment factors from the
tables as - fLW = 0, fLC = 0, fID = 8.1 and fN = 4.8.
Step 1 Find fHV using equation 24.3 as given below:
fHV

1
1 + PT (ET 1) + PR (ER 1)
1
=
1 + 0.15(1.5 1) + 0.03(1.2 1)
= 0.925

Step 2 Convert volume (veh/h) to flow rate (pc/h/ln) using equation 24.2. Consider a four
lane option, for four lane N = 2, keeping value of fHV and N in equation 24.2 we get Vp as:
V
P HF N fHV fP
4000
=
0.85 2 0.925 1.00
= 2, 544 pc/h/ln.

Vp =

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Transportation Systems Engineering

24. Freeway Operations

Four lane option is not acceptable as 2544 pc/h/ln exceeds capacity of 2400 pc/h/ln. Here
2400 pc/h/ln is the capacity of a single lane under standard conditions.
Step 4 Consider a six lane option
4000
(.85 3 0.925 1.00
= 1, 696 pc/h/ln.

Vp =

Step 5 Compute FFS for a six-lane freeway from equation 24.6 and putting the respective
values of adjustment factors we get F F S as:
F F S = BF F S fLW fLC fN fID
= 120 0 0 4.8 8.1
= 107.1. km/h.
Step 6 Determine density from equation 24.7
D =

Vp
S

Since, 90 F F S 120 and vp (310015F F S) we can take S = F F S (from equation 24.4)


Putting values of Vp and S we get density as
D =

1696
= 15.8 pc/km/ln
107.1

Step 7 Check the LOS, for the calculated value of density we can get the level of service
from the LOS table; i.e for D = 15.8 pc/km/ln we get LOS = C. Hence number of lanes to be
provided to satisfy LOS C during peak hour = 6.

24.6

Weaving in freeways

Weaving is defined as the crossing of two or more traffic streams travelling in the same general
direction along a significant length of highway without the aid of traffic control devices (with the
exception of guide signs). Weaving segments are formed when a merge area is closely followed
by a diverge area, or when an on-ramp is closely followed by an off-ramp and the two are joined
by an auxiliary lane.
Weaving segments require intense lane-changing maneuvers as drivers must access lanes
appropriate to their desired exit points. Thus, traffic in a weaving segment is subject to
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24. Freeway Operations

Figure 24:8: Simple weaving segment


turbulence in excess of that normally present on basic freeway segments. The turbulence
presents special operational problems and design requirements. Fig. 24:8 shows the simple
weaving segment formed by a single merge point followed by a single diverge point. Multiple
weaving segments may be formed where one merge is followed by two diverge points or where
two merge points are followed by one diverge point.

24.6.1

Weaving configurations

The most critical aspect of operations within a weaving segment is lane changing. Weaving
vehicles, which must cross a roadway to enter on the right and leave on the left, or vice versa,
accomplish these maneuvers by making the appropriate lane changes. The configuration of the
weaving segment (i.e., the relative placement of entry and exit lanes) has a major effect on the
number of lane changes required of weaving vehicles to successfully complete their maneuver.
There is also a distinction between lane changes that must be made to weave successfully and
additional lane changes that are discretionary (i.e., are not necessary to complete the weaving
maneuver). The former must take place within the confined length of the weaving segment,
whereas the latter are not restricted to the weaving segment itself. There are three major
categories of weaving configurations: Type A, Type B, and Type C.
Type A weaving configuration
The identifying characteristic of a Type A weaving segment is that all weaving vehicles must
make one lane change to complete their maneuver successfully. All of these lane changes occur
across a lane line that connects from the entrance gore area directly to the exit gore area. Such
a line is referred to as a crown line. Type A weaving segments are the only such segments to
have a crown line.
The most common form of Type A weaving segment is shown in Fig. 24:9. The segment is
formed by a one-lane on-ramp followed by a one-lane off-ramp, with the two connected by a
continuous auxiliary lane. The lane line between the auxiliary lane and the right-hand freeway
lane is the crown line for the weaving segment. All on-ramp vehicles entering the freeway must
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

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Transportation Systems Engineering

24. Freeway Operations

Figure 24:9: Ramp Weave


A

Figure 24:10: Major Weave


make a lane change from the auxiliary lane to the shoulder lane of the freeway. All freeway
vehicles exiting at the off-ramp must make a lane change from the shoulder lane of the freeway
to the auxiliary lane. This type of configuration is also referred to as a ramp-weave. Fig. 24:10
illustrates a major weaving segment that also has a crown line. A major weaving segment is
formed when three or four of the entry and exit legs have multiple lanes. As in the case of a
ramp-weave, all weaving vehicles, regardless of the direction of the weave, must execute one
lane change across the crown line of the segment.
Type B weaving configuration
Type B weaving segments are shown in Figs. 24:11 to 24:13. All Type B weaving segments
fall into the general category of major weaving segments in that such segments always have
at least three entry and exit legs with multiple lanes (except for some collector distributor
configurations). It is the lane changing required of weaving vehicles that characterizes for the
Type B configuration:
1. One weaving movement can be made without making any lane changes, and
2. The other weaving movement requires at most one lane change.
Figs. 24:11 to 24:13 show two Type B weaving segments. In both cases, Lane balance defined
Movement B-C (entry on the right, departure on the left) may be made without executing any
lane changes, whereas Movement A-D (entry on the left, departure on the right) requires only
one lane change. Essentially, there is a continuous lane that allows for entry on the right and
departure on the left.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

24.19

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

24. Freeway Operations

A
C

B
D

Figure 24:11: Major Weave with Lane Balance at Exit Gore


A

Figure 24:12: Major Weave with Merge at Entry Gore


In Fig. 24:11 this is accomplished by providing a diverging lane at the exit gore. From this
lane, a vehicle may proceed down either exit leg without executing a lane change. This type
of design is also referred to as lane balanced, that is, the number of lanes leaving the diverge
is one more than the number of lanes approaching it. In Fig. 24:12 the same lane-changing
scenario is provided by having a lane from Leg A merge with a lane from Leg B at the entrance
gore. This is slightly less efficient than providing lane balance at the exit gore but produces
similar numbers of lane changes by weaving vehicles. The configuration shown in Fig. 24:13
is unique, having both a merge of two lanes at the entrance gore and lane balance at the exit
gore. In this case, both weaving movements can take place without making a lane change. Such
configurations are most often found on collector-distributor roadways as part of an interchange.

Figure 24:13: Major Weave with Merge at Entry Gore and Lane Balance at Exit Gore

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

24.20

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

24. Freeway Operations

A
C

Figure 24:14: Major Weave without Lane Balance or Merging


D

Figure 24:15: Two-Sided Weave


Type C weaving configuration
Type C weaving segments are similar to those of Type B in that one or more through lanes
are provided for one of the weaving movements. The distinguishing characteristic of a Type C
weaving segment is that the other weaving movement requires a minimum of two lane changes
for successful completion of a weaving maneuver. Thus, a Type C weaving segment is characterized by the following:
1. One weaving movement may be made without making a lane change, and
2. The other weaving movement requires two or more lane changes.
Figs. 24:14 to 24:15 shows two types of Type C weaving segments. In Fig. 24:14 Movement
B-C does not require a lane change, whereas Movement A-D requires two lane changes. This
type of segment is formed when there is neither merging of lanes at the entrance gore nor lane
balance at the exit gore, and no crown line exists. Although such a segment is relatively efficient
for weaving movements in the direction of the freeway flow, it cannot efficiently handle large
weaving flows in the other direction.
Fig. 24:15 shows a two-sided weaving segment. It is formed when a right-hand on-ramp is
followed by a left-hand off-ramp, or vice versa. In such cases, the through freeway flow operates
functionally as a weaving flow. Ramp-to-ramp vehicles must cross all lanes of the freeway to
execute their desired maneuver. Freeway lanes are, in effect, through weaving lanes, and rampto-ramp vehicles must make multiple lane changes as they cross from one side of the freeway
to the other.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

24.21

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

24.6.2

24. Freeway Operations

Effect of weaving configuration

The configuration of the weaving segment has a marked effect on operations because of its
influence on lane-changing behavior. A weaving segment with 1,000 veh/h weaving across
1,000 veh/h in the other direction requires at least 2,000 lane changes per hour in a Type A
segment, since each vehicle makes one lane change. In a Type B segment, only one movement
must change lanes, reducing the number of required lane changes per hour to 1,000. In a Type
C segment, one weaving flow would not have to change lanes, while the other would have to
make at least two lane changes, for a total of 2,000 lane changes per hour.
Configuration has a further effect on the proportional use of lanes by weaving and lanes non
weaving vehicles. Since weaving vehicles must occupy specific lanes to efficiently complete their
maneuvers, the configuration can limit the ability of weaving vehicles to use outer lanes of
the segment. This effect is most pronounced for Type A segments, because weaving vehicles
must primarily occupy the two lanes adjacent to the crown line. It is least severe for Type
B segments, since these segments require the fewest lane changes for weaving vehicles, thus
allowing more flexibility in lane use.

24.7

Conclusion

Freeways are most efficient type of highway. Level of service (LOS) is a quality measure
describing operational conditions within a traffic stream of freeways. Prevailing roadway, traffic
and control conditions define capacity; these conditions should be reasonably uniform for any
section of freeway analysed. Freeway management system works for smooth operations of
freeway.

24.8

References

1. Traffic operations, traffic signal systems and freeway operations, 1995.


2. Freeway operations, 2019. Highway Research Board, bulletin 324; 1962 ; pageno. 46-73.
3. James H Banks. Introduction to transportation engineering. Tata Mc-Graw Hill, 2004.
4. Highway Capacity Manual. Transportation Research Board. National Research Council,
Washington, D.C., 2000.
5. C S Papacostas. Transportation engineering and planning by Papacostas. C. S, 3rd
edition, Prentice-Hall of India in 2001. Prentice-Hall of India, 2001.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

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Transportation Systems Engineering

24. Freeway Operations

6. Roess P Roger and Jose M Ulerio. Level of Service Analysis of Freeway Weaving Segments.
Transportation Research Record:2130, 2009.
7. S Wolfgang, Homburger, and James H Kell. Fundamentals of Traffic Engineering 12th
Edition. San Francisco, 1997.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

24.23

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

25. Ramp Metering

Chapter 25
Ramp Metering
25.1

Introduction

Ramp metering can be defined as a method by which traffic seeking to gain access to a busy
highway is controlled at the access point via traffic signals. This control aims at maximize the
capacity of the highway and prevent traffic flow breakdown and the onset of congestion. Ramp
metering is the use of traffic signals to control the flow of traffic entering a freeway facility.
Ramp metering, when properly applied, is a valuable tool for efficient traffic management on
freeways and freeway networks.

25.1.1

Objectives

The objectives of ramp metering includes:


1. Controlling the number of vehicles that are allowed to enter the freeway,
2. Reducing freeway demand, and
3. Breaking up of the platoon of vehicles released from an upstream traffic signal.
Figure 25:1 given below is a typical example of ramp metering. The signal placed at the ramp,
controls the traffic flow which can enter the freeway through merge lane. Vehicle detectors are
also shown at the downstream end of the freeway.

25.1.2

Benefits

Ramp metering has many positive benefits in freeway management with in measurable parameters such as reduced delay, reduced travel time, reduced accident risk and increased operating
speed. The typical advantages are:

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

25.1

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

25. Ramp Metering

Traffic signal
on merge
ramp
Merge lane

Vehicle detectors monitoring


traffic density through lane
occupancy

Direction of travel

Figure 25:1: Schematic diagram of ramp metering


1. Improved System Operation: Ramp metering essentially aims to control the access to
a freeway to reduce congestion, freeway delay and ultimately overall delay. Although
several ramp metering strategies are available with individual pros and cons, overall,
ramp metering helps to break up platoons of vehicles from entering a freeway and causing
turbulence, reduces delay due to random access and defers if not eliminates the onset of
congestion.
2. Improved Safety: Ramp areas are accident prone areas due to unmanaged merging and
diverging. Ramp metering makes merging and diverging operation to a freeway smooth
and controlled, reducing the risk of accidents arising out of sudden driver decisions. Random entry of platoons is also prevented which decreases the risk of accidents at merge or
diverge areas.
3. Reduced vehicle operating expense and emission: Ramp metering essentially reduces the
number of stops and delays for the freeway as well as the ramps. This in turn reduces
the fuel consumption and emission for a vehicle.

25.2

Metering strategies

Metering strategies can be defined as the approach used to control the traffic the flow on the
ramps. Three Ramp metering strategies are available to control the flow on the ramps which
can enter the busy freeway. Capacity of an uncontrolled single-lane freeway entrance ramp
is 1800 to 2200 vehicles per hour (VPH). Since Ramp metering is a traffic flow controlling
approach it decreases the capacity of the ramps. Three ramp-metering strategies are as follows:

25.2.1

Single-lane one car per green

Single-lane one car per green ramp metering strategy allows only one car to enter the freeway
during each signal cycle. The salient features of this strategy are:
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

25.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

25. Ramp Metering

1. The length of green plus yellow indications is set to ensure sufficient time for one vehicle
to cross the stop line. The length of red interval should be sufficient to ensure that the
following vehicle completely stops before proceeding.
2. A typical cycle length is taken as, the smallest possible cycle is 4 seconds with 1 second
green, 1 second yellow, and 2 seconds red. This produces a meter capacity of 900 VPH.
3. A more reasonable cycle is around 4.5 seconds, obtained by increasing the red time to 2.5
seconds. This increase in red would result in a lower meter capacity of 800 VPH.

25.2.2

Single-lane multiple cars per Green

Single-Lane Multiple Cars per Green is also known as Platoon metering, or bulk metering. This
approach allows two or more vehicles to enter the freeway during each green indication. The
most common form of this strategy is to allow two cars per green. The salient features of this
type of ramp metering are:
1. Three or more cars can be allowed; however, this will sacrifice the third objective(breaking
up large platoons).
2. Furthermore, contrary to what one might think, bulk metering does not produce a drastic
increase in capacity over a single-lane one car per green operation. This is because this
strategy requires longer green and yellow times as ramp speed increases, resulting in a
longer cycle length. Consequently, there are fewer cycles in one hour.
3. Two cars per green strategy requires cycle lengths between 6 and 6.5 seconds and results
in metering capacity of 1100 to 1200 VPH. This analysis illustrates that bulk metering
does not double capacity and this finding should be noted.

25.2.3

Dual-lane metering

In dual lane metering two lanes are required to be provided on the ramp in the vicinity of the
meter which necks down to one lane at the merge. The salient features of this type of ramp
metering are:
1. In this strategy, the controller displays the green-yellow-red cycle for each lane.
2. Synchronized cycles are used such that the green indications never occur simultaneously
in both lanes.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

25.3

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

25. Ramp Metering

Fair

Good

Metering quality
100
90
80
70
60

Dual lane,
single entry

1 car/green
2 cars/green

50
40

Fail

30

3 cars/green

20
10
0
800 900 1000 1100 1200 1300 1400 1500 1600 1700 1800

Ramp demand volume (vph)

Figure 25:2: Comparison of metering quality of different approaches with Ramp demand volume
3. The green indications are timed to allow a constant headway between vehicles from both
lanes. Dual-lane metering can provide metering capacity of 1600 to 1700 VPH.
4. In addition, dual-lane ramps provide more storage space for queued vehicles.

25.2.4

Quality of metering

The quality of ramp metering essentially implies the efficiency of handling the flow and reducing
unnecessary delays through metering strategies. For a ramp meter to produce the desired
benefits, the engineer should select a metering strategy appropriate for the current or projected
ramp demand. The ramp width will depend on this selection. The following fig. 25:2 shows the
metering availability (percent of time the signal is metering) of the three metering strategies
for a range of ramp demand volumes. In Figure 25:2, if the flow on a single lane ramp which
has Single-Lane One Car per Green approach is 1000 vph, then the metering availability is
only 80 percent since the metering approach installed has the capacity of 800 vph. Therefore
metering availability decreases as the traffic flow increases. If the flow is around 1600 vph then
Dual-Lane Metering gives 100 percent metering availability. Thus it is imperative to select the
metering strategy based on the flow and accordingly select the required ramp width.

25.3

Design of ramp metering

There are some considerations to be taken into account before designing and installing a ramp
meter. Installation of a ramp meter to achieve the desired objectives requires sufficient room
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

25.4

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

25. Ramp Metering

at the entrance ramp. The determination of minimum ramp length to provide safe, efficient,
and desirable operation requires careful consideration of several elements described below:
1. Sufficient room must be provided for a stopped vehicle at the meter to accelerate and
attain safe merge speeds.
2. Sufficient space must be provided to store the resulting cyclic queue of vehicles without
blocking an upstream signalized intersection.
3. Sufficient room must be provided for vehicles discharged from the upstream signal to
safely stop behind the queue of vehicles being metered.
Provision for the distances mentioned is an integral part of ramp design. Figure 25:3 illustrates
the requirements for the different types of distances explained above.

25.3.1

Minimum stopping distance to the back of queue

Sufficient stopping distance is required to be provided prior to entry to the ramp. Motorists
leaving an upstream signalized interchange will likely encounter the rear end of a queue as they
proceed toward the meter. Adequate maneuvering and stopping distances should be provided
for both turning and frontage road traffic. This stopping distance calculated similar to the
stopping sight distance which is a combination of the brake distance and lag distance travelled
by a vehicle before stopping. The equation to calculate the minimum stopping distance is given
below:
v2
(25.1)
X = vt +
2gf
where, X is the stopping distance in meters, v is the velocity of the vehicle in m/sec, t is the time
in seconds, g is the gravity coefficient in m/sec2 , f is the friction coefficient. This is the minimum
distance to be provided from the back of the queue for safe stopping of vehicles approaching
the ramp. Figure 25:3 shows Safe stopping distance, storage distance and acceleration distance
which are respective three criteria for ramp design.

25.3.2

Storage distance

The storage distance is required to store the vehicles in queue to a ramp meter. The queue
detector controls the maximum queue length in real-time. Thus, the distance between the meter
and the queue detector defines the storage space. The following generalized spacing model can
be used to determine the single-lane storage distance:
L = aV bV 2
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

V 1600 vph
25.5

(25.2)
February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

25. Ramp Metering

Queue Single lane


Detector meter

Acceleration distance
Ramp length
Storage space

Safe stopping distance

Distance to meter (metres)

Figure 25:3: Components of Ramp design criteria

200

Dual lane
Bulk metering
Single lane

150

100

50

0
0

300

600

900

1200

1500

Ramp demand volume (vph)

Figure 25:4: Variation of distance to meter with Ramp demand volume for different strategies
of Ramp metering
In this equation, L (in meters) is the required single-lane storage distance on the ramp when
the expected peak-hour ramp demand volume is V vph and a, b are constants. This figure
shows the requirements for three metering strategies:
1. Single-lane with single vehicle release per cycle.
2. Single-lane with bulk metering (three vehicles per green).
3. Dual-lane metering assuming single-line storage.
In the Figure 25:4 the curve is shown for the variation of storage distance i.e. distance to meter
with ramp demand volume for different strategy used for Ramp metering.

25.3.3

Distance from meter to merge

The distance from meter to merge is provided so that vehicles can attain a suitable merging
speed after being discharged from the ramp meter. AASHTO provides speed-distance profiles
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

25.6

February 19, 2014

Distance to merge (metres)

Transportation Systems Engineering

25. Ramp Metering

700

3%

600
500

0%

400
3%

300
200
100
0
60

70

80

90

100

Freeway merge speed (km/hr)

Figure 25:5: Acceleration length v/s merge speed for different strategies of Ramp metering
Table 25:1: Acceleration length of ramps
Merge speed
(kmph)
60
70
80
90
100

Ramp Grade (%)


-3
0
+3
90 112 150
127 158 208
180 228 313
248 323 466
331 442 665

for various classes of vehicles as they accelerate from a stop to speed for various ramp grades.
Figure 25:5, given below provides similar acceleration distances needed to attain various freeway
merging speeds based on AASHTO design criteria. Table 25:1 provides the acceleration length
for different merge speed and with ramps of different grade. The desired distances to merge
increases with increasing freeway merge speed and the same ramp grade.

25.4

Ramp design methodology

To model the ramp influence area, a length of 450 m just upstream (for off ramp) and downstream (for on ramp) is considered to be affected. The input data required is the geometric
data of the freeway and the ramp and the demand flow. The three steps of design are:
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

25.7

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

V
F

V12

25. Ramp Metering

D S
R R
VR 12

VFO

450 m

Figure 25:6: Schematic view of a typical merging area


1. The flow entering lanes 1 and 2 of the freeway upstream of merge area or diverge area is
first determined.
2. The capacity of the freeway, ramp and merge and diverge areas are determined and
checked with limiting values to determine the chance of occurrence of congestion.
3. The density in the ramp influence area is then found out and depending on the value f
this variable, the level of service is determined.
From design point of view analysis of merge area and diverge area are treated separately but
follows the same basic principle already explained.

25.5

Merging influence area

The Merging influence area is the area where increase in local density, congestion, and reduced
speeds is generally observed due to merging traffic from ramps. The ramp contributing traffic
to the freeway is called an ON ramp. The analysis of the merging influence area is done to find
out the level of service of the ON ramp (Figure 25:6). The analysis of merge area is done in
following three primary steps:

25.5.1

Predicting entering flow

The first step of the merge area analysis is to predict the flow entering lanes 1and 2 of the
freeway (V12 ). The terms used in above figure are explained below. V12 is influenced by the
following factors:
1. Total freeway flow approaching merge area (VF ) (pc/h): The total approach flow is the
most important influencing factor for the flow remaining in lanes 1 and 2 of the freeway.
2. Total Ramp Flow (VR ): This is the total flow on the ramp which ultimately enters the
freeway to merge with existing flow.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

25.8

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

25. Ramp Metering

3. Total length of acceleration lane: A longer acceleration lane reduces the turbulence and
hence the density in the influence area of the ramp. The flow in the lanes 1 and 2 thus
are higher.
4. Free- flow speed of ramp at point of merge area: Higher the free flow speed of ramp
vehicles, vehicles on freeway tend to move away from merging flow to avoid high speed
turbulence.
HCM 2000 provides model for predicting V12 at on-ramps as given below:
V12 = VF PF M

(25.3)

where V12 is the flow rate in lane 1 and 2 of freeway entering ramp influence area (pc/h), VF
is the total freeway flow approaching merge area, and PF M is the Proportion of approaching
freeway flow remaining in lanes 1 and 2 immediately upstream of merge. For four lanes freeway
(2 lanes in each direction) PF M = 1.00

25.5.2

Determining capacity

Determining the capacity of the merge area is the second step of the analysis. The capacity
of a merge area is determined by the capacity of the downstream freeway segment. Thus, the
total flow arriving on the upstream freeway and the on-ramp cannot exceed the basic freeway
capacity of the departing downstream freeway segment.
vR12 = v12 + vR

(25.4)

Two conditions may occur in a given analysis:


1. The total departing freeway flow, given as V = vF + vR , is greater than the capacity of
the down steam freeway segment, and hence the LOS is F and queuing is expected on
the freeway.
2. Flow entering the ramp influence area exceeds its capacity but total departing freeway
flow is within capacity. This may result in in local high densities and queuing is not
expected on the freeway.

25.5.3

Determining LOS

Determining the level of service (LOS) of the merge area is the third step in merge area analysis.
LOS depends on the density in the influencing area. HCM 2000 provides the equation to
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

25.9

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

25. Ramp Metering

Table 25:2: LOS criteria for merge and diverge areas


LOS
Density (pc/km/lane)
A
6
B
6 - 12
C
12 - 17
D
17 - 22
E
> 22
F
Demands exceeds capacity

estimate the density in the merge influence area.


DR = a + b VR + c V12 + d LA

(25.5)

where, DR is the density of merge influence area (pc/km/ln), VR is the on-ramp peak 15-min
flow rate (pc/h), LA is the length of acceleration lane (m), V12 is the flow rate entering ramp
influence area (pc/h), and a, b, c, and d are constants.
Numerical example
Consider a single lane on-ramp to a six-lane freeway. The length of the acceleration lane is 150
m. What is the LOS during the peak hour for the first on-ramp? Given that the peak hour
factor is 0.95, the heavy vehicle adjustment factor is 0.976, the driver adjustment factor is 1.0
and proportion of approaching freeway flow remaining is 55.5%? The freeway volume is 3000
veh/hr and the on-ramp volume is 1800 veh/hr.
Solution
1. Convert volume to flow rate: Convert volume in (veh/hr) to flow rate (pc/hr) using
vi =

Vi
P HF Fhv Fp

where, vi is the flow rate in pc/hr for direction i, Vi is the hourly volume in veh/hr for
direction i, PHF is the peak hour factor, and Fhv is the adjustment factor for heavy
vehicles, and Fp is the adjustment factor for driver population.
VF = 3236 pc/hr (Fhv = 0.976, F p = 1.000)
VR = 1941 pc/hr (Fhv = 0.976, F p = 1.000)
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

25.10

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

25. Ramp Metering

2. Compute V12 as:


V12 = VF PF M
= 3236 0.555 = 1796 pc/hr.
3. Compute density at ramp influence area using equation:
DR = a + b VR + c V12 + d LA
= 3.402 + 0.00456 VR + 0.0048 V12 0.01278 LA
= 3.402 + 0.00456 1941 + 0.0048 1796 0.01278 150
= 18.96 pc/km/ln.
4. Compute LOS For DR =18.96 pc/km/ln, the LOS = D from the LOS table above.

25.6

Diverge influence area

The Diverging influence area is the area where increase in local density, congestion, and reduced
speeds is generally observed due to diverging traffic to ramps. The ramp which diverge traffic
to the ramp is called an OFF ramp. The analysis of the diverging influence area is done to
find out the level of service of the OFF ramp. The analysis of diverge area is done in following
three primary steps:

25.6.1

Predicting entering flow

The first step is same as that of merge area analysis. The flow in lanes 1 and 2 of the freeway
is first predicted. However, there are two major differences in the analysis of diverge area.
1. First, approaching flow V12 is measured for a point immediately upstream of the deceleration lane.
2. Second, V12 includes VR at the diverge area. V12 is the flow rate entering ramp influence
area (pc/h), and vR is the Off-ramp demand flow rate (pc/h).
The general model given by HCM 2000 treats V12 as the sum of the off-ramp flow plus a
proportion of the through freeway flow.
V12 = VR + (VF VR ) PF D
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

25.11

(25.6)

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

V
F

V12

25. Ramp Metering

VR12

D S
R R

450 m

V
FO

V
R

Figure 25:7: Typical diverging area diagram


where, V12 is the flow rate in lanes 1 and 2 of freeway upstream of diverge area in (pc/hr),
VF is the freeway demand flow rate immediately upstream of diverge in (pc/h), and PF D is
the proportion of through freeway flow remaining in lanes 1 and 2 immediately upstream of
diverge. For four lanes freeway (2 lanes in each direction) PF D is 1.00.

25.6.2

Determining capacity

As in the merge area analysis, determining the capacity is the second step of the diverge area
analysis. Three limiting values should be checked:
1. Total flow that can depart from the diverge: this is limited by the capacity of the lanes
in the freeway prior to approach of the diverge.
2. The capacities of the departing freeway leg or legs or ramp or both. This is the most
important of the three as generally diverge areas fail due to failure of one or more exit
legs..
3. V12 (approaching flow) prior to deceleration lane: this flow also includes the off-ramp flow
and must be checked against capacity.

25.6.3

Determining LOS

Determine the level of service (LOS) of the diverge area is the third step of the diverge area
analysis. LOS criteria for diverge area are based on density in the diverge influence area. HCM
2000 provides the equation to estimate the density in the merge influence area.
DR = a + b V12 + cLD

(25.7)

where, DR is the density of diverge influence area (pc/km/ln), V12 is the flow rate entering ramp
influence area (pc/h), LD is the length of deceleration lane(m), and a, b & c are constants.
This equation is applicable only for under saturated conditions of flow. The density calculation
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

25.12

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

25. Ramp Metering

DR S R

150 m

225 m

90 m

Figure 25:8: Numerical example


is not done when either of the three capacities mentioned earlier are exceeded. In such cases,
the LOS is assigned as F.
Numerical example
Consider an off-ramp (Single-lane) pair, 225 meters apart, from a six lane freeway. The length
of the first deceleration lane is 150m and that of the second deceleration lane is 90 m. What is
the LOS during the peak hour for the first off-ramp given that the peak hour factor is 0.95, the
heavy vehicle adjustment factor is 0.93, the driver adjustment factor is 1.0 and the proportion
of through freeway flow remaining is 61.7%? The freeway volume is 4500 veh/hr and the first
off-ramp volume is 300 veh/hr.
Solution
1. Convert volume to flow rate: Convert volume in veh/hr to flow rate in pc/hr as
follows:
Vi
(P HF Fhv Fp )
= 5093 pc/hr (Fhv = 0.930, Fp = 1.0)

vi =
VF

VR =

340 pc/hr (Fhv = 0.930, Fp = 1.0)

2. Compute V12 as below:


V12 = VR + (VF VR ) P F D
= 340 + (5093 340) (0.617)
= 3273 pc/hr
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

25.13

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

25. Ramp Metering

3. Compute density at ramp influence area as below:


DR = 2.642 + 0.0053 V12 0.0183 LD
DR = 2.642 + 0.0053 3273 0.0183 150
DR = 17.2 pc/km/ln.
4. Determine LOS: For DR =17.2 pc/km/ln the LOS is D.

25.7

Fixed, reactive and predictive systems

There are two different metering approaches available. First is Pre-timed metering, which use
fixed signal cycles. Second is Traffic responsive, which uses real time traffic data to calculate
signal cycle lengths. Traffic responsive systems can be local or system-wide.

25.7.1

Pre-timed (fixed) systems

In the pre-timed ramp metering systems, the ramp signal operates with a constant cycle in accordance with a metering rate prescribed for the particular control period.. the salient features
of this type of ramp metering are:
1. It is the simplest and least expensive form of ramp metering for construction and installation.
2. It is also the most rigid approach because it cannot make adjustments for real-time
conditions including non-recurring congestion (i.e., congestion that occurs as a result of
weather, collisions, etc.).
3. Th system being pre-timed, it is best used to address conditions that are predictable from
day-today.
4. If there is no mainline or ramp detection, agencies must regularly collect data by alternative means in order to analyze traffic conditions on the freeway and determine the
appropriate metering rates.
5. The metering operation will require frequent observation so that rates can be adjusted to
meet traffic conditions which is a drawback.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

25.14

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

25.7.2

25. Ramp Metering

Traffic responsive systems

In contrast to the pre-timed metering control, traffic-responsive metering is directly influenced


by the mainline and ramp traffic conditions during the metering period. Metering rates are
selected on the basis of real-time measurements of traffic variables indicating the current relation
between upstream and downstream capacity. The salient features of this type of ramp metering
system are:
1. This system uses freeway loop detectors or other surveillance systems to calculate or select
ramp metering rates based on current freeway conditions.
2. It is generally considered to be five to ten percent better than those of pre-timed metering.
3. A traffic responsive approach can be used either locally or system-wide.
Local traffic responsive
Local ramp metering is employed when only the conditions local to the ramp (as compared
with other ramps) are used to provide the metering rates. The salient features are:
1. Local traffic responsive metering approaches base metering rates on freeway conditions
near the metered ramp.
2. This is used where the traffic congestion at a location can be reduced by the metering of
a single ramp.
3. They are used as backups when system-wide algorithms fail.
4. Unlike pre-timed systems, local systems require surveillance of the freeway using traffic
detectors.
5. Although, more capital costs are required to implement traffic responsive systems, they
more easily adapt to changing conditions and can provide better results than their pretimed counterparts.
System-wide traffic responsive
In most cases, it is preferable to meter a series of ramps in a freeway section in a coordinated
fashion based on criteria that consider the entire freeway section. The strategy may also consider
the freeway corridor consisting of the freeway section as well as the surface streets that will be
affected by metered traffic. The salient features are:
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

25.15

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

25. Ramp Metering

1. This is used when there are multiple bottlenecks or locations of recurring congestion along
a freeway.
2. This type of ramp metering is used to optimize traffic flow along a metered stretch of
roadway, rather than at a specific point on the freeway (as is the case of local traffic
responsive systems).
3. Like local traffic responsive systems, system-wide traffic responsive systems require data
from ramp detectors and local freeway detectors.
4. In addition to these components, system-wide traffic responsive systems are unique in the
fact that data is also needed from downstream detectors and/or upstream detectors at
multiple locations, potentially from cross-street signal controllers, and from the central
computer.
5. System-wide traffic responsive systems have the most complex hardware configuration
compared to the other metering approaches discussed so far (i.e., pre-timed and local
traffic responsive).

25.8

Summary

In this chapter we discussed ramp metering, different strategies of ramp metering, procedure
to find out the level of service of on and off ramps, different kind of metering systems. From
the analysis that we have done in this chapter we can say that the Ramp metering can result
into increased freeway speed, decreased travel time, increase in freeway capacity, reduction in
accidents and congestion, improved fuel economy and efficient use of capacity.

25.9

References

1. Ismail Chabini and Amedeo R Odoni. Transportation Flow Systems. MIT, 2019.
2. A Chaudhary and J Messer. Report on design criteria for ramp metering.
Transportation Institute, Texas, 2000.

Texas

3. Highway Capacity Manual. Transportation Research Board. National Research Council,


Washington, D.C., 2000.
4. P Stewart. Ramp metering study. SIAS Limited, Dundee, UK, 2003.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

25.16

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

26. Corridor Analysis

Chapter 26
Corridor Analysis
26.1

Introduction

Transport problems are very critical one to be solved frequently, sequentially and economically
for all sectors of one nation. Even though these solutions are mandatory, they are continuous
and expensive so needs to be planned systematically. These all requirements will lead us to
Transportation System Planning. Transportation System Planning is a tool that attempts to
provide feasible and systematic method for solving transport problems of the society. Transportation system planning starts from the problem of the society which is the difference of users
desire to the existing condition of the system. Afterwards following its stages it will attempt
to meet its goals and objectives. While in the process so many analyses are required to be
done from them the one is done to know the performance of the existing system. This can be
expressed as either individual component performance or the whole system performance. Doing
this is dependent on the type of transportation system. Among them multi modal multi facility
system is the one which requires aggregate performance measurement for all components which
constitutes. According to our study area we can choose from the two methods of performance
measurement alternatives which are Corridor analysis and Area wide analysis.

26.2

Terminologies

The terminologies used in the corridor analysis is provided below.

26.2.1

Corridor system

1. Corridor: A corridor is a set of essentially parallel and competing facilities and modes
with cross-connectors that serve trips between two designated points. A corridor may
contain several subsystems of facilities freeway, rural highway, urban street, transit, pedestrian, and bicycle Figure. 26:1.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

26.1

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

26. Corridor Analysis

Segment

Point
Freeway

Arterials

Figure 26:1: Showing the Point Segment and Corridor Model


2. Segment: Segments are stretches of a facility in which the traffic demand and capacity
conditions are relatively constant.
3. Point: Points are locations at the beginning and end of each segment, at which traffic
enters, leaves, or crosses the facility.
4. Facility: is a structure built or road design modification to increase the efficiency of the
two main road way services (accessibility and Mobility).

26.2.2

Highway sub systems

1. Freeway: A freeway is defined as a divided highway with full control of access and having
two uninterrupted flow or more lanes for the exclusive use of traffic in each direction. All
the access is through a ramp a separate entrance or exit way to or from the Freeway.
2. Rural highway: A road with only one lane in each direction and traffic signals spaced
no closer than 3.0 km. mostly recognized by its low flow condition.
3. Urban Street: With traffic signals spaced no farther than 3.0 km apart. Since in
Urban areas most activities are fond of Transportation, are characterized by its high
flow condition and high traffic movements due the complex interaction between vehicles
accidents are also high in urban areas. To avoid this and other conflicts Traffic control is
required especially in urban areas.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

26.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

26.2.3

26. Corridor Analysis

Transit

Transits are a means of transporting massive either passenger or freight on a separated route.
These modes of transportations are a key to every city especially in urban areas. The most
common types of Transits include:
1. Bus transit is a term applied to a variety of public transportation systems using buses
to provide faster, more efficient service than an ordinary bus line. Often this is achieved
by making improvements to existing infrastructure, vehicles and scheduling. Bus rapid
transit also called Bus way and/or Quality bus.
2. Street car is a means of public transport which requires their own rail to flow through the
system these rails can be built embedded in roadways. Streetcar (also called Tram) is a
passenger rail vehicle which runs on tracks along public urban streets and also sometimes
on separate rights of way.
3. Rail transit is a form of urban rail public transportation that generally has a lower
capacity and lower speed than heavy rail and metro systems, but higher capacity and
higher speed than traditional street-running tram systems.

26.3

Segment capacity

Capacity is the maximum hourly flow rate, at which persons or vehicles reasonably can be
expected to traverse a point or a uniform section, of a lane or roadway during a given time
period, under prevailing roadway, traffic and control conditions. But sometimes the demand
may exceed the capacity during peak hours, which will bring queue delay. Thus demand
adjustment is required and is done as follows. Adjusting for excess demand from the capacity
is necessary only if working with forecasted or estimated demands rather than counted traffic.
If the demand exceeds the capacity at any point in time or space, then the excess demand must
be stored on the segment and carried over to the following hour. The downstream demands
are reduced by the amount of excess demand stored on the segment. The algorithm starts with
the entry gate segments on the periphery of the corridor and works inward until all segment
demands have been checked against their capacity.

26.3.1

Demand adjustment algorithm

The following steps are used to adjust demand when excess demand occurs in a time period.
Step 1. Select the entry gate segment with the highest priority and the highest v/c ratio.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

26.3

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

26. Corridor Analysis

Step 2. Select the first time period.


Step 3. If demand capacity or the initial queue = 0, go to Step 7.
Step 4. If demand > capacity or queue > 0, then calculate new queue by using eqn. 26.1.
queuei = queuei1 + demand capacity

(26.1)

where, i is the current analysis period, i 1 is the previous analysis period, queuei1 is
the queue remaining from the preceding analysis period.
Step 5. Reduce downstream segment demand by the amount that the demand exceeds
the capacity. Propagate this reduction to all connecting downstream segments in proportion to the ratio of each downstream segment demand to all segments exiting from
the subject segment. Continue the process downstream until the reduction is less than 5
percent of capacity.
Step 6. Add the excess demand - the amount by which the demand exceeds the capacity
- to the next time period demand for the subject segment.
Step 7. Apply the increment to the next time period. Repeat Steps 3 through 6 until
the processes for all the time periods are finished.
Step 8. Go to next gate tree with unanalyzed segments in current rank. Repeat Steps 2
through 7 until all segments of current rank have been analyzed.
Step 9. Apply the increment to current Rank (the new one). Go to the segment with
the highest v/c ratio among those of the new rank. Repeat Steps 2 through 8 until all
segments are analyzed.

26.3.2

Free flow Travel time

The segment free-flow traversal times are obtained by dividing the length of the segment by
the estimated free-flow speed (FFS), as shown in equation 26.2
Rf =

L
Sf

(26.2)

where, Rf is the Segment free-flow travel time for given Direction of Segment and Time Period,
(hr), L is the length of segment (km), and Sf is the Segment free-flow speed computed (km/hr).
The FFS is computed according to the Part III methods using the adjusted demands determined
in the previous step. The computation is repeated for each direction of each segment for each
time sub-periods.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

26.4

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

26.3.3

26. Corridor Analysis

Queue delay

The queuing delay only the amount due to demand exceeding capacity is computed for all
segments. The queuing delay is computed for each direction of each segment and time period
only when demand is greater than Capacity by eqn. 26.3.
Di =

T2
T
Di1 + [V c]
2
2

(26.3)

where, Di is the total delay due to excess demand (veh-hr) for direction, segment, and time
period; T is the duration of time sub-period (hr); Di1 is the queue left over at end of previous
time period (veh); V is the demand rate for current time period (veh/hr); and c is the capacity
of segment in subject direction (veh/hr). These the above steps are repeated for any additional
time periods to be analyzed. For example, if the peak period lasts for 4 hours, it might
be divided into four 1hr periods (or 16 quarter hr periods), with each time period analyzed
in sequence. The first and the last analysis periods must be uncongested for all delay to
be included in the performance measures. Once all time periods have been analyzed, the
performance measures are computed.

26.4

Determining performance measures

This step describes how to compute performance measures of congestion intensity, duration,
extent, variability, and accessibility for the corridor.

26.4.1

Intensity

The possible performance measures for the intensity of congestion on the highway subsystems
(freeway, two-lane highway, and arterial) in the corridor are computed from one or more of the
following: person-hours of travel, person-hours of delay, mean trip speed, and mean trip delay.
If average vehicle occupancy (AVO) data are not available, then the performance measures are
computed in terms of vehicle-hours rather than person-hours.
1. The eqn. 26.4 given below is used to determine PHT.
P HT = AV O d,l,h [V R + DQ]

(26.4)

where, P HT is the person-hours of travel in corridor, AV O is the average vehicle occupancy, V is the vehicle demand in Direction on Link during Time Period (veh), R is the
segment traversal time (h/km), and DQ is the queuing delay (veh-h).
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

26.5

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

26. Corridor Analysis

2. The mean trip time is computed by dividing the total person hours of travel by the
number of person trips.
t = 60 P HT /P
(26.5)
where, t is the mean trip time (min/person), P HT is the person-hours of travel, and P
is the total number of person trips.
3. The mean trip speed is computed by dividing the total number of person-kilometers by
the total person-hours of travel as in eqn. 26.6 below:
d,l,h [V L]
P kmT
= AV O
(26.6)
P HT
P HT
where, S is the mean corridor trip speed (km/h), P kmT is the person-kilometers of travel,
PHT is the person-hours of travel, AV O is the average vehicle occupancy, V is the vehicle
demand in the given Direction on a Segment and Period (veh), and L is the length of
segment (km).
S=

4. The mean trip delay is computed by subtracting the PHT under free-flow conditions from
the PHT under congested conditions and dividing the result by the number of persontrips. The person-hours of travel under free-flow conditions is computed like PHT for
congested conditions, but using free-flow traversal times and zero queuing delay. It can
be determined using eqn. 26.7 given below:
(P HT P HTf )
(26.7)
P
where, d is the mean trip delay (s/person), P HT is the person-hours of travel, P HTf is
the person-hours of travel under free-flow conditions, and P is the total number of person
trips.
d = 3600

26.4.2

Duration

Performance measurements of duration can be computed from the number of hours of congestion
observed on any segment. The duration of congestion is the sum of the length of each analysis
sub-periods for which the demand exceeds capacity. The duration of congestion (i.e., oversaturation) for any link is computed using Eqn. 26.8 as:Hi = Ni T

(26.8)

where, Hi is the duration of congestion for Link i(h), Ni is the number of analysis sub-periods
for which v/c > 1.00 on Link i, and T is the duration of analysis sub-periods (h). The maximum
duration on any link indicates the amount of time before congestion is completely cleared from
the corridor.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

26.6

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

26. Corridor Analysis

Table 26:1: Queue density defaults given by HCM 2000


Sub system
Storage Density Vehicle Spacing
(veh/Km/ln)
(m)
Freeway
75
13.3
Two lane highway
130
7.5
Urban Street
130
7.5

26.4.3

Extent

Performance measures of the extent of congestion can be computed from the sum of the length
of queuing on each segment. One can also identify segments in which the queue overflows the
storage capacity; this is particularly useful for ramp metering analyses. To compute the queue
length, an assumption must be made about the average density of vehicles in a queue. Default
values are suggested in Table. 26:1 To compute queue length, Eqn. 26.9 is used.
QL =

T [v c]
N ds

(26.9)

where, QL is the queue length (km) for the given Direction, of Segment, for Time Sub-period;
v is the segment demand (veh/h); c is the segment capacity (veh/h); N is the number of lanes;
ds is the storage density (veh/km/ln); and T is the duration of analysis period (h). Note that if
v < c, then QL = 0, and if QL > L, then the queue overflows the storage capacity. The queue
lengths for all segments then can be added up to obtain the length of queuing in kilometers in
the subsystem during the analysis period. The number of segments in which the queue exceeds
the storage capacity also might be reported. This statistics is particularly useful for identifying
queue overflows that result from ramp metering.

26.4.4

Variability

Variability is a sensitivity measure. The variability or sensitivity of the results can be determined by substituting higher and lower demand estimates. For example assuming 110 percent
of the original demand estimates for all segments and repeating the calculations.

26.4.5

Accessibility

Accessibility can be measured in terms of the number of trip destinations reachable within a
selected travel time for a designated set of origin locations such as a residential zone. The
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

26.7

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

26. Corridor Analysis


8

7
Arterials

6
2

Figure 26:2: Two way Arterial Highway system

control
point
2
4

Table 26:2: Peak hour input demand rate 1


North bound
South bound
East bound
West bound
Lt Th Rt Lt Th Rt Lt
Th Rt Lt Th Rt
53 268 34 378 536 176 163 963 55 110 779 110
43 684 109 144 810 153 113 1065 81 126 945 145

results for each origin zone are tabulated and reported as X percent of the homes in the study
area can reach Y percent of the jobs within Z minutes.
Numerical example
For the given Urban street system geometry and Data inputs determine the performance measurement using Corridor analysis. Given that:
1. Average vehicle occupancy (AVO) is 1.2.
2. Peak Hour Demand data all Volumes are in (veh/hr) is given in Table. 26:2.
3. Capacities, Lengths, Free flow speeds and average flow speeds for each link input data is
also given in Table. 26:3.
Solution:
1. Step 1. Because we have Traffic count data we should convert it as link data. This can
be done by allocating the flow and adding the volume as per its logical direction (Table
4 col (3)). The flow allocation overview is as shown below. In Fig. 26:3
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

26.8

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

26. Corridor Analysis

Table 26:3: Capacity, length and Speeds input


link length Capacity
FFS
Actual
(km) (veh/hr) (km/hr) speed(km/hr)
1 2 1.06
1400
56
40
2 1 1.06
3400
56
56
2 4 1.67
1400
56
41
4 2 1.67
1400
56
46
2 8 1.21
1400
56
43
8 2 1.21
1700
56
26
2 3 0.09
3400
56
40
3 2 0.09
1400
56
12
4 7 1.21
1400
56
43
7 4 1.21
1200
56
43
4 6 0.76
3400
56
56
6 4 0.76
1400
56
33
4 5 0.09
3400
56
40
5 4 0.09
1400
56
11

8
541
1090
Rt WB
Th NB SB
Lt EB
Rt Lt

During Variation use the smaller

366
3

701

Rt

NB

Lt WB
Th SB
Rt EB

836

22

1318

Lt SB
Th EB
Rt NB
Th
Rt
Lt

22
Use 999

Th
Lt

Lt WB
Th SB
Rt EB

WB
1216

1375
WB
999

Rt
Th
Lt

1141

NB

Lt NB
Th WB
Rt SB

1008

Lt NB
Th WB
Rt SB

Th
Lt Rt

Th
Rt

Th
Rt

22

Lt

Lt

1101

EB
1259

Lt SB
Th EB
Rt NB

Th

Th

942
1107
Rt WB SB
Th NB
Lt EB
Rt Lt

1017
22
5

Figure 26:3: Showing how the flow allocation is done

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

26.9

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

26. Corridor Analysis

Table 26:4: Demand by Capacity


link
Demand(V) Capacity(C)
V/c
(1) (2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
1
2
1181
1400
0.843571
2
1
1008
3400
0.296471
2
4
1375
1400
0.899286
4
2
1141
1400
0.713571
2
8
541
1400
0.386429
8
2
1090
1700
0.641176
2
3
701
3400
0.206176
3
2
355
1400
0.253571
4
7
942
1400
0.672857
7
4
1107
1200
0.9225
4
6
1318
3400
0.387647
6
4
1216
1400
0.868571
4
5
1017
3400
0.299118
5
4
836
1400
0.597143

2. Step 2. Calculate V/C ratio demand by capacity for each link which is as shown below
in Table. 5 col (5).
3. Step 3. For V/C > 1 find the Queued vehicles simply the difference of demand to
capacity.
4. Step 4. Adjust the demand downstream till it reaches 10% of the volume before doing
further check up. Until all V/C ratios are below 1.
5. Step 5. Determination of person hour delay (PHD), person hours travel (PHT), person
kilometer hour travel (PkmT).
Note that in Table. 5
(a) None of them(V/C) is greater of unity.
(b) No Adjustment is required.
(c) Indicates No Queue delay Determination
6. Step 6. Free VHT (col(7))= (col (3) col (4))/col (5)
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

26.10

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

26. Corridor Analysis

Table 26:5: PHD and PHT calculation


Link Len. Dem- FFS Actual free actual Free Actual
Delay
and speed speed VHT VHT PHT PHT PHT Total
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
(6)
(7) (8)
(9)
(10) (11)
(12)
1 2 1.06 1181

56

40

22.35 31.30 26.83 37.56 10.73 1251.86

2 1 1.06 1008

56

56

19.08 19.08 22.90 22.90

2 4 1.67 1375

56

41

41.00 56.01 49.21 67.21 18.00 2296.25

4 2 1.67 1141

56

46

34.03 41.42 40.83 49.71

8.88 1905.47

2 8 1.21 541

56

43

11.69 15.22 14.03 18.27

4.24

8 2 1.21 1090

56

26

23.55 50.73 28.26 60.87 32.61 1318.9

2 3 0.09 701

56

40

1.13 1.58

1.35

1.89

0.54

63.09

3 2 0.09 355

56

12

0.57 2.66

0.68

3.20

2.51

31.95

4 7 1.21 942

56

43

20.35 26.51 24.42 31.81

7.38 1139.82

7 4 1.21 1107

56

43

23.92 31.15 28.70 37.38

8.68 1339.47

4 6 0.76 1318

56

56

17.89 17.89 21.46 21.46

0.00 1001.68

6 4 0.76 1216

56

33

16.50 28.00 19.80 33.61 13.80 924.16

4 5 0.09 1017

56

40

1.63 2.29

1.96

2.75

0.78

91.53

5 4 0.09 836

56

11

1.34 6.84

1.61

8.21

6.60

75.24

12.18 13828

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

0.00 1068.48

654.61

Sum 282.05 396.81 114.76 13162.51

26.11

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

26. Corridor Analysis

Table 26:6: Performance measurement


Facility type
Length
PkmT
PHT
PHD
(Km) Pers. Km Pers. Hr Pers. Hr
Arterial sub. system
12.8
15795
396.8
114.75

Speed(S)
km/hr
39.6

7. Step 7. Actual VHT (col(8))= Qd +(col (3) col (4))/col (6), where, Qd is the queue
delay in our case zero.
8. Step 8. Free PHT (col(9))= AVO col (7)
9. Step 9. Actual PHT (col(10))= AVO col (7)
10. Step 10. Travel Delay (PHD) (col(11))= Actual PHT (col(10)) - Free PHT (col(9))
11. Step 11. Calculation of PkmT
P kmT = AV O V L
where, V is adjusted volume, L is length of the Link, and V L is col(12) last cell in
Table. 26:5.
12. Step 12. Intensity measures
P HT = actualP HT
= 396.8pers.hr
60 P HT
= 1.43min/pers
t =
AV O V
P kmT
S =
= AV O (d,l,h [V L])/P HT
P HT
= 39.6km/hr
(P HT P HTf )
d = 3600
P
= 24.9sec/pers.

26.5

Summary

Corridor Analysis is the method of combining Point, Segment and Facility analysis to estimate
the overall performance of multi-modal corridor. Mostly the performance measures of any
corridor are determined by calculating its capacity, the travel time and queue delay in the
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

26.12

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

26. Corridor Analysis

given section. Since this tool is required for multi facility and multi-modal transportation
system mostly it covers Highway subsystems (Freeways, Rural highways and urban streets)
and Transit.

26.6

References

1. Urban transportation planning model update - phase ii, 1981. Task F- Development of
Corridor Analysis Procedures.
2. Highway Capacity manual part V Draft Working Paper 385-9. University of Florida
Transportation Research Center and T-Concepts Corp, Proposed 2010 Highway Capacity
manual part V Draft Working Paper 385-9, 2007., 2010.
3. Highway Capacity Manual. Transportation Research Board. National Research Council,
Washington, D.C., 2000.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

26.13

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

27. Principles of Traffic Control

Chapter 27
Principles of Traffic Control
27.1

Overview

Intersection is an area shared by two or more roads. This area is designated for the vehicles
to turn to different directions to reach their desired destinations. Its main function is to
guide vehicles to their respective directions. Traffic intersections are complex locations on any
highway. This is because vehicles moving in different direction wan to occupy same space at the
same time. In addition, the pedestrians also seek same space for crossing. Drivers have to make
split second decision at an intersection by considering his route, intersection geometry, speed
and direction of other vehicles etc. A small error in judgment can cause severe accidents. It also
causes delay and it depends on type, geometry, and type of control. Overall traffic flow depends
on the performance of the intersections. It also affects the capacity of the road. Therefore,
both from the accident perspective and the capacity perspective, the study of intersections very
important for the traffic engineers especially in the case of urban scenario.

27.2

Conflicts at an intersection

Conflicts at an intersection are different for different types of intersection. Consider a typical
four-legged intersection as shown in figure. The number of conflicts for competing through
movements are 4, while competing right turn and through movements are 8. The conflicts
between right turn traffics are 4, and between left turn and merging traffic is 4. The conflicts
created by pedestrians will be 8 taking into account all the four approaches. Diverging traffic
also produces about 4 conflicts. Therefore, a typical four legged intersection has about 32
different types of conflicts. This is shown in figure 27:1.
The essence of the intersection control is to resolve these conflicts at the intersection for
the safe and efficient movement of both vehicular traffic and pedestrians. Two methods of
intersection controls are there: time sharing and space sharing. The type of intersection control
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

27.1

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

27. Principles of Traffic Control


Conflicts in a traffic signal
4 Through traffic

4 Right turn
8 Right turnThrough
4 Merging

4 Diverging
P 8 Pedestrian

Total = 32 Conflicts
P

Figure 27:1: Conflicts at an intersection


that has to be adopted depends on the traffic volume, road geometry, cost involved, importance
of the road etc.

27.3

Levels of intersection control

The control of an intersection can be exercised at different levels. They can be either passive
control, semi control, or active control. In passive control, there is no explicit control on the
driver . In semi control, some amount of control on the driver is there from the traffic agency.
Active control means the movement of the traffic is fully controlled by the traffic agency and
the drivers cannot simply maneuver the intersection according to his choice.

27.3.1

Passive control

When the volume of traffic is less, no explicit control is required. Here the road users are
required to obey the basic rules of the road. Passive control like traffic signs, road markings
etc. are used to complement the intersection control. Some of the intersection control that are
classified under passive control are as follows:
1. No control If the traffic coming to an intersection is low, then by applying the basic
rules of the road like driver on the left side of the road must yield and that through
movements will have priority than turning movements. The driver is expected to obey
these basic rules of the road.
2. Traffic signs: With the help of warning signs, guide signs etc. it is able to provide
some level of control at an intersection. Give way control, two-way stop control, and
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

27.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

27. Principles of Traffic Control

all-way stop control are some examples. The GIVE WAY control requires the driver in
the minor road to slow down to a minimum speed and allow the vehicle on the major
road to proceed. Two way stop control requires the vehicle drivers on the minor streets
should see that the conflicts are avoided. Finally an all-way stop control is usually used
when it is difficult to differentiate between the major and minor roads in an intersection.
In such a case, STOP sign is placed on all the approaches to the intersection and the
driver on all the approaches are required to stop the vehicle. The vehicle at the right
side will get priority over the left approach. The traffic control at at-grade intersection
may be uncontrolled in cases of low traffic. Here the road users are required to obey the
basic rules of the road. Passive control like traffic signs, road markings etc. are used to
complement the intersection control.
3. Traffic signs plus marking: In addition to the traffic signs, road markings also complement the traffic control at intersections. Some of the examples include stop line marking,
yield lines, arrow marking etc.

27.3.2

Semi control

In semi control or partial control, the drivers are gently guided to avoid conflicts. Channelization
and traffic rotaries are two examples of this.
1. Channelization: The traffic is separated to flow through definite paths by raising a
portion of the road in the middle usually called as islands distinguished by road markings.
The conflicts in traffic movements are reduced to a great extent in such a case. In
channelized intersections, as the name suggests, the traffic is directed to flow through
different channels and this physical separation is made possible with the help of some
barriers in the road like traffic islands, road markings etc.
2. Traffic rotaries: It is a form of intersection control in which the traffic is made to flow
along one direction around a traffic island. The essential principle of this control is to
convert all the severe conflicts like through and right turn conflicts into milder conflicts
like merging, weaving and diverging. It is a form of at-grade intersection laid out for the
movement of traffic such that no through conflicts are there. Free-left turn is permitted
where as through traffic and right-turn traffic is forced to move around the central island
in a clock-wise direction in an orderly manner. Merging, weaving and diverging operations
reduces the conflicting movements at the rotary.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

27.3

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

27.3.3

27. Principles of Traffic Control

Active control

Active control implies that the road user will be forced to follow the path suggested by the
traffic control agencies. He cannot maneuver according to his wish. Traffic signals and grade
separated intersections come under this classification.
1. Traffic signals: Control using traffic signal is based on time sharing approach. At a
given time, with the help of appropriate signals, certain traffic movements are restricted
where as certain other movements are permitted to pass through the intersection. Two or
more phases may be provided depending upon the traffic conditions of the intersection.
When the vehicles traversing the intersection is very large, then the control is done with
the help of signals. The phases provided for the signal may be two or more. If more than
two phases are provided, then it is called multi-phase signal.
The signals can operate in several modes. Most common are fixed time signals and vehicle
actuated signals. In fixed time signals, the cycle time, phases and interval of each signal
is fixed. Each cycle of the signal will be exactly like another. But they cannot cater
to the needs of the fluctuating traffic. On the other hand, vehicle actuated signals can
respond to dynamic traffic situations. Vehicle detectors will be placed on the streets
approaching the intersection and the detector will sense the presence of the vehicle and
pass the information to a controller. The controller then sets the cycle time and adjusts
the phase lengths according to the prevailing traffic conditions.
2. Grade separated intersections: The intersections are of two types. They are at-grade
intersections and grade-separated intersections. In at-grade intersections, all roadways
join or cross at the same vertical level. Grade separated intersections allows the traffic to
cross at different vertical levels. Sometimes the topography itself may be helpful in constructing such intersections. Otherwise, the initial construction cost required will be very
high. Therefore, they are usually constructed on high speed facilities like expressways,
freeways etc. These type of intersection increases the road capacity because vehicles can
flow with high speed and accident potential is also reduced due to vertical separation of
traffic.

27.4

Channelized intersection

Vehicles approaching an intersection are directed to definite paths by islands, marking etc. and
this method of control is called Channelization. Channelized intersection provides more safety
and efficiency. It reduces the number of possible conflicts by reducing the area of conflicts
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

27.4

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

27. Principles of Traffic Control


111
000
000
111
000
111
000
111
000
111
000
111
000
111
000
111
000
111
000
111
000
111

1111111111
0000000000
0000000000
1111111111
0000000000
1111111111
0000000000
1111111111

11111
00000
00000
11111
00000
11111
00000
11111
00000
11111

11111111111
00000000000
00000000000
11111111111
00000000000
11111111111
00000000000
11111111111

Figure 27:2: Channelization of traffic through a three-legged intersection


111
000
000
111
000
111
000
111
000
111
000
111
000
111
000
111
000
111
000
111
000
111
1111111111
0000000000
0000000000
1111111111
0000000000
1111111111

111111
000000
000000
111111
000000
111111
000000
111111
000000
111111
000000
111111

1111111111
0000000000
0000000000
1111111111
0000000000
1111111111
0000000000
1111111111

111
000
000
111
000
111
000
111
000
111
000
111
000
111
000
111
000
111
000
111
000
111

Figure 27:3: Channelization of traffic through a four-legged intersection


available in the carriageway. If no channelizing is provided the driver will have less tendency to
reduce the speed while entering the intersection from the carriageway. The presence of traffic
islands, markings etc. forces the driver to reduce the speed and becomes more cautious while
maneuvering the intersection. A channelizing island also serves as a refuge for pedestrians and
makes pedestrian crossing safer. Channelization of traffic through a three-legged intersection
(refer figure 27:2) and a four-legged intersection (refer figure 27:3) is shown in the figure.

27.5

Summary

Traffic intersections are problem spots on any highway, which contribute to a large share of
accidents. For safe operation, these locations should be kept under some level of control depending upon the traffic quantity and behavior. Based on this, intersections and interchanges
are constructed, the different types of which were discussed in the chapter.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

27.5

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

27.6

27. Principles of Traffic Control

References

1. L. R Kadiyali. Traffic Engineering and Transportation Planning. Khanna Publishers,


New Delhi, 1987.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

27.6

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

28. Traffic Signs

Chapter 28
Traffic Signs
28.1

Overview

Traffic control device is the medium used for communicating between traffic engineer and road
users. Unlike other modes of transportation, there is no control on the drivers using the road.
Here traffic control devices comes to the help of the traffic engineer. The major types of
traffic control devices used are- traffic signs, road markings , traffic signals and parking control.
This chapter discusses traffic control signs. Different types of traffic signs are regulatory signs,
warning signs and informatory signs.

28.2

Requirements

The requirements of traffic control devices are listed below:


1. The control device should fulfill a need : Each device must have a specific purpose
for the safe and efficient operation of traffic flow. The superfluous devices should not be
used.
2. It should command attention from the road users: This affects the design of signs.
For commanding attention, proper visibility should be there. Also the sign should be
distinctive and clear. The sign should be placed in such a way that the driver requires no
extra effort to see the sign.
3. It should convey a clear, simple meaning: Clarity and simplicity of message is
essential for the driver to properly understand the meaning in short time. The use of
color, shape and legend as codes becomes important in this regard. The legend should be
kept short and simple so that even a less educated driver could understand the message
in less time.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

28.1

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

28. Traffic Signs

4. Road users must respect the signs: Respect is commanded only when the drivers are
conditioned to expect that all devices carry meaningful and important messages. Overuse,
misuse and confusing messages of devices tends the drivers to ignore them.
5. The control device should provide adequate time for proper response from the
road users: This is again related to the design aspect of traffic control devices. The sign
boards should be placed at a distance such that the driver could see it and gets sufficient
time to respond to the situation. For example, the STOP sign which is always placed
at the stop line of the intersection should be visible for at least one safe stopping sight
distance away from the stop line.

28.3

Communication tools

A number of mechanisms are used by the traffic engineer to communicate with the road user.
These mechanisms recognize certain human limitations, particularly eyesight. Messages are
conveyed through the following elements.
1. Color: It is the first and most easily noticed characteristics of a device. Usage of different
colors for different signs are important. The most commonly used colors are red, green,
yellow, black, blue, and brown . These are used to code certain devices and to reinforce
specific messages. Consistent use of colors helps the drivers to identify the presence of
sign board ahead.
2. Shape : It is the second element discerned by the driver next to the color of the device.
The categories of shapes normally used are circular, triangular, rectangular, and diamond
shape. Two exceptional shapes used in traffic signs are octagonal shape for STOP sign
and use of inverted triangle for GIVE WAY (YIELD) sign. Diamond shape signs are not
generally used in India.
3. Legend : This is the last element of a device that the drive comprehends. This is an
important aspect in the case of traffic signs. For the easy understanding by the driver,
the legend should be short, simple and specific so that it does not divert the attention of
the driver. Symbols are normally used as legends so that even a person unable to read
the language will be able to understand that. There is no need of it in the case of traffic
signals and road markings.
4. Pattern: It is normally used in the application of road markings, complementing traffic
signs. Generally solid, double solid and dotted lines are used. Each pattern conveys different type of meaning. The frequent and consistent use of pattern to convey information
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

28.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

28. Traffic Signs

is recommended so that the drivers get accustomed to the different types of markings and
can instantly recognize them.

28.4

Types of traffic signs

There are several hundreds of traffic signs available covering wide variety of traffic situations.
They can be classified into three main categories.
1. Regulatory signs: These signs require the driver to obey the signs for the safety of
other road users.
2. Warning signs:These signs are for the safety of oneself who is driving and advice the
drivers to obey these signs.
3. Informative signs: These signs provide information to the driver about the facilities
available ahead, and the route and distance to reach the specific destinations
In addition special type of traffic sign namely work zone signs are also available. These type
of signs are used to give warning to the road users when some construction work is going on
the road. They are placed only for short duration and will be removed soon after the work is
over and when the road is brought back to its normal condition. The first three signs will be
discussed in detail below.

28.4.1

Regulatory signs

These signs are also called mandatory signs because it is mandatory that the drivers must obey
these signs. If the driver fails to obey them, the control agency has the right to take legal action
against the driver. These signs are primarily meant for the safety of other road users. These
signs have generally black legend on a white background. They are circular in shape with red
borders. The regulatory signs can be further classified into :
1. Right of way series: These include two unique signs that assign the right of way to
the selected approaches of an intersection. They are the STOP sign and GIVE WAY sign
For example, when one minor road and major road meets at an intersection, preference
should be given to the vehicles passing through the major road. Hence the give way sign
board will be placed on the minor road to inform the driver on the minor road that he
should give way for the vehicles on the major road. In case two major roads are meeting,
then the traffic engineer decides based on the traffic on which approach the sign board
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

28.3

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

28. Traffic Signs

has to be placed. Stop sign is another example of regulatory signs that comes in right of
way series which requires the driver to stop the vehicle at the stop line.
2. Speed series: Number of speed signs may be used to limit the speed of the vehicle on
the road. They include typical speed limit signs, truck speed, minimum speed signs etc.
Speed limit signs are placed to limit the speed of the vehicle to a particular speed for
many reasons. Separate truck speed limits are applied on high speed roadways where
heavy commercial vehicles must be limited to slower speeds than passenger cars for safety
reasons. Minimum speed limits are applied on high speed roads like expressways, freeways
etc. where safety is again a predominant reason. Very slow vehicles may present hazard
to themselves and other vehicles also.
3. Movement series: They contain a number of signs that affect specific vehicle maneuvers.
These include turn signs, alignment signs, exclusion signs, one way signs etc. Turn signs
include turn prohibitions and lane use control signs. Lane use signs make use of arrows
to specify the movements which all vehicles in the lane must take. Turn signs are used to
safely accommodate turns in unsignalized intersections.
4. Parking series: They include parking signs which indicate not only parking prohibitions
or restrictions, but also indicate places where parking is permitted, the type of vehicle to
be parked, duration for parking etc.
5. Pedestrian series: They include both legend and symbol signs. These signs are meant
for the safety of pedestrians and include signs indicating pedestrian only roads, pedestrian
crossing sites etc.
6. Miscellaneous: Wide variety of signs that are included in this category are: a KEEP
OF MEDIAN sign, signs indicating road closures, signs restricting vehicles carrying
hazardous cargo or substances, signs indicating vehicle weight limitations etc.
Some examples of the regulatory signs are shown in figure 28:1. They include a stop sign, give
way sign, signs for no entry, sign indicating prohibition for right turn, vehicle width limit sign,
speed limit sign etc.

28.4.2

Warning signs

Warning signs or cautionary signs give information to the driver about the impending road
condition. They advice the driver to obey the rules. These signs are meant for the own safety
of drivers. They call for extra vigilance from the part of drivers. The color convention used for
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

28.4

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

28. Traffic Signs

0000000000
1111111111
1111111111
0000000000
0000000000
1111111111
0000000000
1111111111
0000000000
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0000000000
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0000000000
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0000000000
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0000000000
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0000000000
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0000000000
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0000000000
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0000000000
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0000000000
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0000000000
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0000000000
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0000000000
1111111111
0000000000
1111111111
0000000000
1111111111

GIVE
WAY

STOP

0
1
1
0
0
1

1
0
0
1
0
1

50

Figure 28:1: Examples of regulatory signs ( stop sign, give way sign, signs for no entry, sign
indicating prohibition for right turn, vehicle width limit sign, speed limit sign)

111
000
000
111
000
111
000
111

Figure 28:2: Examples of cautionary signs ( right hand curve sign board, signs for narrow road,
sign indicating railway track ahead)
this type of signs is that the legend will be black in color with a white background. The shape
used is upward triangular or diamond shape with red borders. Some of the examples for this
type of signs are given in fig 28:2 and includes right hand curve sign board, signs for narrow
road, sign indicating railway track ahead etc.

28.4.3

Informative signs

Informative signs also called guide signs, are provided to assist the drivers to reach their desired
destinations. These are predominantly meant for the drivers who are unfamiliar to the place.
The guide signs are redundant for the users who are accustomed to the location.
Some of the examples for these type of signs are route markers, destination signs, mile posts,
service information, recreational and cultural interest area signing etc. Route markers are used
to identify numbered highways. They have designs that are distinctive and unique. They are
written black letters on yellow background. Destination signs are used to indicate the direction
to the critical destination points, and to mark important intersections. Distance in kilometers
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

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February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering


0000000000
1111111111
1111111111
0000000000
0000000000
1111111111
0000000000
1111111111
00000000
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0000000000
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00000000
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0000000000
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0000
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0000
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0000
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000000000
111111111
111111111
000000000
000000000
111111111
000000000
111111111
0000000
1111111
000000000
111111111
0000000
1111111
000000000
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0000000
1111111
000000000
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1111111
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000000000
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000
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111111111
000
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0000000
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000000000
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000
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000
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000
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000
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000
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000
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000000000
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000000000
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000000000
000000000
111111111
000000000
111111111
000000000
111111111

28. Traffic Signs


000000000
111111111
111111111
000000000
000000000
111111111
000000000
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000000000
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000000000
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000000000
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NH
8

TOLL BOOTH
AHEAD

Figure 28:3: Examples of informative signs (route markers, destination signs, mile posts, service
center information etc)
are sometimes marked to the right side of the destination. They are, in general, rectangular
with the long dimension in the horizontal direction. They are color coded as white letters with
green background.
Mile posts are provided to inform the driver about the progress along a route to reach his
destination. Service guide signs give information to the driver regarding various services such
as food, fuel, medical assistance etc. They are written with white letters on blue background.
Information on historic, recreational and other cultural area is given on white letters with brown
background. In the figure 28:3 we can see some examples for informative signs which include
route markers, destination signs, mile posts, service center information etc..

28.5

Summary

Traffic signs are means for exercising control on or passing information to the road users. They
may be regulatory, warning, or informative. Among the design aspects of the signs, the size,
shape, color and location matters. Some of the signs along with examples were discussed in this
chapter. A few web sites discussing on traffic signs are given below: www.aptransport.org/html/signs.htm,
www.indiacar.com/infobank/Traffic-signs.htm.

28.6

References

1. L. R Kadiyali. Traffic Engineering and Transportation Planning. Khanna Publishers,


New Delhi, 1987.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

28.6

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

29. Road Markings

Chapter 29
Road Markings
29.1

Overview

The essential purpose of road markings is to guide and control traffic on a highway. They
supplement the function of traffic signs. The markings serve as a psychological barrier and
signify the delineation of traffic path and its lateral clearance from traffic hazards for the safe
movement of traffic. Hence they are very important to ensure the safe, smooth and harmonious
flow of traffic. Various types of road markings like longitudinal markings, transverse markings,
object markings and special markings to warn the driver about the hazardous locations in the
road etc. will be discussed in detail in this chapter.

29.2

Classification

The road markings are defined as lines, patterns, words or other devices, except signs, set
into applied or attached to the carriageway or kerbs or to objects within or adjacent to the
carriageway, for controlling, warning, guiding and informing the users. The road markings
are classified as longitudinal markings, transverse markings, object markings, word messages,
marking for parking, marking at hazardous locations etc.

29.3

Longitudinal markings

Longitudinal markings are placed along the direction of traffic on the roadway surface, for the
purpose of indicating to the driver, his proper position on the roadway. Some of the guiding
principles in longitudinal markings are also discussed below.
Longitudinal markings are provided for separating traffic flow in the same direction and the
predominant color used is white. Yellow color is used to separate the traffic flow in opposite
direction and also to separate the pavement edges. The lines can be either broken, solid or
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

29.1

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

29. Road Markings

150
3m

4.5 m

Figure 29:1: Center line marking for a two lane road


double solid. Broken lines are permissive in character and allows crossing with discretion, if
traffic situation permits. Solid lines are restrictive in character and does not allow crossing
except for entry or exit from a side road or premises or to avoid a stationary obstruction.
Double solid lines indicate severity in restrictions and should not be crossed except in case
of emergency. There can also be a combination of solid and broken lines. In such a case, a
solid line may be crossed with discretion, if the broken line of the combination is nearer to the
direction of travel. Vehicles from the opposite directions are not permitted to cross the line.
Different types of longitudinal markings are center line, traffic lanes, no passing zone, warning
lines, border or edge lines, bus lane markings, cycle lane markings.

29.3.1

Center line

Center line separates the opposing streams of traffic and facilitates their movements. Usually
no center line is provided for roads having width less than 5 m and for roads having more
than four lanes. The center line may be marked with either single broken line, single solid line,
double broken line, or double solid line depending upon the road and traffic requirements. On
urban roads with less than four lanes, the center line may be single broken line segments of 3 m
long and 150 mm wide. The broken lines are placed with 4.5 m gaps (figure 29:1). On curves
and near intersections, gap shall be reduced to 3 meters. On undivided urban roads with at
least two traffic lanes in each direction, the center line marking may be a single solid line of
150 mm wide as in figure 29:2, or double solid line of 100 mm wide separated by a space of
100 mm as shown in figure 29:3. The center barrier line marking for four lane road is shown
in figure 29:4.

29.3.2

Traffic lane lines

The subdivision of wide carriageway into separate lanes on either side of the carriage way helps
the driver to go straight and also curbs the meandering tendency of the driver. At intersections,
these traffic lane lines will eliminate confusion and facilitates turning movements. Thus traffic
lane markings help in increasing the capacity of the road in addition ensuring more safety. The
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

29.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

1.5m

29. Road Markings

3m

3m

4.5 m

Figure 29:2: Center line and lane marking for a four lane road

1.5m

3m

100

100

Figure 29:3: Double solid line for a two lane road

100 mm
150 mm

1.5m

3m

Figure 29:4: Center barrier line marking for four lane road

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

29.3

February 19, 2014

29. Road Markings

100

Transportation Systems Engineering

3.0 m

150

1.5m

Figure 29:5: Lane marking for a four lane road with solid barrier line
100

1.5m

3.0 m

150
3.0 m

4.5 m

Figure 29:6: Traffic lane marking for a four lane road with broken center line
traffic lane lines are normally single broken lines of 100 mm width. Some examples are shown
in figure 29:5 and figure 29:6.

29.3.3

No passing zones

No passing zones are established on summit curves, horizontal curves, and on two lane and
three lane highways where overtaking maneuvers are prohibited because of low sight distance.
It may be marked by a solid yellow line along the center or a double yellow line. In the case of
a double yellow line, the left hand element may be a solid barrier line, the right hand may be a
either a broken line or a solid line . These solid lines are also called barrier lines. When a solid
line is to the right of the broken line, the passing restriction shall apply only to the opposing
traffic. Some typical examples are shown in figure 29:7 and figure 29:8. In the latter case, the
no passing zone is staggered for each direction.

29.3.4

Warning lines

Warning lines warn the drivers about the obstruction approaches. They are marked on horizontal and vertical curves where the visibility is greater than prohibitory criteria specified for
no overtaking zones. They are broken lines with 6 m length and 3 m gap. A minimum of seven
line segments should be provided. A typical example is shown in figure 29:9
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

29.4

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

29. Road Markings

yellow single/double line

Figure 29:7: Barrier line marking for a four lane road


e

in

rl

e
rri

Ba

3m 6m

Figure 29:8: No passing zone marking at horizontal curves

Figure 29:9: Warning line marking for a two lane road


Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

29.5

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

29. Road Markings

300
200
STOP

150

Figure 29:10: Stop line marking near an intersection

29.3.5

Edge lines

Edge lines indicate edges of rural roads which have no kerbs to delineate the limits up to which
the driver can safely venture. They should be at least 150 mm from the actual edge of the
pavement. They are painted in yellow or white.
All the lines should be preferably light reflective, so that they will be visible during night
also. Improved night visibility may also be obtained by the use of minute glass beads embedded
in the pavement marking materials to produce a retroreflective surface.

29.4

Transverse markings

Transverse markings are marked across the direction of traffic. They are marked at intersections
etc. The site conditions play a very important role. The type of road marking for a particular
intersection depends on several variables such as speed characteristics of traffic, availability of
space etc. Stop line markings, markings for pedestrian crossing, direction arrows, etc. are some
of the markings on approaches to intersections.

29.4.1

Stop line

Stop line indicates the position beyond which the vehicles should not proceed when required to
stop by control devices like signals or by traffic police. They should be placed either parallel to
the intersecting roadway or at right angles to the direction of approaching vehicles. An example
for a stop line marking is shown in figure 29:10.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

29.6

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

29. Road Markings

Figure 29:11: Pedestrian marking near an intersection

29.4.2

Pedestrian crossings

Pedestrian crossings are provided at places where the conflict between vehicular and pedestrian
traffic is severe. The site should be selected that there is less inconvenience to the pedestrians
and also the vehicles are not interrupted too much. At intersections, the pedestrian crossings
should be preceded by a stop line at a distance of 2 to 3m for unsignalized intersections and at a
distance of one meter for signalized intersections. Most commonly used pattern for pedestrian
crossing is Zebra crossing consisting of equally spaced white strips of 500 mm wide. A typical
example of an intersection illustrating pedestrian crossings is shown in figure 29:11.

29.4.3

Directional arrows

In addition to the warning lines on approaching lanes, directional arrows should be used to guide
the drivers in advance over the correct lane to be taken while approaching busy intersections.
Because of the low angle at which the markings are viewed by the drivers, the arrows should
be elongated in the direction of traffic for adequate visibility. The dimensions of these arrows
are also very important. A typical example of a directional arrow is shown in figure 29:12.

29.5

Object marking

Physical obstructions in a carriageway like traffic island or obstructions near carriageway like
signal posts, pier etc. cause serious hazard to the flow of traffic and should be adequately
marked. They may be marked on the objects adjacent to the carriageway.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

29.7

February 19, 2014

29. Road Markings


1.2 m

1.2 m

Transportation Systems Engineering

0.55 m

3.5m

0.5m
3.5m

1.25m

0.4m
0.2m
0.4m
0.3m

0.3m

Figure 29:12: Directional arrow marking

29.5.1

Objects within the carriageway

The obstructions within the carriageway such as traffic islands, raised medians, etc. may be
marked by not less than five alternate black and yellow stripes. The stripes should slope forward
at an angle of 45 with respect to the direction of traffic. These stripes shall be uniform and
should not be less than 100 m wide so as to provide sufficient visibility.

29.5.2

Objects adjacent to carriageway

Sometimes objects adjacent to the carriageway may pose some obstructions to the flow of traffic.
Objects such as subway piers and abutments, culvert head walls etc. are some examples for
such obstructions. They should be marked with alternate black and white stripes at a forward
angle of 45 with respect to the direction of traffic. Poles close to the carriageway should be
painted in alternate black and white up to a height of 1.25 m above the road level. Other
objects such as guard stones, drums, guard rails etc. where chances of vehicles hitting them are
only when vehicle runs off the carriageway should be painted in solid white. Kerbs of all islands
located in the line of traffic flow shall be painted with either alternating black and white stripes
of 500 mm wide or chequered black and white stripes of same width. The object marking for
central pier and side walls of an underpass is illustrated in figure 29:13.

29.6

Word messages

Information to guide, regulate, or warn the road user may also be conveyed by inscription
of word message on road surface. Characters for word messages are usually capital letters.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

29.8

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

29. Road Markings

Figure 29:13: Marking for objects adjacent to the road way


The legends should be as brief as possible and shall not consist of more than three words for
any message. Word messages require more and important time to read and comprehend than
other road markings. Therefore, only few and important ones are usually adopted. Some of
the examples of word messages are STOP, SLOW, SCHOOL, RIGHT TUN ONLY etc. The
character of a road message is also elongated so that driver looking at the road surface at a low
angle can also read them easily. The dimensioning of a typical alphabet is shown in figure 29:14.

29.6.1

Parking

The marking of the parking space limits on urban roads promotes more efficient use of the
parking spaces and tends to prevent encroachment on places like bus stops, fire hydrant zones
etc. where parking is undesirable. Such parking space limitations should be indicated with
markings that are solid white lines 100 mm wide. Words TAXI, CARS, SCOOTERS etc. may
also be written if the parking area is specific for any particular type of vehicle. To indicate
parking restriction, kerb or carriage way marking of continuous yellow line 100 mm wide covering
the top of kerb or carriageway close to it may be used.

29.6.2

Hazardous location

Wherever there is a change in the width of the road, or any hazardous location in the road,
the driver should be warned about this situation with the help of suitable road markings.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

29.9

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

29. Road Markings

1250

260

313

78

Figure 29:14: Typical dimension of the character T used in road marking

Figure 29:15: Approach marking for obstructions on the road way


Road markings showing the width transition in the carriageway should be of 100 mm width.
Converging lines shall be 150 mm wide and shall have a taper length of not less than twenty
times the off-set distance. Typical carriageway markings showing transition from wider to
narrower sections and vice-versa is shown in figure 29:15. In the figure, the driver is warned
about the position of the pier through proper road markings.

29.7

Summary

Road markings are aids to control traffic by exercising psychological control over the road
users. They are made use of in delineating the carriage way as well as marking obstructions, to
ensure safe driving. They also assist safe pedestrian crossing. Longitudinal markings which are
provided along the length of the road and its various classifications were discussed. Transverse
markings are provided along the width of the road. Road markings also contain word messages,
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

29.10

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

29. Road Markings

but since it is time consuming to understand compared to other markings there are only very few
of them. Markings are also used to warn the driver about the hazardous locations ahead. Thus
road markings ensure smooth flow of traffic providing safety also to the road users. The following
web link give further insight in to the road markings: mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/pdfs/200311/pdfindex.htm.

29.8

References

1. L. R Kadiyali. Traffic Engineering and Transportation Planning. Khanna Publishers,


New Delhi, 1987.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

29.11

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

30. Uncontrolled Intersection

Chapter 30
Uncontrolled Intersection
30.1

Introduction

Uncontrolled intersections are the traffic junctions where there is no explicit traffic control measures are adopted. The important aspects that will be covered in this chapter are: the concept
of two-way stop controlled intersection, all-way stop controlled intersection, gap acceptance,
critical gap, follow-up time, potential capacity, and delay determination. These concepts are
primarily adopted from Highway Capacity Manual.

30.1.1

Categories of Intersection

An intersection is a road junction where two or more roads either meet or cross at grade.
This intersection includes the areas needed for all modes of travel: pedestrian, bicycle, motor
vehicle, and transit. Thus, the intersection includes not only the pavement area, but typically
the adjacent sidewalks and pedestrian curb cut ramps.
All the road junctions designated for the vehicles to turn to different directions to reach
their desired destinations. Traffic intersections are complex locations on any highway. This is
because vehicles moving in different direction want to occupy same space at the same time. In
addition, the pedestrians also seek same space for crossing. Drivers have to make split second
decision at an intersection by considering his route, intersection geometry, speed and direction
of other vehicles etc. A small error in judgment can cause severe accidents. It causes delay
and it depends on type, geometry, and type of control. Overall traffic flow depends on the
performance of the intersections. It also affects the capacity of the road. Therefore, both
from the accident perspective and the capacity perspective, the study of intersections are very
important by the traffic engineers. Intersection design can vary widely in terms of size, shape,
number of travel lanes, and number of turn lanes. Basically, there are four types of intersections,
determined by the number of road segments and priority usage.
1. Priority Intersection: Occur where one of the intersecting roads is given definite priDr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

30.1

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

30. Uncontrolled Intersection

ority over the other. The minor road will usually be controlled by some form of sing
marking, such as stop or yield sign; thus ensuring that priority vehicles travailing on the
main street will incur virtually no delay.
2. Space sharing intersection: Are intended to permit fully equally priority and to permit
continuous movement for all intersecting vehicle flows; example would be rotaries and
other weaving areas.
3. Time Sharing Intersection: Are those at which alternative flows are given the right
of way at different point in time. This type of intersection is controlled by traffic signal
or by police officer.
4. Uncontrolled intersection: are the most common type of intersection usually occurs
where the intersecting roads are relatively equal importance and found in areas where
there is not much traffic shown in Fig. 30:1.
At uncontrolled intersection the arrival rate and individuals drivers generally determine the
manner of operation, while the resulting performance characteristics are derived from joint
consideration of flow conditions and driver judgment and behavior patterns. In simplest terms,
an intersection, one flow of traffic seeks gaps in the opposing flow of traffic.
At priority intersections, since one flow is given priority over the right of way it is clear
that the secondary or minor flow is usually the one seeking gaps. By contrast at uncontrolled
intersection, each flow must seek gaps in the other opposing flow. When flows are very light,
which is the case on most urban and rural roads large gaps exist in the flows and thus few
situation arise when vehicles arrive at uncontrolled intersection less than 10 second apart or at
interval close enough to cause conflicts. However when vehicles arrive at uncontrolled intersection only a few second apart potential conflicts exist and driver must judge their relative time
relationships and adjusts accordingly.
Generally one or both vehicles most adjust their speeds i.e. delayed somewhat with the
closer vehicle most often taking the right of way; in a sense, of course, the earlier arriving
vehicle has priority and in this instance when two vehicles arrive simultaneous, the rule of
the road usually indicate priority for the driver on the right. The possibility of judgmental in
these, informal priority situation for uncontrolled intersection is obvious. At an Uncontrolled
intersection: Service discipline is typically controlled by signs (stop or yield signs) using two
rules two way stop controlled intersection (TWSC) and all way stop controlled intersection
(AWSC).

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

30.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

30. Uncontrolled Intersection

Figure 30:1: Example showing uncontrolled intersection


STOP

STOP

STOP

STOP

Figure 30:2: Two way stop controlled intersection

30.1.2

Two-way stop-controlled intersection

Researchers rely on many specific definitions to describe the performance of traffic operation
systems. The clear understanding of such terminology is an important element is studying
two-way stop-controlled (TWSC) traffic operation system characteristics; defined as: One of
the uncontrolled intersections with stop control on the minor street shown in Fig. 30:2.
Characteristics of TWSC Intersections
At TWSC intersections, the stop-controlled approaches are referred to as the minor street
approaches; the intersection approaches that are not controlled by stop signs are referred to as
the major street approaches. A three-leg intersection is considered to be a standard type of
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

30.3

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

30. Uncontrolled Intersection

Fourleg intersection

Tintersection

11
12 10
STOP

16

6
5
4

13

13

14

1
2
3

14

2
3

15

15
STOP

STOP

78 9

Rank
1
2
3
4

5
4

7 9

Traffic stream
2, 3, 5, 6, 15, 16
1, 4, 13, 14, 9, 12
8, 11
7, 10

Rank
1
2
3

Traffic stream
2, 3, 5, 15
4, 13, 14, 9
7

Figure 30:3: Traffic flow stream in two way stop controlled intersection
TWSC intersection if the single minor street approach is controlled by a stop sign. Three-leg
intersections where two of the three approaches are controlled by stop signs are a special form
of uncontrolled intersection control.
Flows at TWSC Intersections
TWSC intersections assign the right-of-way among conflicting traffic streams according to the
following hierarchy:
1. The major street through and right-turning movements are the highest-priority movements at a TWSC intersection. This movements shown Fig. 30:3 are 2, 3, 5, 6, 15 and
16.
2. Vehicles turning left from the major street onto the minor street yield only to conflicting
major street through and right-turning vehicles. All other conflicting movements yield to
these major street left-turning movements. The movements on this rank are 1, 4, 13, 14,
9 and 12.
3. Minor Street through vehicles yield to all conflicting major street through, right-turning,
and left-turning movements. The movements on this rank are 8 and 11.
4. Minor Street left-turning vehicles yield to all conflicting major street through, rightturning, and left-turning vehicles and to all conflicting minor street through and rightturning vehicles. The movements on this rank are 7 and 10.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

30.4

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

30. Uncontrolled Intersection

A
STOP

STOP

STOP

STOP

B
Figure 30:4: All way stop controlled intersection

30.1.3

All-way-stop-controlled intersection

All-way-stop-controlled intersection (AWSC) are mostly used approaching from all directions
and is required to stop before proceeding through the intersection as shown in Fig. 30:4. An
all-way stop may have multiple approaches and may be marked with a supplemental plate
stating the number of approaches.
The analysis of AWSC intersection is easier because all users must stop. In this type of
intersection the critical entity of the capacity is the average intersection departure head way.
Secondary parameters are the number of cross lanes, turning percentages, and the distribution
volume on each approach. The first step for the analysis of capacity is select approach called
subject approach the approach opposite to subject approach is opposing approach, and the
approach on the side of the subject approach is are called conflicting approach.
Characteristics of AWSC intersections
AWSC intersections require every vehicle to stop at the intersection before proceeding. Since
each driver must stop, the judgment as to whether to proceed into the intersection is a function
of traffic conditions on the other approaches. If no traffic is present on the other approaches, a
driver can proceed immediately after the stop is made. If there is traffic on one or more of the
other approaches, a driver proceeds only after determining that there are no vehicles currently
in the intersection and that it is the drivers turn to proceed.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

30.5

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

30.2

30. Uncontrolled Intersection

Gap acceptance and follow-up time

Gap acceptance is one of the most important components in microscopic traffic characteristic.
The gap acceptance theory commonly used in the analysis of uncontrolled intersections based
on the concept of defining the extent drivers will be able to utilize a gap of particular size
or duration. A driver entering into or going across a traffic stream must evaluate the space
between a potentially conflicting vehicle and decide whether to cross or enter or not. One of
the most important aspects of traffic operation is the interaction of vehicles with in a single
stream of traffic or the interaction of two separate traffic streams. This interaction takes place
when a driver changes lanes merging in to a traffic stream or crosses a traffic stream. Inherent
in the traffic interaction associated with these basic maneuvers is concept of gap acceptance.

30.2.1

Basic Terminologies

1. Gap means the time and space that a subject vehicle needs to merge adequately safely
between two vehicles. Gap acceptance is the minimum gap required to finish lane changing
safely. Therefore, a gap acceptance model can help describe how a driver judges whether
to accept or not.
2. Gap acceptance: The process by which a minor stream vehicle accepts an available gap
to maneuver.
3. Critical gap: The minimum major-stream headway during which a minor-street vehicle
can make a maneuver.
4. Lag: Time interval between the arrival of a yielding vehicle and the passage of the next
priority stream vehicle (Forward waiting time).
5. Headway: The time interval between the arrivals of two successive vehicles. Headway
differs from gap because it is measured from the front bumper of the front vehicle to the
front bumper of the next vehicle.
6. Minimum Headway: The minimum gap maintained by a vehicle in the major traffic
stream.
7. Follow-up time: Time between the departure of one vehicle from the minor street and
the departure of the next vehicle using the same gap under a condition of continuous
queuing.
8. Delay: The additional travel time experienced by a driver, passenger or pedestrian.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

30.6

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

30. Uncontrolled Intersection

9. Conflicting movements: The traffic streams in conflict at an intersection.


10. Capacity: The maximum hourly rate at which persons or vehicles can reasonably be
expected to traverse a point or uniform section of a lane or a roadway during a given time
period under prevailing roadway, traffic, and control conditions.

30.2.2

Critical Gap

The critical gap tcx for movement x is defined as the minimum average acceptable gap that
allows intersection entry for one minor street or major street. The term average acceptable
means that the average driver would accept or choose to utilize a gap of this size. The gap is
measured as the clear time in the traffic stream defined by all conflicting movements. Thus, the
model assumes that all gaps shorter than tcx are rejected or unused, while all gaps equal to or
larger than tcx would be accepted or used. The adjusted critical gap tcx computed as follows.
tcx = tcb + tcHV P HV + tcG G tc,T t3,LT

(30.1)

where, tcx is the critical gap for movement x, tcb is the base critical gap from Table. 30:1 tcHV
is the adjustment factor for heavy vehicles PHV is the proportion of heavy vehicles tcG is the
adjustment factor for grade G is the percent grade divided by 100, tcT is the adjustment factor
for each part of a two-stage gap acceptance process, and t3LT is the critical gap adjustment
factor for intersection geometry.

30.2.3

Follow-up time

The follow up time tf x for movement x is the minimum average acceptable time for a second
queued minor street vehicle to use a gap large enough admit two or more vehicles. Followup times were measured directly by observing traffic flow. Resulting follow-up times were
analyzed to determine their dependence on different parameters such as intersection layout.
This measurement is similar to the saturation flow rate at signalized intersection. Table. 30:1
and 30:2 shows base or unadjusted values of the critical gap and follow up time for various
movements. Base critical gaps and follow up times can be adjusted to account for a number
of conditions, including heavy - vehicle presence grade, and the existence of two stage gap
acceptance. Adjusted Follow up Time computed as:
tf x = tf b + tf HV PHV

(30.2)

where, tf x is the follow-up time for minor movement x tf b is the base follow-up time from table
1 tf HV is the adjustment factor for heavy vehicles, and PHV is the proportion of heavy vehicles
for minor movement.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

30.7

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

30. Uncontrolled Intersection

Table 30:1: Base critical gap and follow up times


Base Critical Gap,tc ,base (s) Base Follow-up
Vehicle Movement
Two-Lane
Four-Lane
Time
Major Street Major Street
tf,base (s)
Left turn from major
4.1
4.1
2.2
Right turn from minor
6.2
6.9
3.3
Through traffic on minor
6.5
6.5
4.0
Left turn from minor
7.1
7.5
3.5

Table 30:2: Adjustments to base critical gap and follow up times


Adjustment
Values(s)
Factor
tcHV
1.0
Two-lane major streets
2.0
Four-lane major streets
tcG
0.1
Movements 9 and 12
0.2
Movements 7,8,10 and 11
1.0
Otherwise
tcT
1.0 First or second stage of two-stage process
0.0
For one-stage process
T3LT
0.7
Minor-street LT at T-intersection
0.0
Otherwise
tf HV
0.9
Two-lane major streets
1.0
Four-lane major streets

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

30.8

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

30. Uncontrolled Intersection

Vehicle/Pedestrian Conflicts
Vehicle/Vehicle Conflicts

Figure 30:5: Conflicts at four legged intersection

30.2.4

Conflicting volume

The traffic flow process at un-controlled intersection is complicated since there are many distinct
vehicular movements to be accounted for. Most of this movements conflict with opposing
vehicular volumes. These conflicts result in decreasing capacity, increasing delay, and increasing
potentials for traffic accidents. Consider a typical four-legged intersection as shown in Fig. 30:5
The numbers of conflicts for competing through movements are 4, while competing right turn
and through movements are 8. The conflicts between right turn traffics are 4, and between left
turn and merging traffic are 4. The conflicts created by pedestrians will be 8 taking into account
all the four approaches. Diverging traffic also produces about 4 conflicts. Therefore, a typical
four legged intersection has about 32 different types of conflicts. Conflicts at an intersection are
different for different types of intersection. The essence of the intersection control is to resolve
these conflicts at the intersection for the safe and efficient movement of both vehicular traffic
and pedestrians. The movements for determining conflict in four legged intersection are:
1. Major street left turns seek gaps through the opposing through movement, the opposing right turn movement and pedestrians crossing the far side of the minor street.
2. Minor street right turns seek to merge in to the right most lane of the major street,
which contains through and right turning vehicles. Each right turn from the minor street
must also cross the two pedestrians path shown.
3. Through movements from the minor street must cross all major street vehicular and
pedestrians flows.
4. Minor street left turns must deal not only with all major street traffic flow but with
two pedestrians flows and the opposing minor street through and right turn movements.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

30.9

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

30. Uncontrolled Intersection

5
4
13

14

2
3
15
STOP

7 9

Figure 30:6: Three legged intersection conflicts volume determination for movement 7
Through this movements the conflict volume (Vcx ) for the given movement x is can be computed.
As an example the formula of conflict volume for movement 7 for three legged intersection shown
in Fig. 30:6 computed as:
Vc7 = 2Vc4 + Vc5 + Vc2 + 0.5V3 + V13 + V15

30.3

(30.3)

Potential Capacity

Capacity is defined as the maximum number of vehicles, passengers, or the like, per unit
time, which can be accommodated under given conditions with a reasonable expectation of
occurrence. Potential capacity describes the capacity of a minor stream under ideal conditions
assuming that it is unimpeded by other movements and has exclusive use of a separate lane.
Once of the conflicting volume, critical gap and follow up time are known for a given
movement its potential capacity can be estimated using gap acceptance models. The concept
of potential capacity assumes that all available gaps are used by the subject movement i.e.;
there are no higher priority vehicular or pedestrian movements and waiting to use some of
the gaps it also assumes that each movement operates out of an exclusive lane. The potential
capacity of can be computed using the formula:
cpx

evcx tcx /3600


= vcx
1 evcx tf x /3600

(30.4)

where, cpx is the potential capacity of minor movement x (veh/h), vcx is the conflicting flow rate
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

30.10

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

30. Uncontrolled Intersection

for movement x (veh/h), tcx is the critical gap for minor movement x, and tf x is the follow-up
time movement x.

30.4

Movement capacity and impedance effects

Vehicles use gaps at a TWSC intersection in a prioritized manner. When traffic becomes
congested in a high-priority movement, it can impede lower-priority movements that are streams
of Ranks 3 and 4 as shown in Fig. 30:4 from using gaps in the traffic stream, reducing the
potential capacity of these movements. The ideal potential capacities must be adjusted to
reflect the impedance effects of higher priority movements that may utilize some of the gaps
sought by lower priority movements. This impedance may come due to both pedestrians and
vehicular sources called movement capacity.
The movement capacity is found by multiplying the potential capacity by an adjustment
factor. The adjustment factor is the product of the probability that each impeding movement
will be blocking a subject vehicle. That is
X
Cmx = Cpx
Pvi Ppi
(30.5)
i

where, Cmx is the movement capacity in vph, Cpx is the potential capacity movement x in
vph, Pvi is the probability that impeding vehicular movement i is not blocking the subject
flow; (also referred to as the vehicular impedance factor for movement i, Ppi is the probability
that impeding pedestrian movement j is not blocking the subject flow; also referred to us the
pedestrian impedance factor for the movement j.

30.4.1

Vehicular movements

Priority 2 vehicular movements LTs from major street and RTs from minor street are not
impeded by any other vehicular flow, as they represent the highest priority movements seeking
gaps. They are impeded, however, by Rank 1 pedestrian movements. Priority 3 vehicular
movements are impeded by Priority 2 vehicular movements and Priority l and 2 pedestrian
movements seeking to use the same gaps. Priority 4 vehicular movements are impeded by
Priority 2 and 3 vehicular movements, and Priority 1 and 2 pedestrian movements using the
same gaps. Table. 30:3 lists the impeding flows for each subject movement in a four leg.
Generally the rule stated the probability that impeding vehicular movement i is not blocking
the subject movement is computed as
Pvi = 1
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

30.11

vi
Cmi

(30.6)
February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

30. Uncontrolled Intersection

Table 30:3: Relative pedestrian/vehicle hierarchy


Vehicle Stream
Must Yield to
Impedance Factor for
Pedestrian Stream
Pedestrians, Pp,x
V1
V16
Pp,16
V4
V15
Pp,15
V7
V15 , V13
(Pp,15)(Pp,13 )
V8
V15 , V16
(Pp,15)(Pp,16 )
V9
V15 , V14
(Pp,15)(Pp,14 )
V10
V16 , V14
(Pp,16)(Pp,14 )
V11
V15 , V16
(Pp,15)(Pp,16 )
V12
V16 , V13
(Pp,16)(Pp,13 )

where, vi is the demand flow for impeding movement i, and Cmi is the movement capacity for
impeding movement i vph. Pedestrian impedance factors are computed as:

30.4.2

Pedestrian Movements

One of the impeding effects for all the movement is pedestrians movement. Both approaches of
Minor-street vehicle streams must yield to pedestrian streams. Table. 30:3 shows that relative
hierarchy between pedestrian and vehicular streams used. A factor accounting for pedestrian
blockage is computed by Eqn. 30.7 on the basis of pedestrian volume, the pedestrian walking
speed, and the lane width that is:
Ppj = 1

Vj (W/Sp )
3600

(30.7)

where, ppj is the pedestrian impedance factor for impeding pedestrian movement j, vj is the
pedestrian flow rate, impeding movement j in peds/hr, w is the lane width in m, and Sp is the
pedestrian walking speed in m/s.

30.4.3

Determining Shared Lane Capacity

The capacities of individual streams (left turn, through and right turn) are calculated separately. If the streams share a common traffic lane, the capacity of the shared lane is then
calculated according to the shared lane procedure. But movement capacities still represent an
assumption that each minor street movement operates out of an exclusive lane. Where two or

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

30.12

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

30. Uncontrolled Intersection

three movements share a lane its combined capacity computed as:


CSH =

y Vy
y
)
y ( CVmy

(30.8)

where, CSH is the shared lane capacity in veh/hr, Vy is the flow rate, movement y sharing lane
with other minor street flow, and Cmy is the movement capacity of movement y sharing lane
with other minor street.

30.5

Determining control delay

Delay is a complex measure and depends on a number of variables it is a measure of driver


discomfort, frustration, fuel consumption, increased travel time etc. Total delay is the difference
between the travel time actually experienced and the reference travel time that would result
during base conditions, in the absence of incident, control, traffic, or geometric delay. Also,
Average control delay for any particular minor movement is a function of the Capacity of the
approach and The degree of saturation. The control delay per vehicle for a movement in a
separate lane is given by:

s


3600 Vx
Vx
Vx
3600
(30.9)
+ 900T
1 + (
1)2 + Cmx Cmx + 5
dx =
Cmx
Cmx
Cmx
450T
where, dx is the average control delay per vehicle for movement x in s/veh, Cmx is the capacity
of movement or shared lane x in veh/hr, T is the analysis period h (15 min=0.25 h), and Vx is
the demand flow rate, movement or shared lane x in veh/hr.

30.5.1

Performance measures

Four measures are used to describe the performance of TWSC intersections: control delay,
delay to major street through vehicles, queue length, and v/c ratio. The primary measure
that is used to provide an estimate of LOS is control delay. This measure can be estimated
for any movement on the minor (i.e., the stop-controlled) street. By summing delay estimates
for individual movements, a delay estimate for each minor street movement and minor street
approach can be achieved.
For AWSC intersections, the average control delay (in seconds per vehicle) is used as the
primary measure of performance. Control delay is the increased time of travel for a vehicle
approaching and passing through an AWSC intersection, compared with a free flow vehicle if
it were not required to slow or stop at the intersection. According to the performance measure
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

30.13

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

30. Uncontrolled Intersection

Table 30:4: Level of service criteria for TWSC intersection


Level of Service Control delays(s/veh)
A
0-10
B
> 10-15
C
> 15-25
D
> 25-35
E
> 35-50
F
> 50

4
12

75)7)
400(5)

STOP

200(2)

15(13)

20(4)

7
30(3)

(9)

30(15)

Pedestrians Movement
9

Vehicle Movement

Figure 30:7: Three legged intersection


of the TWSC intersection, LOS of the minor-street left turn operates at level of service C
approaches to B.
Numerical example
For a three legged intersection given in figure 30:7 determine the control delay and level of
service for movement 7. The total volume of both pedestrian and vehicular traffic at each
movement is given in the figure itself. Following data is also given:
The speed of the pedestrians is 1.2m/s
All flows contains 10% trucks
The percentage of the grade is 0.00
Ignore moments coming from south bound
The analysis period is 15 min. (T=0.25)
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

30.14

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

30. Uncontrolled Intersection

Solution:
1. Compute the critical gap and follow up time:
(a) Critical gap tcx = tcb + tcHV P HV + tcG GtcT tLT . From table. 30:1 and table. 30:2 we
have tcb = 7.1 s , tcG = 0.2, tcT = 0.0, tLT = 0.0. Then tcx at movement 7 computed
as: tc7 = 7.1 + 1.0 0.1+0.2 0.0 - 0.0 - 0.0 = 6.50 sec
(b) To compute the Follow up time: From table. 30:1 and table. 30:2 we have tf b = 3.5
s , tf HV = 0.9. Then tf x at movement 7 computed as: tf x = tf b + tf HV PHV tf 7 =
3.5 + 0.9 0.1 = 3.59 sec.
2. Compute the conflicting flow rate:
Vc7 = 2V4 + V5 + V13 + V2 + 0.5V3 + V15
= 40 + 400 + 15 + 200 + 0.5 30 + 30
= 700 conflicts/hr
3. Determining potential capacity:
e(vcx tcx /3600)
1 e(vcx tf x /3600)
e(7006.5/3600)
= 700
1 e(7003.59/3600)
= 394 vph.

Cpx = vcx

Cp7

4. Determine the impudence effect of the movement capacity for movement 7: From the
given figure movement 7 is impeded by vehicular movement 4 and 1 and pedestrian 13
and 15.
(a) Pedestrian impedance probability computed as:
h i
w
vj Sp
Ppi = 1
3600
6
15 1.2
Pp 13 = 1
= 1 0.0417 = 0.958
3600
 4.5 
30 1.2
= 1 0.03125 = 0.969.
Pp 15 = 1
3600
(b) Vehicular impedance probabilities are:
vi
Cmi
= 1 20/394 = 0.949

Pvi = 1
Pv4
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

30.15

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

30. Uncontrolled Intersection

(c) Once the pedestrian and vehicular impedance is determined, the moment capacity
is computed as:
Cmx = Cpx P Pvi Ppj
Cm7 = 394 (0.949)(0.969)(0.958) = 347 vph.
5. Delay computation: The delay is Calculated by using the formula

s


3600 Vx
3600
Vx
Vx
d7 =
+ 900T
1 + (
1)2 + Cmx Cmx + 5
Cmx
Cmx
Cmx
450T

s


3600 75
75
75
3600
+ 900 0.25
1 + (
1)2 + 347 347 + 5
=
347
347
347
450 0.25
= 18.213 sec/veh
The delay of movement 7 is 18.213 sec/veh.
6. Determine the level of service: From the computed delay (18.213 se) in step 5 the level
of service is LOS C obtained from HCM table.

30.6

Conclusion

This chapter focuses on theoretical analysis of capacity at uncontrolled intersections. First the
gap acceptance theory and follow time was described; including conflict volume determination
through the hierarchy of priorities for two ways stop controlled intersection. Second, after
determining the potential capacity using the computed value and then prepare an adjustment
for this capacity. Finally, computation of the delay to determine the level of service (LOS) of
the given intersection is also described.

30.7

References

1. Highway Capacity Manual. Transportation Research Board. National Research Council,


Washington, D.C., 2000.
2. W S Homburger. Fundamentals of traffic engineering. 2019. 12th Edition, pp 5-1 to 5-5.
3. William R McShane, Roger P Roesss, and Elena S Prassas. Traffic Engineering. PrenticeHall, Inc, Upper Saddle River, New Jesery, 1998.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

30.16

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

Chapter 31
Channelization
31.1

Introduction

One of the most effective and efficient methods of controlling the traffic on a highway is the
adoption of high intersection geometric design standards. Channelization is an integral part
of at grade intersections and is used to separate turning movements from through movements
where this is considered advisable and hence helps reduce the intensity and frequency of loss
of life and property due to accidents to a large extent. Proper Channelization increases capacity, improves safety, provides maximum convenience, and instils driver confidence. Improper
Channelization has the opposite effect and may be worse than none at all. Over Channelization
should be avoided because it could create confusion and worsen operations.

31.2

Definitions and Important Terms

1. Channelization - It is the separation or regulation of conflicting traffic movements into


definite paths of travel by traffic islands or pavement marking to facilitate the safe and
orderly movements of both vehicles and pedestrians.
2. Conflict - It is defined as the demand for the same highway space by two or more users
of the highway. Conflicts are classified into mainly three types:
(a) Crossing conflicts
(b) Diverging conflicts
(c) Merging conflicts
3. Angle of Intersection - The angle of intersection is that formed by the centerlines
of the intersecting streets. Where the angle of intersection departs significantly (more
than approximately 20o ) from right angles, the intersection is referred to as a skewed
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.1

February 19, 2014

31. Channelization

Min

or
L eg

Transportation Systems Engineering

Angle of Intersection

Major Leg

Figure 31:1: Angle of Intersection


intersection. Fig. 31:1 shows the angle made between the center lines of the major and
minor legs.
4. Refuge Areas - The area which is used to give refuge to the pedestrians crossing a
street (the open area between two medians) is known as a refuge area.

31.3

Objectives

The use of Channelization is often creative and innovative, providing for vehicle path separation
and distinct and thus in general making traffic flow safer, smoother, simpler and efficient. The
main objectives of Channelization can be summarized as follows:
1. Separation of maneuver areas: The drivers should be presented with only one decision
at a time to reduce confusion and the influence of operations caused due to the overlapping
of maneuver areas.
2. Reduce excessively large paved areas: The spread of the paved area can be considerably reduced by the construction of raised islands and medians where these are considered
safe and necessary.
3. Control of maneuver angle:The intensity of accidents can be reduced to a large extent
by providing small angles for merging, diverging and weaving (at low relative speeds) and
approximately right angles for crossing (at high relative speeds). The maneuver angle
can be easily controlled by constructing islands of appropriate shapes and sizes.
4. Favor predominant turning movements: Channelization is also directed for giving
preference to turning movements at an intersection where the proportion of such traffic
is high.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

1
4
2

Figure 31:2: Illustration of T-intersection Channelization, (a)Intersection with no Channelization


5. Control of speed: Channelization is also used for supporting stop or speed regulations
by removing differentials in speed for merging, diverging, weaving and crossing by using
the bending and funneling techniques.
6. Protection and storage of turning and crossing vehicles: To shadow slow or
stopped vehicles from other traffic flows.
7. Blockage of prohibited movements: Proper Channelization also helps maintain traffic
regulations by making prohibited movements impossible or inconvenient.
8. Provide space for traffic control devices: To provide space for traffic control devices
when the ideal location for the same is within the intersection area.
9. Segregation of non-homogeneous flows: Channelization provides separate channels
for turning and through, fast and slow, and opposite direction traffic.
10. Protection of pedestrians and reduction of crossing distances between refuses:
Non-traversable and wide medians provide a refuge for pedestrians crossing a street.
Consider for example the T-intersection shown in Figs. 31:2, 31:3, and 31:4. In Fig. 31:2,
the intersection has no special Channelization for helping drivers in avoiding conflicts between
movements. In Fig. 31:3, a passing lane for through vehicles in the eastbound direction and a
westbound right-turn lane has been added, which helps in separating the turning traffic from
the through ones. In Fig. 31:4, the use of lanes is further clarified due to the addition of
channelizing islands.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.3

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

1
4
2

6
3

Figure 31:3: Illustration of T-intersection Channelization, (b)Intersection with right-turn and


passing lane

00
11
11
00
00
11
00
11
00
11
00
11
00
11
00
11
00
11
00
11
00
11
00
11
0000
1111
00
11
1111
0000
00
11
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00
0000 11
1111
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1111

1111
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0000
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0000
1111

11111111111111111111
00000000000000000000
00000000000000000000
11111111111111111111
00000000000000000000
11111111111111111111
00000000000000000000
11111111111111111111
00000000000000000000
11111111111111111111

Figure 31:4: Illustration of T-intersection Channelization, (c)Fully channelized intersection

31.4

Design Principles

Design of a channelized intersection usually involves the following significant controls: the type
of design vehicle, the cross sections on the crossroads, the projected traffic volumes in relation
to capacity, the number of pedestrians, the speed of vehicles, and the type and location of
traffic control devices. Furthermore, the physical controls such as right-of-way and terrain have
an effect on the extent of Channelization that is economically feasible.
The degree to which each of these principles applies will depend upon the features mentioned
above. While a principle may be modified in its application to a particular site, disregard of
these may result in a hazardous design. The principles may be summarized as follows:
1. Reduction of the Area of Conflict: The impact area is decreased when Channelization
is provided, and hence the probability of conflicts is also reduced. The figure below further
clarifies the statement. Fig. 31:5 shows the conflict area in a Y-intersection without
Channelization and Fig. 31:6 shows the reduced conflict area in the same intersection
after providing medians.
2. Merging traffic streams at small angles: Merging at small angles permits the flow
of traffic streams with minimum speed differentials. Hence, the gap acceptance time is
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.4

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

Figure 31:5: Conflict area in all paved intersection

Figure 31:6: Conflict area in a channelized intersection

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.5

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization
1111111111
0000000000
0000000000000
1111111111111
0000000000000
1111111111111
111111111
000000000
0000000000000
1111111111111
000000000
111111111
0000000000000
1111111111111
000000000
111111111
0000000000000
1111111111111
000000000
111111111
0000000000000
1111111111111
000000000
111111111

Figure 31:7: Merging of traffic streams


11111111
00000000
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
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00000000
000000000000000000000 11111111
111111111111111111111
00000000
11111111
000000000000000000000
111111111111111111111
000000000000000000000
111111111111111111111
000000000000000000000
111111111111111111111
000000000000000000000
111111111111111111111
000000000000000000000 111111111
111111111111111111111
000000000
000000000
111111111
000000000
111111111
000000000
111111111
000000000
111111111
000000000
111111111
000000000
111111111
000000000
111111111
000000000
111111111

Figure 31:8: Bending path of incoming minor street


also small in such cases. The merging of roadways should be done as shown below in
Fig. 31:7.
3. Reduction of the speed of incoming traffic by bending its path: The speed
of vehicles entering into the intersection can be reduced by bending the path to the
intersection approach. However as far as possible the path of the major traffic stream
should not be bent. The above technique is shown below in Fig. 31:8.
4. Reduction of speed of traffic by funneling: The funneling technique can also be
used for reducing the speeds of the incoming vehicles. Due to the decrease in the width
of the lane at the approach, the drivers tend to reduce the speed of their vehicles near
the intersection. Fig. 31:9 shows the funneling technique used for reduction of speed.
5. Protection for turning vehicles/crossing conflicting traffic streams: Provision
of a refuge area between the two opposing streams allows the driver of a crossing vehicle
to select a safe gap in one stream at a time and also provides a safer crossing maneuver.
Fig. 31:10further clarifies the above statement.
6. Discourage prohibited turns by island placement and shape: Undesirable and
prohibited turns can be discouraged by the proper selection of shape and location of the

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.6

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

6m

111111111
000000000
4m
000000000
111111111
000000000
111111111
000000000
111111111
000000000
111111111
000000000
111111111

3.5m
3.5m

6m

4m

Figure 31:9: Reduction of speed by funneling

000000000000000000
111111111111111111
111111111111111111
000000000000000000
000000000000000000
111111111111111111
000000000000000000
111111111111111111
000000000000000000
111111111111111111
000000000000000000
111111111111111111
000000000000000000
111111111111111111

000000000000000000
111111111111111111
111111111111111111
000000000000000000
000000000000000000
111111111111111111
000000000000000000
111111111111111111
000000000000000000
111111111111111111
000000000000000000
111111111111111111
000000000000000000
111111111111111111

Figure 31:10: Refuge area for protecting crossing or turning traffic

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.7

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

ONE WAY
11111
00000
00000
11111
00000
11111
00000
11111
00000
11111
00000
11111
00000
11111
00000
11111
00000
11111
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11111
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11111
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11111
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11111
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11111
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11111
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11111
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11111
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11111
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11111
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11111

Figure 31:11: Properly placed islands discourage prohibited movements


111111111
000000000
000000000
111111111
000000000
111111111
000000000
111111111
000000000
111111111

1111
0000
0000
1111

1111111111111111
0000000000000000
0000000000000000
1111111111111111
0000000000000000
1111111111111111
0000000000000000
1111111111111111

Figure 31:12: Location of signal posts on medians at intersections


islands. Fig. 31:11 shows how prohibited turns can be discouraged by proper shaping and
placement of islands.
7. Providing locations of traffic control devices: Channelization may provide locations
for the installation of essential traffic control devices, such as stop and directional signs,
signals etc. Fig. 31:12 shows how channelizing devices can also be used for locating traffic
control devices.

31.5

Channelizing devices

A channelizing device can be defined as any structure which helps in providing Channelization.
These can be wide raised medians, non-traversable road islands, traversable raised curbs or
even flush channelizing devices. A brief description of the various devices which are used for
the purpose of Channelization are given in the following sections.
1. Wide Raised Medians
In this form of channelizing device, a raised wide separator is constructed between the
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.8

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

Figure 31:13: Wide raised median


two opposing lanes and the space on the separator (median) is used either for planting
some trees and/or for providing space for traffic signs etc. Fig. 31:13 shows a typical wide
raised median on a freeway. A median varying between 1.2 m and 30 m in width may
be employed. The higher values of width are adopted on freeways, where sufficient space
is available for the construction of these. In addition, a well-landscaped wide median
will also provide aesthetic benefits to the surrounding neighborhood. A wide median, if
attractively landscaped, is often the most aesthetically pleasing separation method.
2. Non- traversable Raised Islands
In this type of device, a narrower and a higher median than the traversable island is
constructed between the opposing lanes. This class of device has the advantage of a
narrower median, but its use should be restricted to approach roadways with vehicle
speeds of 60 kmph or below. These are generally 15 to 20 cm high and about 60 cm
in width. Due to the height, most of the vehicles are not able to cross the median,
and hence the name. Fig. 31:14 shows a non-traversable raised island constructed on a
roadway. These devices are substantial enough that each installation should be carefully
designed, as an inappropriately placed median can constitute a hazard if struck by an
errant vehicle and hence the severity and crash risk is highly increased on the roadways
having non-traversable raised islands.
3. Traversable Raised Curb Systems
In this device, a narrow and mountable type of raised curb is constructed to separate the
traffic moving in the opposing lanes. This class of channelizing device is the narrowest,
and therefore the easiest to fit in a wide range of roadway cross-section widths. The curb
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.9

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

Figure 31:14: Non-traversable Raised Island (source: [13])

Figure 31:15: Traversable Raised Curb System (without vertical panels)


is up to 10 cm in height and up to about 30 cm in width. Curbs are formed with a
rounded shape that will create minimal vehicle deflection upon impact. Generally, it is
used with reboundable, reflectorized vertical panels to provide a visual deterrent to the
drivers to cross over to opposite traffic lane. The main advantage of this type of device
is that it can be installed on existing roadway centerlines, without the need for widening
the roadway approaches to the crossing. Figs. 31:15 and 31:16 shows traversable raised
curbs with and without vertical panels.
4. Flush Channelization
In this type of Channelization, a variety of treatments, including raising them above
the pavement just slightly (2 to 5 cm); the application of pavement markings and other
types of contrasting surfaces etc are possible. These may also be unpaved where they are
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.10

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

Figure 31:16: Traversable Raised Curb System (with vertical panels)

0
Flash Median
11
Travel lane
5
Bike lane

8.5
Parking

Figure 31:17: Flush island providing Channelization objectives


formed by the pavement edges of existing roadways. In areas where snow plowing may be
necessary, flush islands are the preferred design. Fig. 31:17 below shows how flush islands
can also be used for achieving channelizing objectives. The area seen flushed with the
road surface in Fig. 31:17 is the flush island.

31.6

Traffic Islands

A principle concern in Channelization is the design of the islands. An island is a defined area
between traffic lanes for control of vehicle movements. Within an intersection area, a median
or an outer separation is considered to be an island. It may range from an area delineated by
barrier curbs to a pavement area marked by paint.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.11

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

11111
00000
00000
11111
00000
11111
00000
11111
00000
11111
00000
11111
00000
11111

111
000
000
111
000
111
000
111
000
111
000
111

Figure 31:18: Channelizing Islands

00
11
11
00
00
11
00
11
00
11
00
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00
11
00
11
00
11
00
11
00
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00
11
11111111111111111111
00000000000000000000
00000000000000000000
11111111111111111111
00000000000000000000
11111111111111111111
00000000000000000000
11111111111111111111
00000000000000000000
11111111111111111111
00000000000000000000
11111111111111111111
00000000000000000000
11111111111111111111

1111111111
0000000000
0000000000
1111111111
0000000000
1111111111
0000000000
1111111111
0000000000
1111111111
0000000000
1111111111

Figure 31:19: Divisional Islands

31.6.1

Classification of Islands

Traffic islands usually serve more than one function, but may be generally classified in three
separate types:
1. Channelizing Islands - These are designed to control and direct traffic movement,
usually turning. Channelizing islands are are shown in Fig. 31:18.
2. Divisional Islands - These are designed to divide opposing or same direction traffic
streams, usually through movements. Fig. 31:19 shows the placing of divisional islands
in a roadway.
3. Refuge islands - Pedestrian islands are provided to serve as safety zones for the aid
and protection of persons on foot. If a divisional island is located in an urban area where
pedestrians are present, portions of each island can be considered a refuge island. Refuge
islands are shown below I Fig. 31:20. The design aspects of the traffic islands are dealt
in detail in the following sections.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.12

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

Figure 31:20: Refuge Islands

31.6.2

Design Considerations for Traffic Islands

The necessity for an island should be determined only by careful study, since it is placed in
an area that would otherwise be available for vehicular traffic. The island design should be
carefully planned so that the shape of the island will conform to natural vehicular paths and so
that a raised island will not constitute a hazard in the roadway. A judiciously placed island at
an intersection on a wide street may eliminate the need for traffic signal control by channelizing
traffic into orderly movements. The total design of traffic islands can be studied in three steps:
1. Selection of appropriate island type (barrier, mountable, painted or flush):
The site and traffic conditions in each intersection are different and hence the island type
suitable for each requires separate attention. The traffic island selected may vary from
barrier type islands to flush islands marked on the roadway surface.
2. Determination of shape and size of islands: The shape of the island and its size
in an intersection depends on the geometry and space availability at the same. A proper
shape and size of the island (in case of raised islands) must be selected so that it is able
to both channelized the traffic and not pose any type of hazard.
3. Location relative to adjacent traffic lanes: The islands must be offset from the
roadway by some distance to remove the risk of a vehicle dashing against the same. The
width of offset is maximum at the entry of the island and decreases gradually as one
moves towards the end of it.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.13

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31.6.3

31. Channelization

Guidelines for selection of island type

As mentioned earlier, each intersection has a unique geometry and flow values, and hence needs
special attention as far as the use of Channelization devices are concerned. The main factors
affecting the selection of the island type are:
1. Traffic characteristics at the intersection
2. Cost considerations, and
3. Maintenance needs
The raised islands and flush Channelization are dealt with in details in the following sections.
Flush Channelization
Flush Channelization is usually appropriate in the following conditions:
1. On high speed rural highways to separate turning lanes.
2. In constrained locations, i.e. the locations where vehicle path definition is desired but
space for raised islands not available.
3. For separating opposing traffic streams of low speed streets.
4. In areas where frequent removal of snowfall is required, i.e. in places of high snow fall.
5. It can also be used as a temporary Channelization either during construction or to test
traffic operations prior to the actual installation of raised islands.
However, the main demerits of this type of Channelization are :
1. It is not effective in prohibiting or preventing traffic movements.
2. It is also not appropriate for islands intended to serve as pedestrian refuge.
Raised Islands
The locations where the construction of raised islands assumes importance are:
1. The primary function of the channelizing device is shielding pedestrians or to provide
refuge to pedestrians crossing a street.
2. Also, the primary/secondary function is locating traffic signals or other fixed objects.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.14

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

Table 31:1: Flush Channelization vs


FLUSH CHANNELIZATION
1. For Right turns
2. To provide temporary or trail Channelization
3. To shadow left turns
RAISED CHANNELIZATION
1. Post signs or signals
2. Provide pedestrian refuse
3. Prevent wrong way movements

Raised Channelization
OPERATING CONDITIONS
High Speeds
Rural highway
Minor urban intersections
OPERATING CONDITIONS
Urban streets
Low speeds
High volumes

3. Intention is to prohibit or prevent certain traffic movements.


4. To separate high volume opposing traffic flows.
5. The raised islands are also particularly important at intersections with unusual geometry
i.e. skewed intersections.
A comparison between the usefulness and the operating conditions of the two types of Channelization is presented in Table. 31:1.

31.6.4

Guidelines for design of Traffic Islands

The main design principles followed for the design of the shape and size and shape of the traffic
island are as follows:
1. Shape and size: Islands are generally either narrow and elongated or triangular in
shape, are normally situated in areas of the roadway outside the planned vehicle paths,
and are shaped and dimensioned as component parts of the street or intersection layout.
The actual size differs as governed by site conditions, but the following minimum size
requirements should be met to insure that the island will be large enough to command
attention.
2. Traffic lanes or turning roadways should appear natural and convenient to their intended
users.
3. Number of islands should be held to a practical minimum to avoid confusion.
4. The islands should be large enough to be effective. Small islands do not serve as channelizing devices and pose maintenance problems.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.15

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

Table 31:2: Recommended Island Sizes


Location of Intersection
Size(Sq.meters)
Minimum Desired
Urban
4.65
7
Rural and High Speed urban/Suburban
7
9.3

Oe

Of
R3

Direction of
Traffic

Direction of
Traffic

Oa

Od

R1

R2

Ob

Oe

Direction of Traffic

Figure 31:21: Recommended Offset Dimensions for location of Traffic Islands


5. These should not be introduced at locations with restricted sight distance or middle of
sharp horizontal curves due to sight distance considerations.
Table. 31:2 gives the recommended minimum and desired area values of the traffic islands in
typical urban and rural intersections.

31.6.5

Guidelines for providing offset to the traffic islands from the


road edge

The orientation of islands near intersections is dictated by the alignment of the intersecting
roadways and their associated travel paths. Proper island design must minimize the potential
for vehicle impacts and reduce their severity. This is most often accomplished by offsetting the
approach ends of islands from the edge of travel lane them, tapering them inward. Another
technique that is the use of rounded approach noses that may also be sloped downward on
their approach ends. The general design dimensions of corner islands for roadways in shown
in Fig. 31:21. Another design consideration for islands is their surface finishing. Islands may
be paved or landscaped. Though paved islands are easier to maintain, yet they are typically
not as aesthetically pleasing. The use of colors that have contrast with the pavement surface is
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.16

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

Single
Radius

Figure 31:22: Various types of curves used for a turning roadway , (a)Simple Radius
desirable because they allow the island to be more clearly seen by drivers. Normally concrete
islands are paired with asphalt roadways and vice versa. Brick paver are also used in areas
where aesthetics are important. Other concerns include the need to provide adequate slope to
the surface of the island to facilitate drainage and to keep the island free of sight obstructions
and collision. Thus, all landscaping features should be kept below the clear vision envelop and
should not incorporate other fixed hazards.
Curve/taper combinations for turning roadways and islands
The combination of a simple radius flanked by tapers can often fit the pavement edge more
closely to the design motor vehicle than a simple radius (with no tapers). Figs. 31:22, 31:23
and 31:24 shows the various types of curves that can be used for a roadway. The closer fit
can be important for large design motor vehicles where effective pavement width is small (due
either to narrow pavement or need to avoid any encroachment), or where turning speeds greater
than the design speed are desired. Table. 31:3 and Table. 31:4 summarizes design elements
for curve/taper combinations that permit various design motor vehicles to turn, without any
encroachment, from a single approach lane into a single departure lane (Note: W should be
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.17

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

Offset

Taper
Single
Radius
Taper

Figure 31:23: Various types of curves used for a turning roadway, (b)Radius and Taper

Island

Larger
Radius
Smaller
Radius
Larger
Radius
Figure 31:24: Various types of curves used for a turning roadway, (c)Turning Roadway
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.18

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

Table 31:3: Curve and Taper Corner Design Elements


Angle of Turn
Design Vehicle
Radius
Offset
Taper Length
(Degrees)
(meters) (OS meters) (T1 meters)
Passenger Car
7.5
0.6
6
75
Single Unit Truck
13.5
0.6
6
Single Trailer Unit
19.5
0.9
13.5
Passenger Car
6
0.75
7.5
90
Single Unit Truck
12
0.6
6
Single Trailer Unit
18
1.2
18
Passenger Car
6
0.6
120
Single Unit Truck
9
0.9
Single Trailer Unit
13.5
1.2
18

determined using the turning path of the design vehicle) The width of the roadway can be
found out from Table. 31:5 given below.

31.7

Guidelines for design of Median islands

The general guidelines to be followed in the design of median islands (separators of opposing
traffic flows) are:
1. The approach noses should be offset 0.6 to 1.8 m from through lanes to minimize accidental
impacts.
2. Shape should be based on design turning paths and island function. (Generally parabolic
or circular arcs are used)
3. The length of median before the intersection is related to approach speed (normally 3 sec
driving time to intersection). It is also affected by available widths, taper designs and
local constraints.
4. The width of the medians should serve its primary intended function.
5. The median should always be provided well past crest vertical curves.
Fig. 31:25 shows the general design elements of medians provided just at the approach to a
intersection. The required median widths for performing their intended functions are provided
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.19

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

Table 31:4: Design elements for Turning Roadways


Angle of Turn
Design Vehicle
Radius(meter)
Offset
(Degrees)
R1-R2-R1
(OS meter)
Passenger Car (P)
30-22.5-30
0.6
75
Single Unit Truck (SU)
36-13.5-36
0.6
Semi-Trailer Unit (WB-50)
45-15-45
2
Passenger Car (P)
30-6-30
0.8
90
Single Unit Truck (SU)
36-12-36
0.6
Semi-Trailer Unit (WB-50)
54-18-54
2
Passenger Car (P)
30-6-30
0.6
120
Single Unit Truck (SU)
30-9-30
0.9
Semi-Trailer Unit (WB-50)
54-12-54
2.6

Table 31:5: Width of roadway required for negotiating the turn for different classes of vehicles
(W)
Radius on
inner edge
of
pavement
in meter
15
22.5
30
45
60
90

One-Lane One Way


Operation (No
provision of passing a
stalled vehicle) in meter
P SU
WB-50
3.9 5.4
7.8
3.9 5.1
6.6
3.9 4.8
6.3
3.6 4.8
5.7
3.6 4.8
5.1
3.6 4.5
5.1

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

One-Lane One Way


Operation (Having
provision of passing a
stalled vehicle) in meter
P SU
WB-50
6 8.7
13.2
5.7 8.1
10.8
5.7 7.5
10.2
5.4 7.2
8.7
5.4 6.9
8.1
5.4 6.6
7.5

31.20

Two way operation


Either One way or Two
way (Same Type of vehicle
in both lanes) in meter
P
SU
WB-50
7.8 10.5
15
7.5 9.9
12.6
7.5 9.3
12
7.2
9
10.5
7.2 8.7
9.9
7.2 8.4
9.3

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization
1 21 Sec.
Travel
time

3 Sec. Travel time(min)


RC at barrier nose or beyond
desirable

Mountable type median


0.6m R

W1

W4
000000000000000000
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0.3m R 111111111
W3
000000000
111111111111111111
000000000000000000
000000000
111111111
000000000000000000
111111111111111111
1111111111111111111111
0000000000000
000000000
000000000
111111111
W5
W5

Offset nose
from
(0.6m min)

W2
0.6m Stub

W2

Barrier type
median

W1 = U ndivided approach width


W2 = Divided approach width
W3 = (W1/2) or 4.2m whichever is larger
W4 = (W3 + W2/2 desirable
W3 = W2 + 0.3m

Figure 31:25: Design Criteria for raised median approaches to intersections


Table 31:6: Basic median functions and their required width
Function
Width in meter
Minimum Desirable
Separation of opposing traffic
1.2
3
Provision of pedestrian refuse
1.8
4.2
Provision of storage for left-turn vehicles
4.8
6
Provision for protection of vehicles crossing
7.5
9
through lanes
Provision for U turns, inside to outside lanes
4.8
6
Provision for U-turns, inside to inside lanes
7.8
9

by AASHTO and are shown in Table. 31:6 below. These widths are empirical and can be
applied at an intersection with reasonable efficiency.

31.7.1

Auxiliary Lanes

Auxiliary lanes are used under conditions of relatively high traffic volumes in the intersections.
In these cases, traffic congestion problems can be significantly alleviated with auxiliary lanes
to handle turning movements. The median lane should be 12 feet (3.6m), but not less than 10
feet (3.0m) wide and should be clearly marked for this purpose.
Auxiliary lanes can also be introduced to provide for both left turns and right turns at intersections. The need for such lanes is determined by capacity analysis and the acceptable level of
service designated for the facility. The lanes should be at least 2.7m wide for reconstruction and
resurfacing projects and at least 3.0m, preferably 3.6m for new construction projects. Auxiliary
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.21

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

Departure Taper

Approach Taper

Bay
Taper
Storage

Deceleration Length
Length

Figure 31:26: Components of Auxiliary Lane


lane shoulders can be reduced to 0.6 m wide on rural sections and 0 m wide on sections with
curb and gutter. The length of auxiliary lanes consists of five components:
1. Approach Taper
2. Deceleration Length
3. Bay Taper
4. Storage Length, and
5. Departure Taper.
A typical auxiliary lane with the components are shown in Fig. 31:26 below. These are discussed
in detail in the following section.
1. Approach Taper- The length of the approach taper varies with operating speeds. Guidelines for determining lengths are: (i) For speeds 70 kmph and over: L = 0.6W S, and (ii)
For speeds under 70 kmph: L = W S 2 /100 where, L is the length of entering taper in m,
W is the width to be tapered in m, and S is the operating Speed in kmph.
2. Deceleration Length- The deceleration length is that required for a comfortable stop
of a vehicle from a speed that is typical of the average running speed on the facility.
The Bay Taper can be considered part of the deceleration length. AASHTO has again
given a table for calculating the decelerating length value from the design speed value
(Table. 31:7).
3. Bay Taper - This is a straight line taper with ratios varying from 5:1 to 10:1. Higher
speed facilities should generally have longer tapers. Empirically, the minimum and maximum values of bay taper are taken as 18m and 36m respectively.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.22

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

Table 31:7: Deceleration length vs Design Speed


Design Speed Deceleration Length
(kmph)
(m)
40
35
55
45
65
55
70
65
80
95

Table 31:8: Criteria for


Effective Median Width
Less than 3m
3m - 20m
Over 20m

selection of median end shape


Median End Shape
Semi-circular
Bullet Nose
Treated as a separate intersection

4. Storage Length - The storage length should be sufficiently long to store the number of
vehicles likely to accumulate during the average daily peak period.
(a) At unsignalized intersections, length to be based on the number of vehicles likely to
arrive in an average 2-minute period within the peak hour.
(b) At signalized intersections, the required length depends on the signal cycle length,
the signal phasing arrangement and the rate of arrivals and departures of left turning
vehicles.
5. Departure Taper - The departure taper is normally taken equal in length to that of
the approach taper and should begin opposite the beginning of the Bay Taper.

31.7.2

Shape of Median Ends

Generally, two types of end shapes are used in practice:-semicircular shapes and bullet nose.
The shape adopted normally depends on the effective median width at the end of the median.
The dimensions of the various parameters for semi-circular and bullet nose ends area as: Semicircular- L = 2 ControlR, R1 = M/2. Bullet-nose- L = ControlR, R1 = M/2, R2 = M/5
The criteria for the selection of median end is as given below in Table. 31:8. The two shapes

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.23

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

nt

ro

R1

Co

(Normal)
M

Lane

Lane

Figure 31:27: Shapes of Median ends, (a)Semi-circular

Lane

R2

R1

R2

R1

R1

R1

Co
R

ntr

ol

Lane

Figure 31:28: Shapes of Median ends, (b)Bullet-nose

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.24

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

intersection

L
Bay Taper

Shoulder Median M

Left turn Lane


5.1
5.1
Parabolic
Parabolic
Flare
Flare
5.1
5.1
Left turn Lane R=Var

Shoulder

Bay Taper

Figure 31:29: Intersection Median Opening


are illustrated in Figs. 31:27 and 31:28. The designer should evaluate each intersection to
determine the best median opening shape that will accommodate the design vehicle.

31.7.3

Design of Median Openings

Median openings, sometimes called crossovers, provide for vehicular crossings of the median at
designated locations. The design of a median opening should be based on traffic volumes and
types of turning vehicles. Cross and turning traffic must operate in conjunction with the through
traffic on the divided highway. This requirement makes it necessary to know the volume and
composition of all movements occurring simultaneously during the design hours. The design
of a median opening becomes a matter of considering what traffic is to be accommodated,
choosing the design vehicle to use for layout controls for each cross and turning movement,
investigating whether larger vehicles can turn without undue encroachment on adjacent lanes
and, finally, checking the intersection for capacity. If the capacity is exceeded by the traffic
load, the design must be expanded, possibly by widening or otherwise adjusting widths for
certain movements. Traffic control devices such as yield signs, stop signs or traffic signals
may be required to regulate the various movements effectively and to improve the efficiency of
operations. Median openings at close intervals on other types of highways create interference
with fast through traffic. Median openings should be spaced at intervals no closer than 500
m. However, if a median opening falls within 100 m of an access opening, it should be placed
opposite the access opening. Also, the length of median opening varies with width of median
and angle of intersecting roads. Fig. 31:29 shows the intersection median opening. The median
openings for the different classes of design vehicle are as given in the Table. 31:9.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.25

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

Table 31:9: Median Openings


Width of
Median(m)
1.2
1.8
2.4
3
3.6
4.2
4.8
6

31.8

Passenger Car
Semi - circular Bullet nose
22.8
22.8
22.2
18
21.6
15.9
21
14.1
20.4
12.9
19.2
12
18
12
16.8
12

Single Unit Truck


Semi - circular Bullet nose
28.8
28.8
28.2
22.8
27.6
20.4
27
18.6
26.4
17.4
25.8
15.9
25.2
15
24
13.2

Single Trailer Unit


Semi - circular Bullet nose
43.8
36.6
43.2
34.5
42.6
33
42
31.5
41.4
30
40.8
28.8
40.2
27.6
39
25.5

Developing a Channelization Plan

1. Channelization is more of an art rather than science. Every intersection requires a special study because of variations in physical dimensions, turning movements, traffic and
pedestrian volumes, type of traffic control etc.
2. In the next step several island configurations are considered and compared. Then a choice
is made between curbed, raised islands and flush Channelization or pavement markings.
3. Next it must be checked that the design is compatible to handle turning movements of
large vehicles. Also, it should be such that the vehicles are guided in normal wheel paths,
so that the island does not create an obstruction in the roadway.
4. Signing and marking are redesigned to guide drivers and avoid confusion.
5. The final plan includes details of civil and electrical engineering features (like drainage
facilities, curbs, lighting, signals etc.) required for the project completion.

31.9

Typical Channelization Examples

Some typical Channelization ways used in practice are as given below. Figs. 31:30 to 31:41
indicate both normal Channelization and high type Channelization techniques for various intersections and situations.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.26

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

f
111111111
000000000
000000000
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000000000
111111111
000000000
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000000000
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000000000
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000000000
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000000000
111111111

Figure 31:30: Channelization for Y Intersections, (a)For low Flows

1111111111111111111
0000000000000000000
0000000000000000000
1111111111111111111
0000000000000000000
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0000000000000000000
1111111111111111111
0000000000000000000
1111111111111111111
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0000000000000000000000000000000
1111111111111111111111111111111
1111111111111111111111111111111
0000000000000000000000000000000
0000000000000000000000000000000
1111111111111111111111111111111

11111111
00000000
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111

Figure 31:31: Channelization for Y Intersections, (b)For High Flows

b
111111111
000000000
000000000
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d
000000000
111111111
000000000
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NOT RECOMMENDED WITHOUT
000000000
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000000000
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SIGNAL CONTROL
000000000
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000000000
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000000000
111111111
000000000
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000000000
111111111
000000000
111111111
000000000
111111111

Figure 31:32: Channelization for T Intersections, (a)For low Flows


Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.27

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization
1
0
0
1
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1

111111111
000000000
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000000000000
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000000000000
000000000000
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000000000000
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111111111111111
000000000000000
000000000000000
111111111111111
000000000000000
111111111111111
000000000000000
111111111111111

Figure 31:33: Channelization for T Intersections, (b)For High Flows

11111111111111111
00000000000000000
00000000000000000
11111111111111111
00000000000000000
11111111111111111
00000000000000000
11111111111111111
00000000000000000
11111111111111111
00000000000000000
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00000000000000000
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00000000000000000
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00000000000000000
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00000000000000000
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00000
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00000000000000000
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00000
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00000000000000000
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00000
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00000000000000000
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00000
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00000000000000000
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00000
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00000000000000000
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00000
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00000000000000
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00000000000000000
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c
00000
11111
00000000000000
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00000000000000000
11111111111111111
00000
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00000000000000
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00000 b
11111
o 11111111111111
00000000000000
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00000
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00000000000000
00000
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00000000000000
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0000000000000000000
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00000
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0000000000000000000
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00000
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00000000000000
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0000000000000000000
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00000
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00000000000000
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0000000000000000000
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00000
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00000000000000
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0000000000000000000
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00000
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00000000000000
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0000000000000000000
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00000
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0000000000000000000
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0000000000000000000
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0000000000000000000
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0000000000000000000
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0000000000000000000
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0000000000000000000
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0000000000000000000
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0000000000000000000
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0000000000000000000
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0000000000000000000
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0000000000000000000
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0000000000000000000
1111111111111111111

Figure 31:34: Channelization for T or Y Intersections (Channelized-High Type)

1111
0000
0000
1111
0000
1111
0000
1111
0000
1111
0000
1111
0000
1111
0000
1111
0000
1111
0000
1111
0000
1111
0000
1111
0000
1111

11111111
00000000
00000000
11111111
00000000
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00000000
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00000000
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00000000
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00000000
11111111
00000000
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00000000
11111111
11111
00000
00000
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00000
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00000
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00000
11111
00000
11111
00000
11111
00000
11111

11111111
00000000
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111

Figure 31:35: Channelization for T or Y Intersections (Channelized-High Type)


Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.28

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

111111
000000
000000
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000000000000111111
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000000
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000
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000000
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000
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000000000000
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000000
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000
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000000
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000
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000000000000
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000000
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000
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d
000000000000
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000000
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000
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000000
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000
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0000000000000
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0000000000000000
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0000000000000
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0000000000000000
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0000000000000000
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000000000
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0000000000000
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0000000000000000
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000000000
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0000000000000
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00000000000000001111111111111
1111111111111111
000000000
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0000000000000
0000000000000000
1111111111111111
000000000
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0000000000000
1111111111111
000000000
111111111
0000000000000
1111111111111
000000000
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0000000000000
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000000000
111111111
0000000000000
1111111111111
000000000
111111111

Figure 31:36: Channelization for T or Y Intersections (Channelized-High Type)

11111
00000
00000
11111
00000
11111
00000
11111
00000
11111
g
00000
11111
00000
11111
00000
11111
00000
11111
00000
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00000
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00000
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00000
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00000
11111
0000
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00000
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0000
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00000
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0000
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00000
11111
0000
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00000
11111
0000
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00000
11111
0000
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00000
11111
000000
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0000
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00000
11111
00000011111
111111
0000
1111
00000
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0000
1111
00000
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00000011111
111111
0000
1111
00000
000000
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0000
1111
000000
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000000000000000000000000000
111111111111111111111111111
0000
1111
000000
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000000000000000000000000000
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0000
000000000000000000000000000 1111
111111111111111111111111111
000000000000000000000000000
111111111111111111111111111
h
000000000000000000000000000
111111111111111111111111111
000000000000000000000000000
111111111111111111111111111
00000000
11111111
000000000000000000000000000
111111111111111111111111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
0000000000000000
1111111111111111
0000000000000000
1111111111111111
0000000000000000
1111111111111111
0000000000000000
1111111111111111
0000000000000000
1111111111111111
0000000000000000
1111111111111111
0000000000000000
1111111111111111
0000000000000000
1111111111111111
0000000000000000
1111111111111111
0000000000000000
1111111111111111
0000000000000000
1111111111111111

Figure 31:37: Channelization for T or Y Intersections (Channelized-High Type)

0000
1111
0000
1111
0000
1111
0000
1111
00000000000000000000000000000000000
11111111111111111111111111111111111
0000
1111
11111111111111111111111111111111111
00000000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000
11111111111111111111111111111111111
00000000000000000000000000000000000
11111111111111111111111111111111111
00000000000000000000000000000000000
11111111111111111111111111111111111
00000000000000000000000000000000000
11111111111111111111111111111111111
00000000000000000000000000000000000
11111111111111111111111111111111111
00000000000000000000000000000000000
11111111111111111111111111111111111
00000000000000000000000000000000000
11111111111111111111111111111111111
0000000000000
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0000000000000
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0000000000000
1111111111111

00
11
11
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11

11111111
00000000
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111
00000000
11111111

Figure 31:38: Channelization for 4-Leg Intersections (Channelized-High Type)


Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.29

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

111111
000000
000000
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000000
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000000
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00
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00 1
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31. Channelization

00000000000000000
11111111111111111
00000000000000000
11111111111111111
00000000000000000
11111111111111111
00000000000000000
11111111111111111
000000000000000000
111111111111111111
111111111111111
000000000000000
000000000000000000
111111111111111111
000000000000000
111111111111111
000000000000000000
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000000000000000
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000000000000000000
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000000000000000
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000000000000000000
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11111111111111111
00000000000000000
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00000000000000000
11111111111111111

0
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Figure 31:39: Channelization for 4-Leg Intersections (Channelized-High Type)

00000000000
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111111
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Figure 31:40: Channelization for Multi - leg Intersections

1111111111
0000000000
0000000000
1111111111

0000000000
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00000000000000000
11111111111111111
00
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00
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00
11

Figure 31:41: Channelization for Multi - leg Intersections

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.30

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

Table 31:10: Dimensions of some common Design vehicles


Design Vehicle Type
Symbol
Overall Dimension
Height (m) Width (m) Length (m)
Passenger Car
P
1.3
2.1
5.8
Single Unit Truck
SU
4.1
2.6
9.1
Single Unit Bus
BUS
4.1
2.6
12.1
Intermediate Semi-Trailer WB-15
4.1
2.6
16.7
L
B

Single Rear
Wheel for
P Vehicle
F_A
wb_2
Double Rear Axle
Single Rear Axle

wb_1
WB
WB

R_1

Figure 31:42: Design vehicle Dimensions and Turning Properties

31.10

Turning Vehicle Templates

In the design of intersections the turning paths of vehicles assumes utmost importance. The
turning paths of design vehicles are given in transparent templates such as the one shown in
Fig. 31:17 and Fig. 31:18. These templates are placed over the intersection plan to trace the
path of the turning vehicle. Once this is done, proper islands and other traffic control devices
can be designed. As per AASHTO, the turning templates are drawn at an approximate scale of
1=50. The radius of the template is measured to the outside front wheel path at the beginning
of the curve. The design vehicle for the purpose can be taken out of a list of 16 different types
of vehicles suggested by AASHTO. The dimensions of some of the design vehicles are given in
Table. 31:10 below. The templates are applied to the layout of intersections and other facilities
in accommodating vehicle maneuvers, including driveways, car parking, truck loading and bus
terminals. Here we shall take the cases of a passenger car (P) and a single unit truck (BUS) as
the design vehicles. The various design elements and their dimensions are shown in Fig. 31:42
and Table. 31:11 respectively. The templates were developed to include a variety of angles,
with specific configurations for every 30 degrees of turn (30, 60, 90, 120, 150 and 180). By
special manipulation of the template, any degree of turning can be produced within an overall
range of 20 to 200 degrees. The four variables-vehicle type, turning radius, angle of turn and
scale-provide full flexibility in the use of turning vehicle templates for layout and design. To
permit greater latitude in maneuvering of buses, single unit trucks and passenger cars, special
bar tenders are included, consisting of turning radii in the range of 13 to 50 meters for the
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.31

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

Table 31:11: Design vehicle Dimensions and Turning Properties for 90o turns
Vehicle
WB
Minimum Turn
Designation
L(m) (m) A(m) B(m) W(m) U(m) U** (m) FA RT
(m)
(m) (m)
BUS
12.1 7.5
2
2.5
2.6
2.6
4.98
1.25 13
Passenger Car (P) 5.8
3.4
0.9
15
2.1
1.8
2.61
0.6 7.5

Table 31:12: List of Templates


Vehicle Type Scales Turning Radius-m Average Size-cm
1:250
R= 13 & 18
20 25
BUS
1:500
R= 13 & 18
18 18
1:250
R=13 to 50
20 25
Bar Template
1:250
R=7.5
18 18
Passenger car 1:250
R=7.5 to 30
18 18
Bar template

first two and 5.5 to 30 meters for the last type of vehicles which are outside the scope of this
discussion. The list of templates for bus and passenger cars is shown in the Table. 31:12. The
templates for the Passenger Car (P) and Bus are as shown in Fig. 31:43, 31:44 below.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.32

February 19, 2014

1.8

Passenger Car("P")

31. Channelization
30 o

Transportation Systems Engineering


o

60

90o

120 o

150

180o

Figure 31:43: Design Template for Passenger Car (P)


Numerical example 1
Provide Channelization for an intersection having EW as the major road. The major and minor
roads intersect at right angles. The design vehicle is WB-50 (R=25m) and design speed is 45
kmph. The intersection is unsignalized. EW road has 2 lanes in each direction and NS has
1 lane for each direction. Take lane width =3.6 m. Provide bullet nose median ends. Also
provide channelizing island for free right for WS bound traffic.
Solution : The approach taper for auxiliary lane is equal to 3.6 45 45/100 = 73 m. The
deceleration Taper is taken as 40 m. Considering a 1:10 taper, the Bay Taper is found out
to be 18 m. Let the storage length = 30 m (say). Now from Table. 31:9, it is found that for
bullet nose median end, Median Opening = 30 m. The dimensions of all the components of
the auxiliary lane are shown in Fig. 31:45. The width required for the WB- 50 semi-trailer
unit is found to be about 6.5 m. Additional 0.5 m is provided on the outer side and 0.3 m is
provided on the inner side away from the edge of the island. For the turning roadway for the
W-S direction, the single offset method is used. At 0.3 + 0.5 + 6.5 = 7.3 m from the island
edge, a circle of radius 25 m is laid out. Then two tapers of slope 1:15 is laid out on either side
of the arc to join with the straight edge on either side. Thus the Channelization is provided for
the W-S approach. Similar method can be used for designing the Channelization schemes of
the other directions as well. The Channelization for the W-S approach is shown in Fig. 31:46.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.33

February 19, 2014

Bus

30 o

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

60

90o

120 o

150

180o

Figure 31:44: Design Template for Bus


30 m
73 m

73 m

18 m

30 m
40 m

Figure 31:45: Dimensions of components of the auxiliary lane for the intersection
73 m

1:15

R=25m
1:15

Figure 31:46: Channelization for the W-S direction with traffic island
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.34

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

WYE INTERSECTION

Figure 31:47: Wye Intersection


Numerical example 2
Following the principles of Channelization suggest suitable island schemes for the following
intersections (considering both high relative speed and low relative speed) (Figs. 31:47, 31:48)
Solution
1. Y Intersection (Figs. 31:49, 31:50 and 31:51)
2. Skewed intersection (Figs. 31:52, 31:53 and 31:54)

31.11

Summary

This chapter presents one of the simple and cost effective way of intersection control, namely
the Channelization. This is normally adopted for low and medium volume roads. The chapter
contains the design principles, traffic islands, and median.

31.12

References

1. Transportation research board channelization-the design of highway intersections at grade,


1962.
2. Mass highway, 2006- intersections, 2006.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.35

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

SKEWED CROSS ROAD

Figure 31:48: Skewed Cross Road

000000000
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Figure 31:49: (a) Y - Intersection

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.36

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

111111111
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Figure 31:50: (b) Y - Intersection

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1111
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0000
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0000
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0000
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0000
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0000
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0000
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0000
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0000
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0000
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Figure 31:51: (c) Y - Intersection

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.37

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

JO
MA

00000000000
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1111111111111

OW

FL

Figure 31:52: (a) Skewed Intersection

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00000
11111

Figure 31:53: (b) Skewed Intersection

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.38

February 19, 2014

31. Channelization
FL
O
W

Transportation Systems Engineering

JO

11111111
00000000
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Figure 31:54: (c) Skewed Intersection


3. 2011.
4. Channelization, 2011.
5. Highway design manual, 2000- pedestrian facility design, 2011.
6. Road design manual, 2011.
7. Roosevelt street - neighborhood traffic management plan, 2011.
8. Streetsblog, 2011.
9. Us department of transportation federal highway administration- guidance on the use of
traffic channelizing devices at highway-rail grade crossings, 2011.
10. Us department of transportation federal highway administration- innovative intersection
safety improvement strategies and management practices:a domestic scan, 2011.
11. Us department of transportation federal highway administration-safety benefits of raised
medians and pedestrian refuge areas, 2011.
12. S K Khanna C E G Justo. Highway Engineering. Nem Chand and Bros, Roorkee, 2001.
13. T R Neuman. Intersection channelization design guide. Transportation Research Board.
TRB NCHRP R 279, Washington, D.C., 1985.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.39

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

31. Channelization

14. R J Paquette, N Ashford, and P H Wright. Transportation Engineering : Planning and


Design. John Wiley, New York, 1972.
15. R P Roess, S E Prassas, and W R McShane. Traffic Engineering. Pearson Education
International, 2005.
16. S Wolfgang, Homburger, and James H Kell. Fundamentals of Traffic Engineering 12th
Edition. San Francisco, 1997.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

31.40

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

32. Traffic Rotaries

Chapter 32
Traffic Rotaries
32.1

Overview

Rotary intersections or round abouts are special form of at-grade intersections laid out for the
movement of traffic in one direction around a central traffic island. Essentially all the major
conflicts at an intersection namely the collision between through and right-turn movements are
converted into milder conflicts namely merging and diverging. The vehicles entering the rotary
are gently forced to move in a clockwise direction in orderly fashion. They then weave out of
the rotary to the desired direction. The benefits, design principles, capacity of rotary etc. will
be discussed in this chapter.

32.2

General

32.2.1

Advantages and disadvantages

The key advantages of a rotary intersection are listed below:


1. Traffic flow is regulated to only one direction of movement, thus eliminating severe conflicts between crossing movements.
2. All the vehicles entering the rotary are gently forced to reduce the speed and continue to
move at slower speed. Thus, none of the vehicles need to be stopped,unlike in a signalized
intersection.
3. Because of lower speed of negotiation and elimination of severe conflicts, accidents and
their severity are much less in rotaries.
4. Rotaries are self governing and do not need practically any control by police or traffic
signals.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

32.1

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

32. Traffic Rotaries

5. They are ideally suited for moderate traffic, especially with irregular geometry, or intersections with more than three or four approaches.
Although rotaries offer some distinct advantages, there are few specific limitations for rotaries
which are listed below.
1. All the vehicles are forced to slow down and negotiate the intersection. Therefore, the
cumulative delay will be much higher than channelized intersection.
2. Even when there is relatively low traffic, the vehicles are forced to reduce their speed.
3. Rotaries require large area of relatively flat land making them costly at urban areas.
4. The vehicles do not usually stop at a rotary. They accelerate and exit the rotary at
relatively high speed. Therefore, they are not suitable when there is high pedestrian
movements.

32.2.2

Guidelines for the selection

Because of the above limitation, rotaries are not suitable for every location. There are few
guidelines that help in deciding the suitability of a rotary. They are listed below.
1. Rotaries are suitable when the traffic entering from all the four approaches are relatively
equal.
2. A total volume of about 3000 vehicles per hour can be considered as the upper limiting
case and a volume of 500 vehicles per hour is the lower limit.
3. A rotary is very beneficial when the proportion of the right-turn traffic is very high;
typically if it is more than 30 percent.
4. Rotaries are suitable when there are more than four approaches or if there is no separate
lanes available for right-turn traffic. Rotaries are ideally suited if the intersection geometry
is complex.

32.3

Traffic operations in a rotary

As noted earlier, the traffic operations at a rotary are three; diverging, merging and weaving.
All the other conflicts are converted into these three less severe conflicts.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

32.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

32. Traffic Rotaries


1111
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11111
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11111

Figure 32:1: Traffic operations in a rotary


1. Diverging: It is a traffic operation when the vehicles moving in one direction is separated
into different streams according to their destinations.
2. Merging: Merging is the opposite of diverging. Merging is referred to as the process of
joining the traffic coming from different approaches and going to a common destination
into a single stream.
3. Weaving: Weaving is the combined movement of both merging and diverging movements
in the same direction.
These movements are shown in figure 32:1. It can be observed that movements from each
direction split into three; left, straight, and right turn.

32.3.1

Design elements

The design elements include design speed, radius at entry, exit and the central island, weaving
length and width, entry and exit widths. In addition the capacity of the rotary can also
be determined by using some empirical formula. A typical rotary and the important design
elements are shown in figure 32:2

32.3.2

Design speed

All the vehicles are required to reduce their speed at a rotary. Therefore, the design speed
of a rotary will be much lower than the roads leading to it. Although it is possible to design
roundabout without much speed reduction, the geometry may lead to very large size incurring
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

32.3

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

32. Traffic Rotaries


splitter
island

le
ng

th

exit radius

ea
vi
n
w

entry
width

entry
radius

exit width
radius of
the inscribed
circle

speed = 30 40kmph
radius of
the central
Rentry = 20 25m
island
weaving Rexit = Rentry 1.5to2
width
circulation RCentralIsland = Rentry 1.3
width

GIVE WAY
line

approach
width

Figure 32:2: Design elements of a rotary


huge cost of construction. The normal practice is to keep the design speed as 30 and 40 kmph
for urban and rural areas respectively.

32.3.3

Entry, exit and island radius

The radius at the entry depends on various factors like design speed, super-elevation, and
coefficient of friction. The entry to the rotary is not straight, but a small curvature is introduced.
This will force the driver to reduce the speed. The entry radius of about 20 and 25 meters is
ideal for an urban and rural design respectively.
The exit radius should be higher than the entry radius and the radius of the rotary island so
that the vehicles will discharge from the rotary at a higher rate. A general practice is to keep
the exit radius as 1.5 to 2 times the entry radius. However, if pedestrian movement is higher
at the exit approach, then the exit radius could be set as same as that of the entry radius.
The radius of the central island is governed by the design speed, and the radius of the entry
curve. The radius of the central island, in practice, is given a slightly higher radius so that the
movement of the traffic already in the rotary will have priority. The radius of the central island
which is about 1.3 times that of the entry curve is adequate for all practical purposes.

32.3.4

Width of the rotary

The entry width and exit width of the rotary is governed by the traffic entering and leaving the
intersection and the width of the approaching road. The width of the carriageway at entry and
exit will be lower than the width of the carriageway at the approaches to enable reduction of
speed. IRC suggests that a two lane road of 7 m width should be kept as 7 m for urban roads
and 6.5 m for rural roads. Further, a three lane road of 10.5 m is to be reduced to 7 m and
7.5 m respectively for urban and rural roads.
The width of the weaving section should be higher than the width at entry and exit. Normally this will be one lane more than the average entry and exit width. Thus weaving width
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

32.4

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

32. Traffic Rotaries

b
a

Figure 32:3: Weaving operation in a rotary


is given as,
wweaving =

e1 + e2
2

+ 3.5m

(32.1)

where e1 is the width of the carriageway at the entry and e2 is the carriageway width at exit.
Weaving length determines how smoothly the traffic can merge and diverge. It is decided
based on many factors such as weaving width, proportion of weaving traffic to the non-weaving
traffic etc. This can be best achieved by making the ratio of weaving length to the weaving
width very high. A ratio of 4 is the minimum value suggested by IRC. Very large weaving
length is also dangerous, as it may encourage over-speeding.

32.4

Capacity

The capacity of rotary is determined by the capacity of each weaving section. Transportation
road research lab (TRL) proposed the following empirical formula to find the capacity of the
weaving section.
280w[1 + we ][1 3p ]
(32.2)
Qw =
1 + wl
2)
, w is the weaving width, l is the length
where e is the average entry and exit width, i.e, (e1 +e
2
of weaving, and p is the proportion of weaving traffic to the non-weaving traffic. Figure 32:3
shows four types of movements at a weaving section, a and d are the non-weaving traffic and b
and c are the weaving traffic. Therefore,

p=

b+c
a+b+c+d

(32.3)

This capacity formula is valid only if the following conditions are satisfied.
1. Weaving width at the rotary is in between 6 and 18 meters.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

32.5

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

32. Traffic Rotaries


N
1433

400
W 1405

375

505
510

408

600

650

1260

500
350

420

250
370

1140
S

Figure 32:4: Traffic approaching the rotary


2. The ratio of average width of the carriage way at entry and exit to the weaving width is
in the range of 0.4 to 1.
3. The ratio of weaving width to weaving length of the roundabout is in between 0.12 and
0.4.
4. The proportion of weaving traffic to non-weaving traffic in the rotary is in the range of
0.4 and 1.
5. The weaving length available at the intersection is in between 18 and 90 m.
Numerical example
The width of a carriage way approaching an intersection is given as 15 m. The entry and exit
width at the rotary is 10 m. The traffic approaching the intersection from the four sides is
shown in the figure 32:4 below. Find the capacity of the rotary using the given data.
Solution
The traffic from the four approaches negotiating through the roundabout is illustrated in
figure 32:5.
2
] + 3.5 = 13.5 m
Weaving width is calculated as, w = [ e1 +e
2

Weaving length, l is calculated as = 4w = 54 m

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

32.6

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

32. Traffic Rotaries


N
650
+
375

600
+
350

400
505
+
510

370

510

600

375

408
505
+
370
E

W
500 +375

420

510
+
650

350
+
370

500 +600

250

Figure 32:5: Traffic negotiating a rotary


The proportion of weaving traffic to the non-weaving traffic in all the four approaches is
found out first.
It is clear from equation,that the highest proportion of weaving traffic to non-weaving
traffic will give the minimum capacity. Let the proportion of weaving traffic to the nonweaving traffic in West-North direction be denoted as pW N , in North-East direction as
pN E , in the East-South direction as pES , and finally in the South-West direction as pSW .
The weaving traffic movements in the East-South direction is shown in figure 32:6. Then
using equation,
510+650+500+600
pES = 510+650+500+600+250+375
= 2260
=0.783
2885
1965
505+510+350+600
pW N = 505+510+350+600+400+370 = 2735 =0.718
1900
650+375+505+370
= 2818
=0.674
pN E = 650+375+505+370+510+408
350+370+500+375
1595
pSW = 350+370+500+375+420+600 = 2615 =0.6099
Thus the proportion of weaving traffic to non-weaving traffic is highest in the East-South
direction.
Therefore, the capacity of the rotary will be capacity of this weaving section. From
equation,
10
][1 0.783
]
280 13.5[1 + 13.5
3
= 2161.164veh/hr.
(32.4)
QES =
13.5
1 + 54

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

32.7

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering


d

32. Traffic Rotaries


375

510+650
c

b
500+600
a

250

Figure 32:6: Traffic weaving in East-South direction

32.5

Summary

Traffic rotaries reduce the complexity of crossing traffic by forcing them into weaving operations.
The shape and size of the rotary are determined by the traffic volume and share of turning
movements. Capacity assessment of a rotary is done by analyzing the section having the greatest
proportion of weaving traffic. The analysis is done by using the formula given by TRL.

32.6

References

1. L. R Kadiyali. Traffic Engineering and Transportation Planning. Khanna Publishers,


New Delhi, 1987.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

32.8

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

33. Grade Separated Intersection

Chapter 33
Grade Separated Intersection
33.1

Overview

An intersection is the area shared by the joining or crossing of two or more roads. Since the
main function of an intersection is to enable the road user to make a route choice, it is a point
of decision. Hence the problems that are encountered by the motorist while passing through an
intersection must be recognized and the design should be in such a way that the driving task
is as simple as possible.
Intersection is also a point of large number of major conflicts, besides a point of decision.
These conflicts may be due to the crossing maneuvers of vehicles moving in different directions.
Good intersection design results from a minimization of the magnitude and characteristics of
the conflicts and a simplification of driver route selection process.

33.2

Classification of Intersection

Intersections are classified depending upon the treatment of crossing conflicts as follows (i) At
Grade Intersection and (ii) Grade Separated Intersection.

33.2.1

Grade Separated Intersection

It is a bridge that eliminates crossing conflicts at intersections by vertical separation of roadways


in space. Grade separated intersection are otherwise known as Interchanges. Grade separated
intersections cause less hazard and delay than grade intersections. Route transfer at grade
separations is accommodated by interchange facilities consisting of ramps. Interchange ramps
are classified as Direct, Semi-Direct and Indirect. Interchanges are described by the patterns
of the various turning roadways or ramps. The interchange configurations are designed in such
a way to accommodate economically the traffic requirements of flow, operation on the crossing

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Transportation Systems Engineering

33. Grade Separated Intersection

facilities, physical requirements of the topography, adjoining land use, type of controls, rightof-way and direction of movements.
The ultimate objective of grade separated intersections is to eliminate all grade crossing
conflicts and to accommodate other intersecting maneuvers by merging, diverging and weaving
at low relative speed. The relative speed of the conflicting vehicle streams is an important
factor affecting the significance of a conflict. The benefit of providing for low relative speed is
twofold. First, events unfold more slowly allowing more judgement time and second, in case of
an impact the total relative energy to be absorbed are less and hence, the damage is less. In
addition, when relative speed is low, the average motorist will accept a smaller time gap space
between successive vehicles to complete his move. This condition increases roadway capacity.

33.2.2

Classification of Grade Separated Intersection

One of the distinctions made in type of interchange is between the directional and the non
directional interchange. Directional interchanges are those having ramps that tend to follow
the natural direction of movement. Non directional interchanges require a change in the natural
path of traffic flow. A comprehensive classification plan for grade separated intersection design
which includes all possible geometric patterns has not yet been developed. The design and
operational characteristics of each of the major interchange types are mentioned as follows and
are discussed in the following sections.
1. Underpass
2. Overpass
3. Trumpet Interchange
4. Diamond Interchange
5. Cloverleaf Interchange
6. Partial Cloverleaf Interchange
7. Directional Interchange
8. Bridged Rotary

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33.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

33. Grade Separated Intersection

Underpass
An underpass or a tunnel is an underground passageway, completely enclosed except for openings for ingress and egress, commonly at each end. A tunnel may be for foot or vehicular road
traffic, for rail traffic. If an underpass is constructed for pedestrians and/or cyclists beneath
a road or railway, allowing them to reach the other side in safety, then such a construction
is termed as a Subway. These are constructed when it is necessary for pedestrians to cross a
railroad or a limited-access highway. Subways may also be constructed for the benefit of wildlife
Overpass
An overpass also known as a flyover, is a bridge, road, railway or similar structure that crosses
over another road or railway. A pedestrian overpass allows pedestrians safe crossing over busy
roads without impacting traffic. And Railway overpasses are used to replace at-grade crossing
as a safer alternative. Overpasses allows for unobstructed rail traffic flow from mixing with
vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Stack interchanges are made up of many overpasses.

Trumpet Interchange
Trumpet interchanges have been used where one highway terminates at another highway. These
involve at least one loop ramp connecting traffic either entering or leaving the terminating
expressway with the far lanes of the continuous highway. These interchanges are useful for
highways as well as toll roads, as they concentrate all entering and exiting traffic into a single
stretch of roadway, where toll booths can be installed. Trumpets are suitable at the locations
where the side road exists on only one side of the freeway, and traffic is relatively low. Each
entrance and exit consists of acceleration or deceleration lanes at each end. It requires only one
bridge and is the most traditional way of grade separating a three way junction. The principal
advantages are low construction cost and are useful for highways as well as toll roads. But
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

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February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

33. Grade Separated Intersection

the limitations in employing trumpet interchanges are it leaves a redundant patch of the land
within the loop, Disorienting to navigate for those driving in the direction that uses the loop.
Moreover scaling down the interchange often results in a more dangerous suffers congestion
from articulated lorries that have tipped over.

Diamond Interchange
The diamond Interchange is the simplest form of grade separated intersection between two roadways. The conflicts between through and crossing traffic are eliminated by a bridge structure.
This particular intersection has four one way ramps which are essentially parallel to the major
artery. The left turn crossing movement conflicts are considerably reduced by eliminating the
conflict with the traffic in opposite direction. All the remaining left turn conflicts, merging
and diverging maneuver conflicts take place at the terminal point of each ramp. Limitation in
application of this design depends on the operations of these terminals. So, it is suitable for
locations where the volume of left turn traffic is relatively low.
The diamond interchange requires a minimum amount of land and is economical to construct. Also,a diamond interchange generally requires less out-of-the-way travel and vehicle
operating costs are less than those on most other types of interchanges. The single point of exit
from the major roadway eases the problem of signing. This type of interchange requires the
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

33.4

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

33. Grade Separated Intersection

least of right-of-way. With these advantages, the diamonds appear to be the ideal solution to
an intersection problem. But there might be chances of occurrence of conflicts at the locations
where ramps meet the grade separated cross street are to be considered foe high ramp volumes.
Improper design of signal timings at cross streets may result in the inadequacy of capacity for
certain flows.

Cloverleaf Interchange
The full clover interchange eliminates all crossing movement conflicts by the use of weaving
sections. This weaving section is a critical element of cloverleaf design. It replaces a crossing
conflict with a merging, followed some distance farther by a diverging conflict. There are two
points of entry and exit on each through roadway. The first exit is provided before the cross
road structure allows right turn movements. The second exit, immediately after the cross road
structure, allows for left turn movements. A weaving section is created between the exit and
entry points near the structure. Sufficient length and capacity is to be provided to allow for a
smooth merging and diverging operation.
Cloverleaf design requires only one bridge. In this respect, it is the cheapest form providing
for elimination of all crossing maneuvers at grade. Although full cloverleaf interchanges eliminate the undesirable crossing movements of diamond interchanges, they have the disadvantages
of greater travel distances, higher operating costs, difficult merging sections, circuity of travel,
large areas for loops, sight distances to exits at the other side of the bridge, confusion caused by
turning right to go left and large rights-of-way occasioned by the radius requirements necessary
for satisfactory speeds on the ramps.
A variation of the cloverleaf configuration is the cloverleaf with collector-distributor roads.
With the collector-distributor roadway, main roadway operations are much the same as in
diamond interchange. For each direction of travel, there is a single point for exits and a single
point for entrances. Speed change, detailed exit directional signing and the storage and weaving
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

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February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

33. Grade Separated Intersection

problems associated with a cloverleaf are transferred to the collector-distributor road, which
can be designed to accommodate greater relative speed differences or encourage smaller ones.
Although this configuration improves the operational characteristics of a cloverleaf interchange,
the disadvantages of greater travel distances and the requirement of extra right-of-way are still
present. The use of a cloverleaf with collector-distributor roads is appropriate at junctions
between a freeway and an expressway where a diamond interchange would not adequately
serve traffic demand.

Collector Distributor Roads

Major Highway

Cross Street

Partial Cloverleaf Interchange


This is another variation of the cloverleaf configuration. Partial clover leaf or parclo is a
modification that combines some elements of a diamond interchange with one or more loops of a
cloverleaf to eliminate only the more critical turning conflicts. This is the most popular freeway
-to- arterial interchange. Parclo is usually employed when crossing roads on the secondary road
will not produce objectionable amounts of hazard and delay. It provides more acceleration and
deceleration space on the freeway.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

33.6

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

33. Grade Separated Intersection

Directional Interchange
A Directional interchange provides direct paths for left turns. These interchanges contain ramps
for one or more direct or semi direct left turning movements. Interchanges of two freeways or
interchanges with one or more very heavy turning movements usually warrant direct ramps,
which have higher speeds of operation and higher capacities, compared to loop ramps. Some
designers do not favor entrance of merging traffic in the left lane, which is a characteristic of
most direct-connection bridges. The principal limitations of this type of interchange is higher
cost of construction and requirement relatively large amount of land when compared to the
diamond interchanges and in some cases than cloverleaf interchange. Various combinations of
directional, semi directional and loop ramps may be appropriate for certain conditions. They
are the basic patterns that use the least space, have the fewest or least complex structures,
minimize internal weaving and appropriate for the common terrain and traffic conditions.

33.2.3

Design Components

Acceleration Lane
An acceleration lane is defined as extra pavement, of constant or variable width, placed parallel
or nearly so, to a merging maneuver area to encourage merging at low relative speed. The
major difference in opinion concerning acceleration design stems from lack of information on
driver performance. Field observations have indicated that drivers desire to follow the direct
path even though extra width or tapered section is provided. The length of acceleration lanes
are determined by two factors: (1) Time required for drivers to accelerate to the speed of the
preferential flow from the speed of entry into the acceleration lane and (2) Maneuvering time
required as a supplement to the sight distance which is provided in advance of the acceleration lane. Taper distances are based upon a lateral transition time of about 1/3 sec/ft of
displacement.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

33.7

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

33. Grade Separated Intersection

PREFERENTIAL FLOW

TAPER

FULL WIDTH LANE

MINOR FLOW
ENTRANCE CURVE

L
END OF SPEED
RESTRICTING CURVE

FORM A DESIGN

PREFERENTIAL FLOW

MINOR FLOW

ENTRANCE CURVE

POINT WHERE MERGING


VEHICLES ENCROACHES
UPON THROUGH TRAFFIC LANE

L
BEGINNING OF TAPER,
END OF SPEED
RESTRICTING CURVE

INLET NOSE

FORM B DESIGN

Figure 33:1: Different forms of Acceleration lanes

ENTRANCE
ACCELERATION LANE
Wearing length
Shoulder
Convergence

450.00

300.00

157.11

Figure 33:2: details of length of acceleration lane


Deceleration Lanes
Deceleration lanes are defined as extra pavement of constant or variable width, placed parallel
or nearly so, to a diverging maneuver area to encourage diverging at low relative speed. The
lengths of deceleration lanes are based on the difference in the speed of traffic of the combined
flow (in advance of the collision area) and the speed at which drivers negotiate the critical
diverging channel curve, as well as the deceleration practices of drivers. These deceleration
lane lengths are based on the assumed performance of passenger vehicles only. Extra allowance
must be made for grades and for trucks with different deceleration characteristics. In the figure

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

33.8

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

33. Grade Separated Intersection

below, Form A design is more economical when large speed differentials are to be overcome.
Form B could be advantageous by contrasting pavement colors and Form C design is more
convenient for drivers when small speed differentials are to be eliminated.

BEGINNING
OF TAPER

TAPER

FULL WIDTH LANE

FORM A

L = FULL WIDTH LANE

BEGINNING OF SPEED
RESTRICTING EXIT
CURVE

BEGINNING OF SPEED
RESTRICTING EXIT
CURVE

FORM B

BEGINNING
OF TAPER
BEGINNING OF SPEED
RESTRICTING EXIT
CURVE

SE

L
POINT WHERE VEHICLE IN DIVERGING
FLOW HAS "CLEARED" THE THROUGH
FORM C
TRAFFIC LANE

EXIT NO

Figure 33:3: Different forms of Deceleration lanes

weaving length
Shoulder

Shoulder

270

141.38

Figure 33:4: details of length of deceleration lane

33.3

Grade separated intersections

As we discussed earlier, grade-separated intersections are provided to separate the traffic in


the vertical grade. But the traffic need not be those pertaining to road only. When a railway
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

33.9

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

33. Grade Separated Intersection

Figure 33:5: Trumpet interchange


line crosses a road, then also grade separators are used. Different types of grade-separators are
flyovers and interchange. Flyovers itself are subdivided into overpass and underpass. When
two roads cross at a point, if the road having major traffic is elevated to a higher grade for
further movement of traffic, then such structures are called overpass. Otherwise, if the major
road is depressed to a lower level to cross another by means of an under bridge or tunnel, it is
called under-pass.
Interchange is a system where traffic between two or more roadways flows at different levels
in the grade separated junctions. Common types of interchange include trumpet interchange,
diamond interchange , and cloverleaf interchange.
1. Trumpet interchange: Trumpet interchange is a popular form of three leg interchange.
If one of the legs of the interchange meets a highway at some angle but does not cross
it, then the interchange is called trumpet interchange. A typical layout of trumpet interchange is shown in figure 33:5.
2. Diamond interchange: Diamond interchange is a popular form of four-leg interchange
found in the urban locations where major and minor roads crosses. The important feature
of this interchange is that it can be designed even if the major road is relatively narrow.
A typical layout of diamond interchange is shown in figure 33:6.
3. Clover leaf interchange: It is also a four leg interchange and is used when two highways
of high volume and speed intersect each other with considerable turning movements. The
main advantage of cloverleaf intersection is that it provides complete separation of traffic.
In addition, high speed at intersections can be achieved. However, the disadvantage is
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

33.10

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

33. Grade Separated Intersection

Figure 33:6: Diamond interchange


that large area of land is required. Therefore, cloverleaf interchanges are provided mainly
in rural areas. A typical layout of this type of interchange is shown in figure 33:7.

33.4

Summary

Traffic intersections are problem spots on any highway, which contribute to a large share of
accidents. For safe operation, these locations should be kept under some level of control depending upon the traffic quantity and behavior. Based on this, intersections and interchanges
are constructed, the different types of which were discussed in the chapter.

33.5

References

1. A policy on geometric design of rural highways, 2019.


2. Everett C Carter and Wolfgang S Homburger. Introduction to Transportation Engineering. Reston Publishers, Virginia, 2019.
3. L. R Kadiyali. Traffic Engineering and Transportation Planning. Khanna Publishers,
New Delhi, 1987.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

33.11

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

33. Grade Separated Intersection

11
1 00
0
00
1 11
0
00
11
00
11
0
1
1
0
1
0
11
00
00
11
11
00
00
11
00
11

0
1
0
01
1
0
01
1
0
1
0
1
0
1
0
1
1
0
1
1 0
0
10
1 0
0
1

11
00
11
00

1
0
0
1

0
1
0
1
11
00
00
11
11
00
11
00
0
1
0
1
01
1
00
1
0
1

1
0
01
1
00
1
0
1
0
1
11
00
11
00
00
11
11
00
00
11
00 1
11
1
0 0
1
0 0
1

Figure 33:7: Cloverleaf interchange


4. Theodore M Matson, Wilbure S smith, and Fredric W Hurd. Traffic engineering, 1955.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

33.12

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

34. Design Priciples of Traffic Signal

Chapter 34
Design Priciples of Traffic Signal
34.1

Overview

Traffic signals are one of the most effective and flexible active control of traffic and is widely
used in several cities world wide. The conflicts arising from movements of traffic in different
directions is addressed by time sharing principle. The advantages of traffic signal includes an
orderly movement of traffic, an increased capacity of the intersection and requires only simple
geometric design. However, the disadvantages of the signalized intersection are large stopped
delays, and complexity in the design and implementation. Although the overall delay may be
lesser than a rotary for a high volume, a user may experience relatively high stopped delay.
This chapter discuss various design principles of traffic signal such as phase design, cycle length
design, and green splitting. The concept of saturation flow, capacity, and lost times are also
presented. First, some definitions and notations are given followed by various steps in design
starting from phase design.

34.2

Definitions and notations

A number of definitions and notations need to be understood in signal design. They are
discussed below:
Cycle: A signal cycle is one complete rotation through all of the indications provided.
Cycle length: Cycle length is the time in seconds that it takes a signal to complete one
full cycle of indications. It indicates the time interval between the starting of of green for
one approach till the next time the green starts. It is denoted by C.
Interval: Thus it indicates the change from one stage to another. There are two types of
intervals - change interval and clearance interval. Change interval is also called the yellow
time indicates the interval between the green and red signal indications for an approach.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

34.1

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

34. Design Priciples of Traffic Signal

Clearance interval is also called all red and is provided after each yellow interval indicating
a period during which all signal faces show red and is used for clearing off the vehicles in
the intersection.
Green interval: It is the green indication for a particular movement or set of movements
and is denoted by Gi . This is the actual duration the green light of a traffic signal is turned
on.
Red interval: It is the red indication for a particular movement or set of movements and
is denoted by Ri . This is the actual duration the red light of a traffic signal is turned on.
Phase: A phase is the green interval plus the change and clearance intervals that follow
it. Thus, during green interval, non conflicting movements are assigned into each phase.
It allows a set of movements to flow and safely halt the flow before the phase of another
set of movements start.
Lost time: It indicates the time during which the intersection is not effectively utilized
for any movement. For example, when the signal for an approach turns from red to
green, the driver of the vehicle which is in the front of the queue, will take some time
to perceive the signal (usually called as reaction time) and some time will be lost before
vehicle actually moves and gains speed.

34.3

Phase design

The signal design procedure involves six major steps. They include: (1) phase design, (2) determination of amber time and clearance time, (3) determination of cycle length, (4) apportioning
of green time, (5) pedestrian crossing requirements, and (6) performance evaluation of the design obtained in the previous steps. The objective of phase design is to separate the conflicting
movements in an intersection into various phases, so that movements in a phase should have
no conflicts. If all the movements are to be separated with no conflicts, then a large number
of phases are required. In such a situation, the objective is to design phases with minimum
conflicts or with less severe conflicts.
There is no precise methodology for the design of phases. This is often guided by the
geometry of the intersection, the flow pattern especially the turning movements, and the relative
magnitudes of flow. Therefore, a trial and error procedure is often adopted. However, phase
design is very important because it affects the further design steps. Further, it is easier to
change the cycle time and green time when flow pattern changes, where as a drastic change in
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

34.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

34. Design Priciples of Traffic Signal


1

5
8

7
6

Figure 34:1: Four legged intersection


8

2
6

3
4

Phase 1 ( P1)

Phase 1 ( P2)

Figure 34:2: Movements in two phase signal system


the flow pattern may cause considerable confusion to the drivers. To illustrate various phase
plan options, consider a four legged intersection with through traffic and right turns. Left turn
is ignored. See Figure 34:1. The first issue is to decide how many phases are required. It is
possible to have two, three, four or even more number of phases.

34.3.1

Two phase signals

Two phase system is usually adopted if through traffic is significant compared to the turning
movements. For example in Figure 34:2, non-conflicting through traffic 3 and 4 are grouped
in a single phase and non-conflicting through traffic 1 and 2 are grouped in the second phase.
However, in the first phase flow 7 and 8 offer some conflicts and are called permitted right turns.
Needless to say that such phasing is possible only if the turning movements are relatively low.
On the other hand, if the turning movements are significant, then a four phase system is usually
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

34.3

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

34. Design Priciples of Traffic Signal


8

P2

P1
7

5
P3

P4
1

Figure 34:3: Movements in four phase signal system: option 1


adopted.

34.3.2

Four phase signals

There are at least three possible phasing options. For example, figure 34:3 shows the most simple
and trivial phase plan. where, flow from each approach is put into a single phase avoiding all
conflicts. This type of phase plan is ideally suited in urban areas where the turning movements
are comparable with through movements and when through traffic and turning traffic need
to share same lane. This phase plan could be very inefficient when turning movements are
relatively low.
Figure 34:4 shows a second possible phase plan option where opposing through traffic are
put into same phase. The non-conflicting right turn flows 7 and 8 are grouped into a third
phase. Similarly flows 5 and 6 are grouped into fourth phase. This type of phasing is very
efficient when the intersection geometry permits to have at least one lane for each movement,
and the through traffic volume is significantly high. Figure 34:5 shows yet another phase plan.
However, this is rarely used in practice.
There are five phase signals, six phase signals etc. They are normally provided if the
intersection control is adaptive, that is, the signal phases and timing adapt to the real time
traffic conditions.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

34.4

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

34. Design Priciples of Traffic Signal

3
4

P2

P1

1
8

P4

P3
7

Figure 34:4: Movements in four phase signal system: option 2

P1

P2
2 8

P4

P3
7 1

Figure 34:5: Movements in four phase signal system: option 3

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

34.5

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

34. Design Priciples of Traffic Signal

Headway

Figure 34:6: Group of vehicles at a signalized intersection waiting for green signal

e1
h1

e2

e3

h
Vehicles in queue

Figure 34:7: Headways departing signal

34.4

Cycle time

Cycle time is the time taken by a signal to complete one full cycle of iterations. i.e. one
complete rotation through all signal indications. It is denoted by C. The way in which the
vehicles depart from an intersection when the green signal is initiated will be discussed now.
Figure 34:6 illustrates a group of N vehicles at a signalized intersection, waiting for the green
signal. As the signal is initiated, the time interval between two vehicles, referred as headway,
crossing the curb line is noted. The first headway is the time interval between the initiation of
the green signal and the instant vehicle crossing the curb line. The second headway is the time
interval between the first and the second vehicle crossing the curb line. Successive headways
are then plotted as in figure 34:7. The first headway will be relatively longer since it includes
the reaction time of the driver and the time necessary to accelerate. The second headway
will be comparatively lower because the second driver can overlap his/her reaction time with
that of the first drivers. After few vehicles, the headway will become constant. This constant
headway which characterizes all headways beginning with the fourth or fifth vehicle, is defined
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

34.6

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

34. Design Priciples of Traffic Signal

as the saturation headway, and is denoted as h. This is the headway that can be achieved by a
stable moving platoon of vehicles passing through a green indication. If every vehicles require
h seconds of green time, and if the signal were always green, then s vehicles per hour would
pass the intersection. Therefore,
3600
s=
(34.1)
h
where s is the saturation flow rate in vehicles per hour of green time per lane, h is the saturation
headway in seconds. As noted earlier, the headway will be more than h particularly for the
first few vehicles. The difference between the actual headway and h for the ith vehicle and is
denoted as ei shown in figure 34:7. These differences for the first few vehicles can be added to
get start up lost time, l1 which is given by,
l1 =

n
X

ei

(34.2)

i=1

The green time required to clear N vehicles can be found out as,
T = l1 + h.N

(34.3)

where T is the time required to clear N vehicles through signal, l1 is the start-up lost time, and
h is the saturation headway in seconds.

34.4.1

Effective green time

Effective green time is the actual time available for the vehicles to cross the intersection. It is
the sum of actual green time (Gi ) plus the yellow minus the applicable lost times. This lost
time is the sum of start-up lost time (l1 ) and clearance lost time (l2 ) denoted as tL . Thus
effective green time can be written as,
gi = Gi + Yi tL

34.4.2

(34.4)

Lane capacity

The ratio of effective green time to the cycle length ( gCi )is defined as green ratio. We know
that saturation flow rate is the number of vehicles that can be moved in one lane in one hour
assuming the signal to be green always. Then the capacity of a lane can be computed as,
ci = si

gi
C

(34.5)

where ci is the capacity of lane in vehicle per hour, si is the saturation flow rate in vehicle per
hour per lane, C is the cycle time in seconds.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

34.7

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

34. Design Priciples of Traffic Signal

Numerical example
Let the cycle time of an intersection is 60 seconds, the green time for a phase is 27 seconds,
and the corresponding yellow time is 4 seconds. If the saturation headway is 2.4 seconds per
vehicle, the start-up lost time is 2 seconds per phase, and the clearance lost time is 1 second
per phase, find the capacity of the movement per lane?
Solution Total lost time, tL = 2+1 = 3 seconds. From equation 34.4 effective green time, gi
= 3600
= 1500 veh
= 27+4-3 = 28 seconds. From equation 34.1 saturation flow rate, si = 3600
h
2.4
=
per hr. Capacity of the given phase can be found out from equation 34.5 as Ci = 1500 28
60
700 veh per hr per lane.

34.4.3

Critical lane

During any green signal phase, several lanes on one or more approaches are permitted to move.
One of these will have the most intense traffic. Thus it requires more time than any other lane
moving at the same time. If sufficient time is allocated for this lane, then all other lanes will
also be well accommodated. There will be one and only one critical lane in each signal phase.
The volume of this critical lane is called critical lane volume.

34.5

Determination of cycle length

The cycle length or cycle time is the time taken for complete indication of signals in a cycle.
Fixing the cycle length is one of the crucial steps involved in signal design.
If tLi is the start-up lost time for a phase i, then the total start-up lost time per cycle,
P
L= N
i=1 tLi , where N is the number of phases. If start-up lost time is same for all phases,
then the total start-up lost time is L = NtL . If C is the cycle length in seconds, then the
. The total lost time per hour is the number of cycles per hour
number of cycles per hour = 3600
C
L. Substituting as L = NtL , total lost time per hour
times the lost time per cycle and is = 3600
C
3600 N tl
can be written as =
. The total effective green time Tg available for the movement in
C
a hour will be one hour minus the total lost time in an hour. Therefore,
3600 N tL
Tg = 3600
C 

N tL
= 3600 1
C

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

34.8

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

34. Design Priciples of Traffic Signal

Let the total number of critical lane volume that can be accommodated per hour is given by Vc ,
then Vc = Thg . Substituting for Tg from equation 34.9 and si from equation 34.1 in the expression
for the the maximum sum of critical lane volumes that can be accommodated within the hour
and by rewriting, the expression for C can be obtained as follows:
Tg
,
h 

3600
N tL
=
1
,
h
C


N tL
= si 1
,
C
N tL
.
C =
1 Vsc
Vc =

The above equation is based on the assumption that there will be uniform flow of traffic in an
hour. To account for the variation of volume in an hour, a factor called peak hour factor, (PHF)
which is the ratio of hourly volume to the maximum flow rate, is introduced. Another ratio
called v/c ratio indicating the quality of service is also included in the equation. Incorporating
these two factors in the equation for cycle length, the final expression will be,
C=

N tL
1

Vc
si P HF vc

(34.6)

Highway capacity manual (HCM) has given an equation for determining the cycle length which
is a slight modification of the above equation. Accordingly, cycle time C is given by,
C=

N L XC
P  Vci 
XC
si

(34.7)

 
V
where N is the number of phases, L is the lost time per phase, scii is the ratio of critical
volume to saturation flow for phase i, XC is the quality factor called critical vc ratio where v is
the volume and c is the capacity.
Numerical example
The traffic flow in an intersection is shown in the figure 34:8. Given start-up lost time is 3
seconds, saturation head way is 2.3 seconds, compute the cycle length for that intersection.
Assume a two-phase signal.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

34.9

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

34. Design Priciples of Traffic Signal

1150

1300
1800

900
Figure 34:8: Traffic flow in the intersection

900
1800
1300
1150
Figure 34:9: One way of providing phases
Solution
1. If we assign two phases as shown below figure 34:9, then the critical volume for the first
phase which is the maximum of the flows in that phase = 1150 vph. Similarly critical
volume for the second phase = 1800 vph. Therefore, total critical volume for the two
signal phases = 1150+1800 = 2950 vph.
2. Saturation flow rate for the intersection can be found out from the equation as si = 3600
2.3
= 1565.2 vph. This means, that the intersection can handle only 1565.2 vph. However,
the critical volume is 2950 vph . Hence the critical lane volume should be reduced and
one simple option is to split the major traffic into two lanes. So the resulting phase plan
is as shown in figure 34:10.
3. Here we are dividing the lanes in East-West direction into two, the critical volume in the
first phase is 1150 vph and in the second phase it is 900 vph. The total critical volume
for the signal phases is 2050 vph which is again greater than the saturation flow rate and
hence we have to again reduce the critical lane volumes.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

34.10

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

34. Design Priciples of Traffic Signal

1300/2
1300/2
1800/2
1800/2
1150
Figure 34:10: second way of providing phases

1800/3
1800/3
1800/3
1150/2 1150/2
Figure 34:11: Third way of providing phases
4. Assigning three lanes in East-West direction, as shown in figure 34:11, the critical volume
in the first phase is 575 vph and that of the second phase is 600 vph, so that the total
critical lane volume = 575+600 = 1175 vph which is lesser than 1565.2 vph.
5. Now the cycle time for the signal phases can be computed from equation 34.6 as:
C=

34.6

23
1175 = 24 seconds.
1 1565.2

Green splitting

Green splitting or apportioning of green time is the proportioning of effective green time in
each of the signal phase. The green splitting is given by,
"
#
Vc i
gi = PN
tg
(34.8)
i=1 Vci
where Vci is the critical lane volume and tg is the total effective green time available in a cycle.
This will be cycle time minus the total lost time for all the phases. Therefore,
tg = C N tL

(34.9)

where C is the cycle time in seconds, n is the number of phases, and tL is the lost time per
phase. If lost time is different for different phases, then effective green time can be computed
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

34.11

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

34. Design Priciples of Traffic Signal

500
1000
900
600
Figure 34:12: Phase diagram for an intersection
as follows:
tg = C

N
X

(34.10)

tLi

i=1

where tLi is the lost time for phase i, N is the number of phases and C is the cycle time in
seconds. Actual green time can be now found out as,
Gi = gi yi + tLi

(34.11)

where Gi is the actual green time, gi is the effective green time available, yi is the amber time,
and Li is the lost time for phase i.
Numerical example
The phase diagram with flow values of an intersection with two phases is shown in figure 34:12.
The lost time and yellow time for the first phase is 2.5 and 3 seconds respectively. For the
second phase the lost time and yellow time are 3.5 and 4 seconds respectively. If the cycle time
is 120 seconds, find the green time allocated for the two phases.
Solution
1. Critical lane volume for the first phase, VC1 = 1000 vph.
2. Critical lane volume for the second phase, VC2 = 600 vph.
3. Total critical lane volumes, VC = VC1 + VC2 = 1000+600 = 1600 vph.
4. Effective green time can be found out from equation 34.9 as Tg =120-(2.5-3.5)= 114 seconds.
5. Green time for the first phase, g1 can be found out from equation 34.8 as g1 =
= 71.25 seconds.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

34.12

1000
1600

114

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

34. Design Priciples of Traffic Signal

120

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0000000000000000000000000000000000000
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0000
1111
0000000000000000
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0000
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71

46

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0000
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42

74

Figure 34:13: Timing diagram


6. Green time for the second phase, g2 can be found out from equation 34.8 as g2 =
114= 42.75 seconds.

600
1600

7. Actual green time can be found out from equation 34.11. Thus actual green time for the
first phase, G1 = 71.25-3+2.5 = 71 seconds (rounded).
8. Actual green time for the second phase, G2 = 42.75-4+3.5 = 42 seconds (rounded).
9. The phase diagram is as shown in figure 34:13.

34.7

Summary

Traffic signal is an aid to control traffic at intersections where other control measures fail. The
signals operate by providing right of way to a certain set of movements in a cyclic order. The
design procedure discussed in this chapter include phase design, interval design, determination
of cycle time, computation of saturation flow, and green splitting.

34.8

References

1. William R McShane, Roger P Roesss, and Elena S Prassas. Traffic Engineering. PrenticeHall, Inc, Upper Saddle River, New Jesery, 1998.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

34.13

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

35. Signalized Intersection Delay Models

Chapter 35
Signalized Intersection Delay Models
35.1

Introduction

Signalized intersections are the important points or nodes within a system of highways and
streets. To describe some measure of effectiveness to evaluate a signalized intersection or to
describe the quality of operations is a difficult task. There are a number of measures that have
been used in capacity analysis and simulation, all of which quantify some aspect of experience of
a driver traversing a signalized intersection. The most common measures are average delay per
vehicle, average queue length, and number of stops. Delay is a measure that most directly relates
drivers experience and it is measure of excess time consumed in traversing the intersection.
Length of queue at any time is a useful measure, and is critical in determining when a given
intersection will begin to impede the discharge from an adjacent upstream intersection. Number
of stops made is an important input parameter, especially in air quality models. Among these
three, delay is the most frequently used measure of effectiveness for signalized intersections for
it is directly perceived by a driver. The estimation of delay is complex due to random arrival of
vehicles, lost time due to stopping of vehicles, over saturated flow conditions etc. This chapter
looks are some important models to estimate delays.

35.2

Types of delay

The most common measure of operational quality is delay, although queue length is often used
as a secondary measure. While it is possible to measure delay in the field, it is a difficult
process, and different observers may make judgments that could yield different results. For
many purposes, it is, therefore, convenient to have a predictive model for the estimate of delay.
Delay, however, can be quantified in many different ways. The most frequently used forms of
delay are defined as follows:
Stopped time delay
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

35.1

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

35. Signalized Intersection Delay Models


D1 = Stopped time delay
D2 = Approach delay
D3 = Travel time delay
Desired path

Actual path

Distance

D3
D2

D1

Time

Figure 35:1: Illustration of delay measures


Approach delay
Travel time delay
Time-in-queue delay
Control delay
These delay measures can be quite different, depending on conditions at the signalized intersection. Fig 35:1 shows the differences among stopped time, approach and travel time delay for
single vehicle traversing a signalized intersection. The desired path of the vehicle is shown, as
well as the actual progress of the vehicle, which includes a stop at a red signal. Note that the
desired path is the path when vehicles travel with their preferred speed and the actual path is
the path accounting for decreased speed, stops and acceleration and deceleration.

35.2.1

Stopped Time Delay

Stopped-time delay is defined as the time a vehicle is stopped in queue while waiting to pass
through the intersection. It begins when the vehicle is fully stopped and ends when the vehicle
begins to accelerate. Average stopped-time delay is the average for all vehicles during a specified
time period.

35.2.2

Approach Delay

Approach delay includes stopped-time delay but adds the time loss due to deceleration from
the approach speed to a stop and the time loss due to re-acceleration back to the desired speed.
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

35.2

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

35. Signalized Intersection Delay Models

It is found by extending the velocity slope of the approaching vehicle as if no signal existed.
Approach delay is the horizontal (time) difference between the hypothetical extension of the
approaching velocity slope and the departure slope after full acceleration is achieved. Average
approach delay is the average for all vehicles during a specified time period.

35.2.3

Travel Time Delay

It is the difference between the drivers expected travel time through the intersection (or any
roadway segment) and the actual time taken. To find the desired travel time to traverse an
intersection is very difficult. So this delay concept is is rarely used except in some planning
studies.

35.2.4

Time-in-queue Delay

Time-in-queue delay is the total time from a vehicle joining an intersection queue to its discharge
across the STOP line on departure. Average time-in-queue delay is the average for all vehicles
during a specified time period. Time-in-queue delay cannot be effectively shown using one
vehicle, as it involves joining and departing a queue of several vehicles.

35.2.5

Control Delay

Control delay is the delay caused by a control device, either a traffic signal or a STOP-sign. It is
approximately equal to time-in-queue delay plus the acceleration-deceleration delay component.
Delay measures can be stated for a single vehicle, as an average for all vehicles over a specified
time period, or as an aggregate total value for all vehicles over a specified time period. Aggregate
delay is measured in total vehicle-seconds, vehicle-minutes, or vehicle-hours for all vehicles in
the specified time interval. Average individual delay is generally stated in terms of seconds per
vehicle for a specified time interval.

35.3

Components of delay

In analytic models for predicting delay, there are three distinct components of delay, namely,
uniform delay, random delay, and overflow delay. Before, explaining these, first a delay representation diagram is useful for illustrating these components.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

35.3

February 19, 2014

Transportation Systems Engineering

35. Signalized Intersection Delay Models

Cumulative Vehicles

Qt

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Slope =v
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(vehsecs)
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00000000
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Wi

Vi

t G

Time

Figure 35:2: Illustration of delay, waiting time, and queue length

35.3.1

Delay diagram

All analytic models of delay begin with a plot of cumulative vehicles arriving and departing
vs. time at a given signal location. Fig. 35:2 shows a plot of total vehicle vs time. Two
curves are shown: a plot of arriving vehicles and a plot of departing vehicles. The time axis
is divided into periods of effective green and effective red. Vehicles are assumed to arrive at
a uniform rate of flow (v vehicles per unit time). This is shown by the constant slope of the
arrival curve. Uniform arrivals assume that the inter-vehicle arrival time between vehicles is a
constant. Assuming no preexisting queue, arriving vehicles depart instantaneously when the
signal is green (ie., the departure curve is same as the arrival curve). When the red phase
begins, vehicles begin to queue, as none are being discharged. Thus, the departure curve is
parallel to the x-axis during the red interval. When the next effective green begins, vehicles
queued during the red interval depart from the intersection, at a rate called saturation flow rate
(s vehicle per unit time). For stable operations, depicted here, the departure curve catches up
with the arrival curve before the next red interval begins (i.e., there is no residual queue left at
the end of the effective green). In this simple model:
1. The total time that any vehicle (vi ) spends waiting in the queue (Wi ) is given by the
horizontal time-scale difference between the time of arrival and the time of departure.
2. The total number of vehicles queued at any time (qt ) is the vertical vehicle-scale difference
between the number of vehicles that have arrived and the number of vehicles that have
departed
3. The aggregate delay for all vehicles passing through the signal is the area between the
Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

35.4

February 19, 2014

Cummulative vehicles

Transportation Systems Engineering

35. Signalized Intersection Delay Models

arrival function

departure function
Time

Figure 35:3: Illustration of uniform delay


arrival and departure curves (vehicles times the time duration)

35.3.2

Uniform Delay

Uniform delay is the delay based on an assumption of uniform arrivals and stable flow with
no individual cycle failures. Fig. 35:3, shows stable flow throughout the period depicted. No
signal cycle fails here, i.e., no vehicles are forced to wait for more than one green phase to
be discharged. During every green phase, the departure function catches up with the arrival
function. Total aggregate delay during this period is the total of all the triangular areas between
the arrival and departure curves. This type of delay is known as Uniform delay.

35.3.3

Random Delay

Random delay is the additional delay, above and beyond uniform delay, because flow is randomly
distributed rather than uniform at isolated intersections. In Fig 35:4some of the signal phases
fail. At the end of the second and third green intervals, some vehicles are not served (i.e., they
must wait for a second green interval to depart the intersection). By the time the entire period
ends, however, the departure function has caught up with the arrival function and there is no
residual queue left unserved. This case represents a situation in which the overall period of
analysis is stable (ie.,total demand does not exceed total capacity). Individual cycle failures
within the period, however, have occurred. For these periods, there is a second component of
delay in addition to uniform delay. It consists of the area between the arrival function and the
dashed line, which represents the capacity of the intersection to discharge vehicles, and has the
slope c. This type of delay is referred to as Random delay.

Dr. Tom V. Mathew, IIT Bombay

35.5

February 19, 2014

Cummulative vehicles

Transportation Systems Engineering

35. Signalized Intersection Delay Models

capacity function
arrival function

departure function
Time

Cummulative vehicles

Figure 35:4: Illustration of random delay

capacity function
slope = c
arrival function
slope = v
departure function
slope = s

Time

Figure 35:5: Illustration of overflow delay

35.3.4

Overflow Delay

Overflow delay is the additional delay that occurs when the capacity of an individual phase
or series