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Fundamental Principles

of Traffic Flow

6-1

Observers stationed at two sections XX and YY, 500 ft apart on a highway, record

the arrival times of five vehicles as shown in the accompanying table. If the total

time of observation at XX was 15 sec, determine (a) the time mean speed, (b) the

space mean speed, and (c) the flow at section XX.

Vehicle Section XX Section YY

A To To + 7.6 sec

B To + 3.4 sec To + 9.9 sec

C To + 7.9 sec To + 14.6 sec

D To + 12.0 sec To + 20.4 sec

E To + 14.9 sec To + 21.7 sec

u2 = L/t = 500 ft / (9.9 sec 3.4 sec) = 76.92 ft/sec

u3 = L/t = 500 ft / (14.6 sec 7.9 sec) = 74.63 ft/sec

u4 = L/t = 500 ft / (20.4 sec 12.0 sec) = 59.52 ft/sec

u5 = L/t = 500 ft / (21.7 sec 14.9 sec) = 73.53 ft/sec

1 n

a) Time mean speed (TMS), using Equation 6.2, ut = ui

n i =1

ut = (65.78 + 76.92 + 74.63 + 59.52 + 73.53) / 5

ut = 70.08 ft/sec

ut = 70.08/1.47 = 47.7 mi/h

nL

b) Space mean speed (SMS), using Equation 6.3, u s = n

t

i =1

i

us = 69.44 ft/sec

us = 47.2 mi/h

q = 5 (3600 sec/h) / 15 sec

q = 1200 veh/h

77

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Chapter 6: Fundamental Principles of Traffic Flow

6-2

Data obtained from aerial photography showed six vehicles on a 700 ft-long section

of road. Traffic data collected at the same time indicated an average time headway

of 3.7 sec. Determine (a) the density on the highway, (b) the flow on the road, and (c)

the space mean speed.

n

a) Density, k =

L

k = 6 veh / 700 ft

k = 0.0086 veh/ft

k = 0.0086 5280 = 45.4 veh/mi

1

b) Flow, q =

t

q = 1 / (3.7 sec/veh)

q = 0.27 veh/sec

q = 0.27 3600 = 972 veh/h

q

c) Space mean speed (SMS), u s =

k

us = (972 veh/h) / (45.4 veh/mi)

us = 21.4 mi/h

6-3

Two sets of students are collecting traffic data at two sections, xx and yy, of a

highway 1500 ft apart. Observations at xx show that five vehicles passed that section

at intervals of 3, 4, 3, and 5 sec, respectively. If the speeds of the vehicles were 50, 45,

40, 35, and 30 mi/hr respectively, draw a schematic showing the locations of the

vehicles 20 sec after the first vehicle passed section xx. Also determine (a) the time

mean speed, (b) the space mean speed, and (c) the density on the highway.

The distance traversed by each vehicle 20 seconds after crossing section x-x is

calculated as follows:

Vehicle A:

1.47 ft / sec

x A = 50mi / h 20 sec = 1470 ft

1mi / h

Similarly:

xB = (45)(1.47)(20 3) = 1125 ft

xC = (40)(1.47)(20 3 4) = 764 ft

xD = (35)(1.47)(20 3 4 3) = 515 ft

xE = (30)(1.47)(20 3 4 3 5) = 221 ft

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Chapter 6: Fundamental Principles of Traffic Flow

|---------:------------:---------:---------------:-------------:---|

x-x E D C B A y-y

221' 515' 764' 1125' 1470'

1 n

a) Time mean speed (TMS), using Equation 6.2, u t = ui

n i =1

ut = (50 + 45 + 40 + 35 + 30) / 5

ut = 40 mi/h

n

b) Space mean speed (SMS), using Equation 6.3, u s = n

1

u

i =1 i

us = 5 / (1/50 + 1/45 + 1/40 + 1/35 + 1/30)

us = 5 / 0.1291

us = 38.7 mi/h

q

c) Density, k =

us

k = (5 veh / 15 sec)(3600 sec / hr) / (38.7 mi/hr)

k = 31.0 veh/mi

6-4

Determine the space mean speed for the data given in Problem 6-3 using Equation

6.5. Compare your answer with that obtained in Problem 6-3 for the space mean

speed and discuss the results.

ut = 0.966us + 3.541

First, the individual vehicle speeds must be converted to units of km/h and then

averaged to determine time mean speed, which is 64.4 km/h. Using Eq. 6.5,

64 .4 = 0.966 u s + 3.541

u s = 63 .0 km/h

The value for space mean speed found in Problem 6-3 is 38.7 mi/h, which is equal

to 62.7 km/h. Equation 6.5 predicted a value of 63.0 km/h, 0.3 km/h higher than

the space mean speed calculated directly from the data. This difference is

insignificant for most purposes.

79

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Chapter 6: Fundamental Principles of Traffic Flow

6-5

The following dataset consists of 30 observations of vehicle speed and length taken

from a 6-ft by 6-ft inductive loop detector during a 60-second time period.

Determine the occupancy, density, and flow rate.

Speed Length

Vehicle (mi/h) (ft)

1 61 18

2 66 17

3 62 19

4 70 21

5 65 16

6 69 26

7 72 21

8 66 19

9 65 20

10 64 20

11 67 25

12 68 70

13 65 35

14 66 20

15 71 65

16 64 24

17 59 23

18 58 22

19 64 65

20 64 30

21 68 24

22 58 21

23 66 56

24 57 21

25 64 20

26 61 50

27 69 19

28 63 23

29 63 17

30 66 18

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Chapter 6: Fundamental Principles of Traffic Flow

1 1

= +

1 6 1

= +

60 60

1 6

= 8.86 + 0.32

60 60

= 0.1797 = 18%

1

= +

1

0.1797 = 8.86 + 6

60

1

0.1797 8.86

= 60 = 0.0053 /

6

k= 28.2 veh/mi

3600

=

30 3600

=

60

= 1800 /

6-6

Data from a 6-ft by 6-ft inductive loop detector collected during a 30-second time

period indicate that the mean speed of traffic is 50 mi/h among the 16 vehicles

counted. Assume an average vehicle length of 19 ft. Determine the density and

occupancy.

=

16

3600

= 30 = 38.4 /

50

81

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Chapter 6: Fundamental Principles of Traffic Flow

Occupancy can be calculated by Equation 6.19:

=( + )

38.4

= (19 + 6)

5280

= 0.182 = 18.2%

6-7

The data shown below were obtained by time-lapse photography on a highway. Use

regression analysis to fit these data to the Greenshields model and determine (a) the

mean free speed, (b) the jam density, (c) the capacity, and (d) the speed at maximum

flow.

Speed (mi/h) Density (veh/mi)

14.2 85

24.1 70

30.3 55

40.1 41

50.6 20

55.0 15

parameters in Greenshields model of traffic flow. Greenshields model

(Equation 6.20) is:

uf

us = u f k

kj

A linear regression model takes the form y = a + bx; therefore, in this case, the

given data us and k correspond to y and x respectively. The linear regression

analysis can be performed using equations 6.21, 6.22, and 6.23, or using a

computer software spreadsheet package. Linear regression analysis yields values

of a = 62.8124 and b = 0.56845. Therefore,

b) Jam density, kj

In the regression model, b = uf / kj

b = 0.56845

kj = 62.8 / 0.56845 = 110.49

kj = 110 veh/mi

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Chapter 6: Fundamental Principles of Traffic Flow

c) Capacity, qmax

Capacity occurs at maximum flow. State flow in terms of density.

uf

q = k u s = k (u f k)

kj

q = 62.8k (62.8/110.49)k2

q = 62.8k 0.5684k2

Take the derivative and set equal to zero to maximize flow; solve for

density.

0 = 62.8 1.1368k

k = 55.25 when q = qmax

Solve for q

qmax = 62.8(55.25) 0.5684(55.25)2

qmax = 1735 veh/h

Solve for mean speed using k when q = qmax

uf

us = u f k

kj

us = 62.8 0.5684(55.25)

us = 31.4 mi/h

6-8

Under what traffic conditions will you be able to use the Greenshields model but not

the Greenberg model? Give the reason for your answer.

In light flow conditions, in which the mean speed of traffic is near the

mean free flow speed, the Greenberg model is not appropriate. This is due to

mean free flow speed approaching infinity as density approaches zero in the

Greenberg model.

83

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Chapter 6: Fundamental Principles of Traffic Flow

6-9

In a freeway traffic stream, the capacity flow was observed to be 2200 veh/h/ln, and

the jam density at this location had been observed to be 125 veh/ln/mi. If the traffic

stream is modeled using Greenbergs model, determine the optimum speed and

optimum density. If the traffic stream is modeled using Greenshields model,

determine the free flow speed, optimum density, and optimum speed.

i. The mean free flow speed can be calculated by Equation 6.25:

=

4

4

=

2200 4

=

125

= 70.4 /

ii. For maximum flow, the optimum speed is given by Equation 6.23:

=

2

= 35.2 /

iii. For maximum flow, the optimum density is given by Equation 6.24:

=

2

= 62.5 / /

i. For maximum flow, the optimum density can be calculated by

Equation 6.27:

=1

ln = 1 +

ln 125 = 1 +

4.828 = 1 +

k = 45.97 / /

=

2200

= = 47.8 /

45.97

84

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Chapter 6: Fundamental Principles of Traffic Flow

6-10

The table below shows data on speeds and corresponding densities on a section of a

rural collector road. If it can be assumed that the traffic flow characteristics can be

described by the Greenberg model, develop an appropriate relationship between the

flow and density. Also determine the capacity of this section of the road.

58.8 21

48.8 31

41.4 38

39.1 41

36.7 44

35.1 48

30.8 53

29.3 55

26.5 63

24.3 68

given data to estimate parameters in Greenbergs model of traffic flow.

Greenbergs model (Equation 6.26) is:

us = c ln k j c ln k

A linear regression model takes the form y = a + bx; therefore, in this case, the

given data us and ln k correspond to y and x respectively, c ln kj is represented by

a, and c is represented by b. The linear regression analysis can be performed

using Equations 6.28, 6.29, and 6.30, or using a computer software spreadsheet

package. Linear regression analysis yields values of a = 151.2 and b = 30.17.

Therefore, the jam density, kj can be found as follows:

c ln kj = 151.2

c = 30.17

ln kj = 5.01

kj = 149.9 veh/mi

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Chapter 6: Fundamental Principles of Traffic Flow

us = c ln k j c ln k = 30.17 ln 151.2 30.17 ln k = 151.4 30.17 ln k

A relationship between flow and density can be developed by multiplying

both sides by k:

q = 151.4k 30.17 k ln k

uo = c and ko = kj/e

uo = 30.17 mi/h

ko = 149.9/2.718 = 55.15 veh/mi

qmax = kouo = (30.17)(55.15) = 1664 veh/h

6-11

Researchers have used analogies between the flow of fluids and the movement of

vehicular traffic to develop mathematical algorithms describing the relationship

among traffic flow elements. Discuss in one or two paragraphs the main deficiencies

in this approach.

The main deficiency in using fluid flow theory to describe traffic flow is

that, unlike fluids which are continuous, traffic streams are made up of discrete

elements which have the ability to act independently of one another. In using fluid

flow theory, the traffic stream is analyzed at a macroscopic level, without

consideration given to the microscopic interaction between vehicles and the

effects of one vehicle on others in the stream. Average values are used to describe

the traffic stream over a given section (e.g. mean speed); characteristics and

attributes of individual vehicles are not considered.

86

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Chapter 6: Fundamental Principles of Traffic Flow

6-12

Assuming that the expression:

k / k j

us = u f e

can be used to describe the speed-density relationship of a highway, determine the

capacity of the highway from the data below using regression analysis.

k (veh/mi) s (mi/h)

43 38.4

50 33.8

8 53.2

31 42.3

Under what flow conditions is the above model valid?

First, to use linear regression, the equation given in the problem must be

converted to the form y = a + bx; this can be done by taking the natural logarithm

of each side of the equation as follows:

a = ln(uf); b = 1/kj; x = k; and y = ln(us)

us ln(us)

38.4 3.648057

33.8 3.520461

53.2 3.974058

42.3 3.744787

The linear regression analysis can be performed using equations 6.28, 6.29, and

6.30, or using a computer software spreadsheet package. Linear regression

analysis yields values of a = 4.0626 and b = 0.0103.

uf = ea = e4.0626

uf = 58.1 mi/h

b) jam density, kj

kj = 1/b = 1/0.0103

kj = 97.0 veh/mi

c) capacity, qmax

Capacity occurs at maximum flow. State flow in terms of density.

k / k

q = k u s = k (u f e j )

q = (58.1)(k)(ek/97.0)

87

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Chapter 6: Fundamental Principles of Traffic Flow

Take the derivative and set equal to zero to maximize flow; solve for density.

Take the natural logarithm of each side of the equation as follows:

1/q = 0.0103 + 1/k

0 = 1/k 0.0103

k = 97.0 when q = qmax

Solve for q

k / k

q = k u s = k (u f e j )

q = 97.0(58.1e1)

qmax = 2073 veh/h

Because k, at qmax, is approaching kj, this model is valid for high density

conditions only.

6-13

Results of traffic flow studies on a highway indicate that the flow-density

relationship can be described by the expression:

uf

q = uf k k2

kj

If speed and density observations give the data shown below, develop an

appropriate expression for speed versus density for this highway, and determine the

density at which the maximum volume will occur as well as the value of the

maximum volume. Also plot speed versus density and volume versus speed for both

the expression developed and the data shown. Comment on the differences between

the two sets of curves.

Speed (mi/h) Density (veh/mi)

55 18

52 25

43 41

38 58

26 71

19 88

17 99

uf

q = uf k k2

kj

88

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Chapter 6: Fundamental Principles of Traffic Flow

is equivalent to

uf

q = k (u f k )

kj

and

uf

us = u f k which is Greenshields model.

kj

A linear regression model takes the form y = a + bx; therefore, in this case, the

given data us and k correspond to y and x respectively, while a = uf and b = uf/kj.

The linear regression analysis can be performed using Equations 6.28, 6.29, and

6.30, or using a computer software spreadsheet package. Linear regression

analysis yields values of a = 63.949 and b = 0.4941. Therefore,

uf = a = 63.9 mi/h

jam density, kj

uf / kj = b = 0.4941

kj = 63.9 / 0.4941 = 129.33

jam density, kj = 129.33 veh/mi

State flow in terms of density.

uf

q = k u s = k (u f k)

kj

q = 63.9k (63.9/129.33)k2

q = 63.9k 0.4941k2

Take the derivative and set equal to zero to maximize flow; solve for

density.

0 = 63.9 0.9882k

k = 64.66 veh/mi when q = qmax

Solve for q

q = 63.9(64.66) 0.4941(64.66)2

q = 2066 veh/hr

(c) Plot speed vs. density for data points and equation

89

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Chapter 6: Fundamental Principles of Traffic Flow

60

50

Speed (mi/h)

40

30

20

10

0

0 20 40 60 80 100

Density (veh/mi)

60

50

Speed (mi/h)

40

30

20

10

0

0 20 40 60 80 100

Density (veh/mi)

yield a straight-line relationship as shown above. The data follow an

approximately linear relationship, the extent of which could be quantified using

the R2 value that would be obtained through regression analysis or by calculating

the sum of squared errors (SSE) between the equation and the data points.

90

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Chapter 6: Fundamental Principles of Traffic Flow

6-14

Traffic on the eastbound approach of a signalized intersection is traveling at

35 mi/hr, with a density of 46 veh/mi/ln. The duration of the red signal indication for

this approach is 30 sec. If the saturation flow is 1900 veh/h/ln with a density of

52 veh/mi/ln, and the jam density is 125 veh/mi/ln, determine the following:

(i) The length of the queue at the end of the red phase

(ii) The maximum queue length

(iii) The time it takes for the queue to dissipate after the end of the red

indication.

Solution:

(i) The length of the queue at the end of the red phase. Determine speed of

backward forming shock wave 13 when signals turn to red. Use Equation 6.40.

q2 q1

uw =

k2 k1

q1 q3

u13 =

k1 k3

q1 = (35 mi/hr)(46 veh/mi/ln) = 1610 veh/h/ln

q3 = 0 veh/h/ln

k1 = 46 veh/mi/ln

1610 0

u13 = mi/h = 20.4 mi/hr

46 125

= 20.4 mi/h 1.47 ft/sec/mi/h = 30.0 ft/sec

Length of queue at end of red phase = 30 30.0 = 900 ft

Determine speed of backward recovery wave velocity. Use Equation 6.45:

q3 q4 0 1900

u34 = = = 26.0 mi/h = 38.2 ft/sec

k3 k4 125 52

(ii) The maximum queue length. Use Equation 6.47:

r1334 (30)(30.0)(38.2)

Maximum queue length = = = 4193 ft

34 13 38.2 30.0

(iii) The time it takes for the queue to dissipate after the end of the red

indication. Use Equation 6.48:

r13 (30)(30.0)

= = 110 seconds

13 34 38.2 30.0

91

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Chapter 6: Fundamental Principles of Traffic Flow

6-15

A developer wants to provide access to a new building from a driveway placed

1000 ft upstream of a busy intersection. He is concerned that queues developing

during the red phase of the signal at the intersection will block access. If the speed

on the approach averages 35 mi/hr, the density is 50 veh/mi, and the red phase is

20 sec, determine if the driveway will be affected. Assume that the traffic flow has a

jam density of 110 veh/mi and can be described by the Greenshields model.

The red phase of the traffic signal creates a stopping shock wave. The speed of a

stopping shock wave is given by Equation 6.47, as follows:

u w = u f 1

where 1 = k/kj

uw = 23.4 ft/s

In 20 seconds, the wave will have traveled backward (toward the driveway

in question)

(23.4)(20) = 468 ft/s, therefore not reaching the driveway.

6-16

Studies have shown that the traffic flow on a two-lane road adjacent to a school can

be described by the Greenshields model. A length of 0.5 mi adjacent to a school is

described as a school zone (see Figure 6.19) and operates for a period of 30 min just

before the start of school and just after the close of school. The posted speed limit

for the school zone during its operation is 15 mi/h. Data collected at the site when

the school zone is not in operation show that the jam density and mean free speed

for each lane are 125 veh/mi and 57 mi/h. If the demand flow on the highway at the

times of operation of the school zone is 90% of the capacity of the highway,

determine:

(i) The speeds of the shock waves created by the operation of the school zone

(ii) The number of vehicles affected by the school zone during this 30-minute

operation

(i)

kj = 125, uf = 57

The traffic flow on this road section can be described by the Greenshields model

So, the capacity of this road section is given by Equation 6.25:

125 57

= = = 1781.25 /

4 4

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Chapter 6: Fundamental Principles of Traffic Flow

=

57

1603.125 = 57

125

0.456 57 + 1603.125 = 0

kA = 42.73

=

57

15 = 57

125

kB = 92.1

= = 92.1 15 = 1381.5

1381.5 1603.125

= = = 4.5 /

92.10 42.73

(ii)

In the school zone, the mean speed of traffic flow is 15 mi/h (forward),

and the shockwave speed is 4.5 mi/h (backward). Therefore, the relative speed of

the traffic flow to the end of shockwave is 15 + 4.5 = 19.5 mph.

During the 30-minute school zone operation, the affected traffic flow travels

19.5 30/60 = 9.75 miles.

Therefore, the number of vehicles affected by the school zone operation is

9.75 92.1 = 898 vehicles

6-17

Briefly describe the different shock waves that can be formed and the traffic

conditions that will result in each of these shock waves.

Shock waves include frontal stationary, backward forming, backward

recovery, rear stationary and forward recovery shock waves. Frontal stationary

shock waves occur when capacity is reduced to zero and upstream demand

continues. Backward forming shock waves occur when capacity is reduced below

the demand flow rate but not to zero. Backward recovery shock waves form when

capacity is restored or increased to a value greater than the upstream demand. A

rear stationary shockwave occurs when a restricted downstream capacity is

increased to a value above the queued demand, thereby dissipating the queue from

through a forward recovery shock wave.

93

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Chapter 6: Fundamental Principles of Traffic Flow

6-18

Traffic flow on a three-lane (one direction) freeway can be described by the

Greenshields model. One lane of the three lanes on a section of this freeway will

have to be closed to undertake an emergency bridge repair that is expected to take

2 hours. It is estimated that the capacity at the work zone will be reduced by 30% of

that of the section just upstream stream of the work zone. The mean free flow speed

of the highway is 55 mph and the jam density is 135 veh/mi/ln. If it is estimated that

the demand flow on the highway during the emergency repairs is 90% of the

capacity, using the deterministic approach, determine:

(i) The maximum queue length that will be formed

(ii) The total delay

(iii) The number of vehicles that will be affected by the incident

(iv) The average individual delay

(i)

uf = 55 mph, and kj = 135 veh/mi/ln

Traffic flow can be described by the Greenshields model, therefore, the capacity

of this freeway is

55 135

=3 =3 = 5569 /

4 4

Due to the work zone, the capacity is reduced by 30%, so the reduced capacity

is

= 0.70 5569 = 3899 /

The duration of work zone is 2 hours. The maximum queue length is determined

by Equation 6.65.

(ii)

The total delay is determined by Equation 6.68.

= = = 6674

2( ) 2(5569 5012)

(iii)

The number of vehicles affected by the work zone

= v t = 5012 2 = 10024 vehicles

(iv)

The average individual delay = dT / n = 6674 / 10024 = 0.6658 hours 49 min.

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Chapter 6: Fundamental Principles of Traffic Flow

6-19

Repeat Problem 6-18 for the expected repair periods of 1 hr, 1.5 hr, 2.5 hr, 2.75 hr,

and 3 hr. Plot a graph of average individual delay vs the repair period and use this

graph to discuss the effect of the expected repair time on the average delay.

1.2

Average Delay (hrs)

1.0

0.8

0.6

0.4

0.2

0.0

0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5

Duration Time (hrs)

the relationship is linear.

6-20

Repeat Problem 6-18 for the expected demand flows of 70%, 75%, 80%, and 85%

of the capacity of the highway. Plot a graph of average individual delay vs the

expected demand flow and use this graph to discuss the effect of the expected

demand flow on the average delay.

0.8

0.7

Average Delay (hrs)

0.6

0.5

0.4

0.3

0.2

0.1

0.0

70% 75% 80% 85% 90% 95%

Expected Demand Flow (as Percentage of Capacity)

the relationship is non-linear.

95

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Chapter 6: Fundamental Principles of Traffic Flow

6-21

Traffic flow on a section of a two-lane highway can be described by the Greenshields

model, with a mean free speed of 55 mph and a jam density of 145 veh/mi/ln. At the

time when the flow was 90% of the capacity of the highway, a large dump truck

loaded with heavy industrial machinery from an adjacent construction site joins the

traffic stream and travels at a speed of 15 mi/hr for a length of 3.5 mi along

the upgrade before turning off onto a dump site. Due to the relatively high flow in

the opposite direction, it is impossible for any car to pass the truck. Determine how

many vehicles will be in the platoon behind the truck by the time the truck leaves

the highway.

allows use of Equation 6.53 which relates speed of the shockwave to the densities

associated with flow before and during the blockage.

To find k1, use the form of Greenshields model expressed in equation 6.22:

u

q = uf k f k2

kj

Given that q1 = 90% of capacity,

uf kj (55)(145)

q1 = 0.90q max = 0.90 = 0.90 = 1794 veh/h/ln

4 4

uf 2 55 2

q1 = u f k1 k1 = 1794 = 55k1 k1

kj 145

k1 = 49.6 veh/mi/ln

To find k2, apply the general form of Greenshields model, Equation 6.20:

uf

us = u f k

kj

uf 55

u2 = u f k 2 = 15 = 55 k2

kj 145

k2 = 105.5 veh/mi/ln

49.6 105.5

uw = u f [1 (1 + 2 )]= 551 + = 3.8 mi/h

145 145

The growth rate of the platoon is 15 mi/h forward and 3.8 mi/h backward, which

is a total of 18.8 mi/h. The truck is on the highway for 3.5 mi / 15 mph = 0.233 hr

The platoon length at the end of the duration is (18.8 mi/h)(0.233 hr) = 4.38 mi

The number of vehicles in the platoon is (4.38 mi)(105.5 veh/mi) = 462 vehicles.

96

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Chapter 6: Fundamental Principles of Traffic Flow

6-22

Briefly discuss the phenomenon of gap acceptance with respect to merging and

weaving maneuvers in traffic streams.

and weaving is the process of moving across lanes of a major facility. A vehicle

would merge onto a freeway and weave left to reach a left side exit. In the process

of merging and weaving, drivers must assess available gaps in the traffic stream

and determine if they are large enough to move into safely. A gap can be defined

in terms of time or space, and the minimum time or space acceptable to drivers

varies. Based on observations of accepted and rejected gap sizes on a roadway, a

critical gap can be estimated and from this, the expected number of acceptable

gaps can be determined. This value will allow one to calculate the storage space

required on a ramp, or the point at which a signal should be installed at an

unsignalized intersection.

6-23

The table below gives data on accepted and rejected gaps of vehicles on the minor

road of an unsignalized intersection. If the arrival of major road vehicles can be

described by the Poisson distribution, and the peak hour volume is 1100 veh/hr,

determine the expected number of accepted gaps that will be available for minor

road vehicles during the peak hour.

Number of Number of

Gap (t) (s) Rejected Gaps > t Accepted Gaps < t

1.5 92 3

2.5 52 18

3.5 30 35

4.5 10 62

5.5 2 100

First, determine critical gap, tc, using the algebraic method. Determine the change

in number of accepted and rejected gaps for the gap lengths given, shown in the

following table.

Lengths (s) Accepted Gaps Rejected Gaps

1.5 2.5 92 52 = 40 18 3 =15 40 15 = 25

2.5 3.5 52 30 = 22 35 18 = 17 22 17 = 5

3.5 4.5 30 10 = 20 62 35 = 27 27 20 = 7

4.5 5.5 10 2 = 8 100 62 = 38 38 8 = 30

97

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Chapter 6: Fundamental Principles of Traffic Flow

The critical gap occurs in the range exhibiting the smallest difference

between change in number of gap accepted and change in number of gaps

rejected; in this case, this is between 2.5 and 3.5 seconds.

tc = t1 + [t(r m)] / [(n p) + (r m)]

tc= 2.5 + 1(52 18) / [(35 30) + (52 18)]

tc= 3.37 s

Then, using Equation 6.61, determine the expected number of available gaps

during the peak hour.

V= 1100 veh.

T = 3600 sec.

= 1100/3600 = 0.306

Freq (ht) = (V 1)(et) = (1,100 1)(e(0.306(3.37))) = 392 gaps

6-24

Using appropriate diagrams, describe the resultant effect of a sudden reduction of

the capacity (bottleneck) on a highway both upstream and downstream of the

bottleneck.

In the first diagram, the reduction in capacity is shown (C1 reduced to C2) and the

corresponding density at capacity changes from ko1 to ko2. The second diagram

illustrates the effect of the bottleneck in terms of the shock wave that is formed.

When the flow is reduced due to the bottleneck, a queue is formed and continues

to grow as long as the demand flow is greater than the service flow. The rate at

which the queue grows is dependent on the speed of the shock wave, uw.

98

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Chapter 6: Fundamental Principles of Traffic Flow

6-25

The capacity of a highway is suddenly reduced to 50% of its normal capacity due to

closure of certain lanes in a work zone. If the Greenshields model describes the

relationship between speed and density on the highway, the jam density of the

highway is 112 veh/mi, and the mean free speed is 68 mi/hr, determine by what

percentage the space mean speed at the vicinity of the work zone will be reduced if

the flow upstream is 70% of the capacity of the highway.

qmax = kjuf/4

qmax = (112)(68)/4

qmax = 1904 veh/h

Therefore, capacity at the site is normally 1904 veh/h.

qupstream = (0.70)(1904) = 1333 veh/h

uf

q = uf k k2

kj

q = (68)k (68/112)k2

0.6071k2 68k + 1333 = 0

Using the quadratic formula, k = 25.3 veh/mi

uupstream = q/k = 1333/25.3

uupstream = 52.7 mi/h

99

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Chapter 6: Fundamental Principles of Traffic Flow

qworkzone = (0.50)(1904) = 952 veh/h

q = (68)k (68/112)k2

0.6071k2 68k + 952 = 0

Using the quadratic formula, k = 95.6 veh/mi

uupstream = q/k = 952/95.6

uupstream = 10 mi/h

(52.7 10)/52.7 = 81.02%

6-26

The arrival times of vehicles at the ticket gate of a sports stadium may be assumed

to be Poisson with a mean of 30 veh/hr. It takes an average of 1.5 min for the

necessary tickets to be bought for occupants of each car.

(a) What is the expected length of queue at the ticket gate, not including the

vehicle being served?

(b) What is the probability that there are no more than 5 cars at the gate,

including the vehicle being served?

(c) What will be the average waiting time of a vehicle?

Q = 40 veh/h (service rate)

Using Equation 6.71,

E(m) = q2/[Q(Q q)] = (30)2/[40(40 30)] = 2.25 vehicles

Using Equation 6.76,

P(n>N) = (q/Q)N+1 (Probability of more than N)

P(n>5) = (30/40)6 = 0.178

for P(n<=5) = 1 0.178 = 0.822

Using Equations 6.73 and 6.72,

E(v) = 1/(Q q) = 0.1 hr = 6 minutes wait time including queue time and

service time

E(w) = q/(Q(Q q)) = 0.075 hr = 4.5 minutes wait time in the queue

100

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Chapter 6: Fundamental Principles of Traffic Flow

6-27

An expressway off-ramp consisting of a single lane leads directly to a tollbooth. The

rate of arrival of vehicles at the expressway can be considered to be Poisson with a

mean of 45 veh/hr, and the rate of service to vehicles can be assumed to be

exponentially distributed with a mean of 1 min.

(a) What is the average number of vehicles waiting to be served at the booth (that

is, the number of vehicles in queue, not including the vehicle being served)?

(b) What is the length of the ramp required to provide storage for all exiting

vehicles 90% of the time? Assume the average length of a vehicle is 18 ft and that

there is an average space of 10 ft between consecutive vehicles waiting to be served.

(c) What is the average waiting time a driver waits before being served at the

tollbooth (that is, the average waiting time in the queue)?

Using Equation 6.71,

E(m) = q2/[Q(Q q)] = (45)2/[60(60 45)] = 2.25 vehicles

b) Ramp length

1.00 0.90 = (q/Q)^(N+1)

0.10 = (45/60)^(N+1)

0.10 = (0.75)^N+1

ln(0.10) = ln(0.75)(N+1)

8 = N+1

N = 7 vehicles

Ramp length = 7 veh (18 ft/veh) + 6 spaces (10 ft/space) = 186 feet

Using Equations 6.73 and 6.72,

E(v) = 1/(Q q) = 1/(60 45) = 0.067 hr = 4 minutes wait time including

queue time and service time

E(w) = q/(Q(Q q)) = 45/(60(60 45)) = 0.05 hr = 3 minutes wait time in the

queue

101

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