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Chapter 6

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

u1 = L/t = 500 ft / (7.6 sec 0 sec) = 65.78 ft/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 = (500 ft)(5) / (7.6 + 6.5 + 6.7 + 8.4 + 6.8) sec

us = 69.44 ft/sec
us = 47.2 mi/h

c) Flow at XX, using Equation 6.1, q = n (3600) / T

q = 5 (3600 sec/h) / 15 sec
q = 1200 veh/h

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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.

Equation 6.5 presents the following relationship:

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.

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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%

b) Density can be calculated by Equation 6.16:

1
= +
1
0.1797 = 8.86 + 6
60
1
0.1797 8.86
= 60 = 0.0053 /
6
k= 28.2 veh/mi

c) Flow is calculated by Equation 6.1:

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.

a) Density can be calculated by Equation 6.7:

=

16
3600
= 30 = 38.4 /
50

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Chapter 6: Fundamental Principles of Traffic Flow

b) Assuming the lengths of the vehicles are approximately the same,

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

A linear regression analysis can be applied to the given data to estimate

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,

a) Mean free flow speed, uf = a = 62.8 mi/h

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

d) Speed at maximum flow

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

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.

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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.

a) For the Greenshields model:

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 / /

b) For the Greenberg model:

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 / /

ii. For maximum flow, the speed will be:

=

2200
= = 47.8 /
45.97

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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

A linear regression analysis can be applied to a logarithmic transformation the

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:

In the regression model, a = c ln kj and b = c

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

The fitted model is therefore:

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

Using the properties of Greenbergs model, capacity can be found:

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.

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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:

uf and kj are constants; therefore, in the regression,

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

The only transformation needed for the input values is:

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.

a) mean free flow speed, uf

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)

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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:

Then take the derivative and set equal to zero.

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

Note that the given traffic flow relationship,

uf
q = uf k k2
kj

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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,

a) mean free flow speed, uf

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

b) density at maximum volume

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

(b) density at maximum volume, k = 65 veh/mi

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

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Chapter 6: Fundamental Principles of Traffic Flow

Speed vs. Density - Data

60

50

Speed (mi/h)
40

30

20

10

0
0 20 40 60 80 100
Density (veh/mi)

Speed vs. Density - Equation

60

50
Speed (mi/h)

40

30

20

10

0
0 20 40 60 80 100
Density (veh/mi)

The equation used to describe the speed-density relationship is linear, thereby

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.

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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

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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 = (35)(50/110) = -15.9 mi/h

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

The demand flow is 90% of the capacity, so qA = 0.90 qmax = 1603.125

=
57
1603.125 = 57
125
0.456 57 + 1603.125 = 0
kA = 42.73

Given the speed at the school zone uB = 15 mph

=
57
15 = 57
125
kB = 92.1

= = 92.1 15 = 1381.5

Therefore, the backward shock wave speed is

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.

The density of the school zone traffic is kB = 92.1 veh/mile

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.

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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

= 0.90 = 0.90 5569 = 5012 /

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.

=( ) = (5012 3899) 2 = 2226

(ii)
The total delay is determined by Equation 6.68.

( )( ) 2 (5012 3899)(5569 3899)

= = = 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.

Average Delay vs. Duration Time

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 increase in expected repair time causes an increase on average delay;

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.

Average Delay vs. Expected Demand Flow

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 increase in expected demand flow causes an increase on average delay,

the relationship is non-linear.

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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.

Knowing the traffic conditions can be described using Greenshields model

allows use of Equation 6.53 which relates speed of the shockwave to the densities
associated with flow before and during the blockage.

uw = u f [1 (1 + 2 )] in which 1 = k1/kj and 2 = k2/kj

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.

Merging is the process of entering a roadway from a minor road or ramp

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.

Range of Gap Change in Number of Change in Number of Difference

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

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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.

Using Equation 6.56, determine the value of the critical gap.

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.

The diagrams below illustrate the impact of a bottleneck on traffic flow.

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.

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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.

In Greenshields traffic flow model,

qmax = kjuf/4
qmax = (112)(68)/4
qmax = 1904 veh/h
Therefore, capacity at the site is normally 1904 veh/h.

Upstream flow is 70% of capacity,

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

Upstream density can be found the following form of Greenshields model:

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

Upstream speed can then be found using q = kus

uupstream = q/k = 1333/25.3
uupstream = 52.7 mi/h

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Chapter 6: Fundamental Principles of Traffic Flow

At the work zone, flow is at 50% of capacity,

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

Upstream density can be found as:

q = (68)k (68/112)k2
0.6071k2 68k + 952 = 0
Using the quadratic formula, k = 95.6 veh/mi

Upstream speed can then be found using q = kus

uupstream = q/k = 952/95.6
uupstream = 10 mi/h

The percentage reduction in speed due to the work zone is:

(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 = 30 veh/h (arrival rate)

Q = 40 veh/h (service rate)

a) Expected queue length

Using Equation 6.71,
E(m) = q2/[Q(Q q)] = (30)2/[40(40 30)] = 2.25 vehicles

b) Probability of no more than 5 cars

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

c) Average waiting time per vehicle

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

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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)?

a) Expected queue length

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

c) Average waiting time per vehicle

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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