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Some Properties of Flows at Freeway Bottlenecks

Author

Listed:
  • Lei Zhang
  • David Levinson

    () (Nexus (Networks, Economics, and Urban Systems) Research Group, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota)

Abstract

Capacity of a freeway segment should only be measured when it is an active bottleneck. The properties of flows at active freeway bottlenecks bear on both the definition of capacity and the procedure of capacity analysis. Past studies have examined the flow features at bottlenecks on several freeways in Toronto, Ontario, and San Diego, California. This study examined twentyseven active bottlenecks in the Twin Cities metro area, Minnesota, for a seven-week period. The analysis focuses on the properties of pre-queue transition flows (PQF) and queue discharge flows (QDF) averaged across various time intervals (thirty-second, daily average, and long-run average). It is found that the percentage flows drop after upstream queues form at all studied bottlenecks range from 2 percent to 11 percent. The 30-second QDFs display high variation and should not be assumed to be constant. The daily average QDFs at each studied bottleneck follows a normal distribution based on two normality tests and visual inspection of the normal probability plot. Results also suggest that the long-run average QDFs (mean 2016 pc/ln/hr) and PQFs (mean 2124 pc/ln/hr) are both normally distributed. The implication of these empirical findings on capacity estimation is also discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Lei Zhang & David Levinson, 2004. "Some Properties of Flows at Freeway Bottlenecks," Working Papers 200403, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:nex:wpaper:bottleneckproperties
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/11299/179903
    File Function: First version, 2007
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Zhang, Lei & Levinson, David, 2010. "Ramp metering and freeway bottleneck capacity," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 218-235, May.
    2. Cassidy, Michael J. & Bertini, Robert L., 1999. "Some traffic features at freeway bottlenecks," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 25-42, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Zhang, Lei & Levinson, David, 2010. "Ramp metering and freeway bottleneck capacity," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 218-235, May.
    2. repec:eee:pubeco:v:158:y:2018:i:c:p:113-125 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Han, Youngjun & Chen, Danjue & Ahn, Soyoung, 2017. "Variable speed limit control at fixed freeway bottlenecks using connected vehicles," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 113-134.
    4. Liu, Wei & Yin, Yafeng & Yang, Hai, 2015. "Effectiveness of variable speed limits considering commuters’ long-term response," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 81(P2), pages 498-519.
    5. Hall, Jonathan D., 2018. "Pareto improvements from Lexus Lanes: The effects of pricing a portion of the lanes on congested highways," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 113-125.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    freeway capacity; active bottleneck; queue discharge flow; pre-queue transition flow;

    JEL classification:

    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise
    • R48 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government Pricing and Policy

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