Empirical study of the effect of offramp queues on freeway mainline traffic flow

Thumbnail Image
Toth, Christopher Stephen
Guensler, Randall L.
Laval, Jorge A.
Associated Organization(s)
Supplementary to
The dissertation examines the relationship between the number of lane changes, the speed of the ramp lane, and the location upstream of the ramp split. Analyses indicate the number of lane changes exhibits a parabolic relationship with respect to the ramp lane speed, and the number of lane changes exhibits gamma-distributed relationship with respect to the distance upstream of the ramp. The macroscopic lane changing model presented is best characterized as the development of generalized lane-changing relationships, and provides a starting point from which more complex corridor-level models can be developed. This study also identifies an unusual car-following behavior exhibited by certain lane-changing drivers. When the target lane is moving slowly, some lane-changing drivers will slow down, causing a disruption in their initial lane. Regression analysis is used to estimate the speed upstream of the initial lane to indicate the disruption is responsible for the lateral propagation of congestion. The lane choice of exiting vehicles is also studied. Lane choice appears to be a function of origin/destination, and freeway speed. As speeds in the general purpose lanes decrease, exiting vehicles are more likely to wait longer to move into the exit ramp lanes, resulting in an increased lane changing density. Results from this study are expected to have the greatest impact on microscopic lane-change model validation. Additionally, results have implications for design and safety issues associated with freeway ramps. As data collection technologies improve and data becomes increasingly available, this research provides the basis for the further development of more elaborate lane-changing models.
Date Issued
Resource Type
Resource Subtype
Rights Statement
Rights URI