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Study and Simulation of Queuing Theory in

the Toll Motorway
Houda Mehri
Taoufik Djemel—
Research Unit in Logistics, Industrial Management and Quality
(LOGIQ) - ISGI-Sfax. BP nˇ r954-3018 Sfax-TUNISIA.
GIAD Laboratory, University of Sfax, FSEG,
Route de lŠAerodrome, km 4, BP 1088, 3018 Sfax, Tunisia .
ABSTRACT. Adjustment tests in a case study show that arrival times and service times in a
motorway queuing system led to the model M/Γ(α, β)/c. There are no analytical formula
to calculate performance measures of such a model. In this article, we generalize Pollazeck-
Khitchinne’s formula to establish approximate formula of these measures and we present a
simulator that calculates performance measures of A/B/c queuing system where A, B can be
one of the following distributions: determinist, exponential, Erlang or Gamma. We verify the
theory according to which the type of organization of the queue (an unique queue for all the
servers or multiple queues where each server has his/her own queue) does not influence the
performance measures of the queuing system.
RÉSUMÉ. Des tests d’ajustement sur les intervalles de temps entre les arrivées et les durées
de service d’une étude de cas ont abouti au modèle M/Γ(α, β)/c. Il n’existe pas de formules
analytiques pour calculer les mesures de performance d’un tel modèle. Nous généralisons la
formule de Pollazeck-Khitchinne pour établir des formules approximatives de ces mesures et
nous présentons un simulateur pour calculer les mesures de performance des modèles de file
A/B/c où A, B appartiennent à l’ensemble des distributions {Déterministe, Exponentielle, Er-
lang, Gamma}. Nous vérifions la théorie selon laquelle le type d’organization de la file (une file
unique pour tous les serveurs ou multiple files avec une file devant chaque serveur) n’influence
pas les mesures de performance du système d’attente routier.
Studia Informatica Universalis.
Queuing Theory in Toll Motorway 97
KEYWORDS: Queues, statistical analysis, multi agent simulation, exponential distribution,
Gamma distribution.
MOTS-CLÉS : Files d’attente, analyse statistique, simulation multi agent, distribution expo-
nentielle, distribution Gama.
1. Introduction
The queueing theory is an operational research technique that models
a system allowing queue, calculates its performances and determines its
properties in order to help managers in decision making. Results and
theoretical formulations are established for queue models with Poisson
arrivals and exponential service durations (M/M/c) [31], [24]. It is not
the case for all systems with the Poisson arrivals and non exponential
service duration M/G/c whose analytical survey is very complex.
We suggest in this paper a generalization of Pollazeck-Kitchinne for-
mula to set the performance measures of the model M/G/c. Our nu-
meric application of data collected is based on a case study of a toll
motorway. The statistical tests on arrivals and service duration show
that the distribution is respectively Poisson and Gamma. Hence, an
M/Γ(α, β)/c model.
We present a multi-agent simulator that covers any queue whether
A/B/c or A, B belonging to the distribution set {Determinist, Expo-
nential, Erlang, Gamma}.This simulator is used to check the hypothe-
sis that the queue type in a toll motorway (an unique queue for all the
servers or multiple queues where each server has his/her own queue)
does not influence the performance measures. To conclude this in-
troduction I will map the overall geography of this article. Section 2
sketches briefly toll motorway queues, section 3 is a case study fol-
lowed in section 4 by a generalization of Pollaczeck-khitchinne formula
to performance measures of models M/G/c. The simulator is presented
in section 5. Section 6 computes and interprets the results, and section
7 concludes the study.
98 Studia Informatica Universalis.
2. Queues
2.1. Description of Queues
The field of study which would attract the attention of theorists was
Queuing Theory which would develop over the past century by leaps
and bounds. The analytical investigation of stochastic processes has
continued unabated up to the present time.
The literature study on queues contains references to the definition
and historical perspective of the modeling approach. Queueing theory
has been a well-researched topic for many years and much published in-
formation is available. The literature study will give an overviewsample
of Queueing Theory. An important source of information is by Giffin
Queues are not an unfamiliar phenomenon. To define a queue
requires specification of certain characteristics which describe the
– An input process: This may be the arrival of an entity at a service
location. The process may involve a degree of uncertainty concerning
the exact arrival times and the number of entities arriving. To describe
such a process the important attributes are the source of the arrivals, the
size of each arrival, the grouping of such an arrival and the inter-arrival
– A service mechanism: This may be any kind of service operation
which processes arriving entities. The major features which must be
specified are the number of servers and the duration of the service.
– The queue discipline: It defines the rules of how the arrivals
behave before service occurs.
– The queue capacity: Finite or infinite
Queuing Theory in Toll Motorway 99
Examples of input and output processes which are as follows:
Situation Input Process Output Process
Bank Entities arriving Tellers serve entities
Toll Plaza Vehicles arriving Toll money is paid
Call Centre Incoming Call Call dealt with
Ferris wheel Tourists arrive Tourists are served
Intermittent Service Channel Entities arrive Entities are served intermittently
Naval Harbour Ships that must unload Unloading of ships
Table 1: Examples of Queuing Systems
The presence of uncertainty makes these systems challenging in respect
of analysis and design. The input rate/arrival rates together with the
output rate/service rate mostly determine whether there are entities in
the queue or not. These factors also determine the length of the queue.
In practice the arrival rate may be measured as the number of arrivals
during a given period. The service rate can be measured in the same
way. This is usually done for a system that has progressed from a tran-
sient state to a steady state. Most of these systems are described by
arrival and service rates. It is however important to also focus on the
transient characteristics of the system.
2.2. Historical Perspective
The ground work for many of the earliest techniques of analysis in
queuing theory was laid by A K Erlang, father of queueing theory, be-
tween 1909 and 1929. He is given credit for introducing the Poisson
process to congestion theory, for the method of creating balance state
equations (Chapman-Kolmogorov equations) to mathematically repre-
sent the notion of statistical equilibrium. Pollaczek [26] began studying
non-equilibrium queueing systems by looking at finite intervals. How-
ever, the first truly time dependant solutions were not offered until Bai-
ley [5] using generating functions and Lederman and Reuter [30], using
spectral theory and Champernowne [8], using the combinatorial method
found such solutions. Kendall [21] introduced his method of imbedded
Markov Chains in analyzing non-Markovian queues. The important
technique, known as the supplementary variable technique was intro-
100 Studia Informatica Universalis.
duced by Cox [10].
Most of the pioneers of Queuing Theory were engineers seeking solu-
tions to practical real world problems. The worth of queuing analysis
was judged on model usefulness in solving problems rather than on the
theoretical elegance of the proofs used to establish their logical consis-
The focus of the non-research oriented engineer in this expansive
theoretical development was on techniques which demonstrated appli-
cations of the results of the theory. In Operations Research the only field
that has few theoretical models with any useful applications is Queuing
Theory. One may speculate why this has occurred. The commonly
mentioned reason is that the equations resulting from many theoretical
investigations are simply too overly complex to apply. The practitioner
then often has to resort to simulation methods for analysis.
In practice common simple queues are scarce. Arrival and service
rates may be constantly shifting over time so it is important to describe
the distributions as functions of time. These systems are contrasted with
steady-state solutions in which the arrival and service patterns are usu-
ally such that the state probability distribution is stationary. Dynamic
systems require robust modeling that can provide useful results even
though the analysis may violate assumptions used in constructing the
Most of the above discussion relates to what Bhat [6] refers to as be-
havior problems of the system. The focus is to use mathematical models
to seek understanding of a particular process. Other problems are statis-
tical and operational. "Statistical" refers to analysis of empirical data,
estimation of system characteristics and tests of hypotheses regarding
queuing processes. "Operational" refers to design, testing and control
of real life problem.
2.3. Review of Queuing Models and Their Modeling Approaches
Queuing theory is a general theory. It is about the behavior not only
of the queuing process, but also of the generalized symbolic model of
the process. The purpose of a symbolic model is to make predictions
Queuing Theory in Toll Motorway 101
possible about the behavior of processes under changing conditions or
sometimes about processes that do not yet exist.
Despite the apparent simplicity of having only 3 basic components,
queuing theory has a wide variety of applications and is the starting
point for many practical problems at all levels of complexity. For most
practical problems, one is not so much concerned with properties of a
single given queuing system as with the comparison between various
possible alternatives. In particular, one may wish to predict what effect
various changes in strategy might have on some existing systems. For
example, if there is a large family of possible designs and one wishes to
find the optimal design according to some criteria, one is likely to get
a mixture of mathematical techniques ( including queuing theory) with
various optimization schemes (such as mathematical programming, dy-
namic programming, etc). Moreover, many design problems also con-
tain complex constraints. As a result, the system has to be carefully
designed so as to avoid certain highly undesirable or impossible situa-
In most queuing problems there is an implied cost associated with
waiting. Various types of service also have their cost, with the one giv-
ing the fastest service being the most expensive. The design problem is
to minimize the sum of waiting cost and service cost. In simple situa-
tions, the service facility can be designed to provide any rate of service
(at a price in toll station), but once designed the service is independent
of whether it is fully utilized or not. This is approximately the case
when the service is done by a machine of some sort. The optimal de-
sign is one that minimizes the cost of inadequate capacity during rush
hours and excess capacity at other times.
In most real life situations, there are certain emergency facilities that
can be brought into service when there is a heavy demand. Thus the ser-
vice rate can be considered as time dependent. This is obviously what is
done at banks, grocery stores, etc. where employees are borrowed from
other tasks to serve a rush hour demand.
When it is possible to increase the service rate by the addition of help
from other jobs, the number of parameters associated with any strategy
may become rather large. For example, the cost of adding temporary
102 Studia Informatica Universalis.
capacity usually has at least two parts. On the one hand, there is a
cost per unit of service such as labour cost, interest on investment, etc.
this may be overtime labour which has a higher rate than the regular
service. On the other hand, there is usually a fixed cost associated with
the introduction of the extra service.
The dynamics of queues has been analysed by using steady-state
mathematics. Such queueing processes are described by using the
Kendall-Lee notation which uses mnemonic characters that specify the
queueing system
– A: Specifies the nature of the arrival process.
– B: Specifies the nature of the service times.
– C: Specifies the number of parallel servers
– D: Specifies the queue discipline.
– E: Specifies the maximum number of entities in the system.
– F: Specifies the size of the population from which entities are
This notation is commonly used when deriving expressions for the aver-
age system length, number of entities in the queue, the average waiting
time, and many other features.
For queuing models, entity arrivals and service times are summa-
rized in terms of probability distributions normally referred to as arrival
and service time distributions. These distributions may represent sit-
uations where entities arrive and are served individually (e.g. banks,
supermarkets). In other situations, entities may arrive and/or be served
in groups. (e.g. restaurants). The latter case is normally referred to as
a bulk queue. A Poisson stream of entities arriving in groups is served
at a counter in batches of varying size under the general rule for bulk
service in which the server remains idle until the queue size reaches or
exceeds a fixed number whereupon they are served.
Queuing Theory in Toll Motorway 103
2.4. Steady State Performance
In a steady state, the performance of a system is that any effects
from starting up with no customer present, or with a backlog of cus-
tomers who arrived before the server started working has been reduced
to negligible proportions (i.e. the system has been operating for a long
time sufficient for a large number of customers to pass through it).
For queuing situations such as shops and banks, it may take a large
proportion of the working day before a steady state is achieved. For
mass transport utilities (e.g. MTR, bus, ferry, etc.), it may need only
two to three vehicles to bring the system to a steady state.
If a steady state cannot be assumed, then an analysis of transient
behavior is required. Transient states include not just start up, but tem-
porary periods of over-load such as rush hours. Analysis of transient
behavior is possible with queuing theory, but requires techniques (e.g.
fluid approximation) that are unlikely to be used by non-specialists.
In this study, a queue is made up of customers demanding a service
to one or several servers and a waiting room. The rate of arriving cus-
tomers and the rate of service per time unit are respectively marked
λ and µ. A queue model is described according to Kendall-lee nota-
tion [31], [24] by A/B/C/Disc/N/P. A and B represent the laws
of arrivals process and the service duration, M stands for exponen-
tial, D determinist, Γ(α, β) Gamma of parameters α and β, and G a
general law (any), C the number of servers, Disc the service disci-
pline, N the system capacity and P the size of the source population.
When the last three optional parameters are omitted, they are considered
FCFS/∞/∞where FCFS i.e. First Come, First served.
The performances measures of the queue model are: The average
time of a customer stay within the system (W), the average wait of a
customer (Wq), the average service time (Ws), the average number
of customers in the system (L), the average number of customers in
the queue (Lq), the average number of customers being served (Ls),
the usage rate of servers or traffic intensity ρ =
(Where c is the
number of servers), the equilibrium probabilities noted P
of n customer in the system) and the wait probability Π
of a coming customer waiting before being served). In toll motorways,
104 Studia Informatica Universalis.
two big schools share the queue organization [25], [11]
– Type1 an unique queue for all toll station thereby preventing cus-
tomers to train themselves queues
– Type 2 every toll station has its own queue enabling the customer
join the shortest queue.
3. Case Study
In a toll motorway station, the total cost of service contains not only
the cost of exploitation of server, but also the waiting cost of customer.
The knowledge of average waiting time of a customer by number of
servers in the system allows the administrators to choose the appropri-
ate number of servers which minimizes this total cost of service. The
other factors such as the utilization rate of servers, the average number
of customers in the system or in the queue, the equilibrium state prob-
ability of the number of customers in the system are also useful for a
good management. All these factors are characteristics (measures of
performance) of a queueing system.
During two weeks, we collected data related to cars arrivals and ser-
vice durations at Tunis-Msaken motorway. At the toll station of cars
to three available servers were our frameworks of study. Statistical
adjustment tests showed that per second, the arrivals were Poisson of
λ = 0.015 parameter and service duration Gamma of α = 2.42 and
β = 77.17 parameters. Contrary to multi servers with Poisson arrivals
and exponential service process M/M/c, random distribution models
are more complex to analyse [22]. There are no analytical formulae
to compute the characteristics of a M/G/c queueing system. The ap-
proximation formula of Pollaczek-Khintchine is only valid for M/G/1
models. For the M/G/c model [2], [4], Ivo Adan [2] has established
only an approximation formula for the average waiting time of a cus-
tomer in the system. Here, we give an approximation of Pollaczek-
Khintchine’s formula to establish approximation formulae for the other
performance measures of the M/G/c model. The only good theoretical
formulations encountered deal with models not allowing waiting that is
/c/∞ model with loss of customers and M/G/∞ model
with an infinite number of servers [9], [22].
Queuing Theory in Toll Motorway 105
The equilibrium state probabilities of number of customers in the
system are computed with a simulator which we implemented. We were
then able to verify the theory according to which the configuration of
the queue (single line or multiple lines, one for each server) does not
influence the queueing system performance.
3.1. Data Collection
The research goal during this collection was to get time intervals
between cars consecutive arrivals and service length. We take interest
to periods where each of the following events occurs: a car arrival, a
beginning of a service in a station, an end of service in a station. Data
collection has been completed thank to a perfected tool that take into
consideration the simultaneous appearance of many events .The main
functionality of this tool is to allow to pick up and save cars arrivals
schedules, beginning and ends of services thank to a simple click or
typing on the keyboard (see figure 1).
Figure 1: Queueing Data Collector
The two initial week’s period retained for the study was from July 17
to July 30, 2007. For some independent raisons from our will, July 24
and 25 were brought forward to July 15 and 16.The first day of collec-
tion has allowed us to be in touch with work background and it was a
raison to reduce the period of collection into 2 hours. July 16 night was
punctuated during few minutes of little electricity break which disrupt
collection in that day. For necessity to control passengers’ behavior dur-
106 Studia Informatica Universalis.
ing crowded days, July 29 and 30 collections days were brought forward
to August 1 and 2.
3.2. Analysis of Data Collected
3.2.1. Gathered data presentation
Table 2 shows the arrivals effect size during the several days of the
collection period.
17/07/08 18/07/08 21/07/08 23/07/08 01/08/08 02/08/08
Arrivals 405 432 433 419 434 456
Services 401 426 431 403 403 435
Table 2: Arrivals and Service Duration’s effect Size
An attention has been concentrated on daily periods where we note
crowd. Table 2.2 shows the evolution of arrivals number noted in all
hours during the collection period. We notice that the most important
crowd is observed between 9h30 and 10h30 like the rush hours for mo-
torway. Conversely, the 17h30 to 18h30 period is marked as off period
of the day with 15 arrivals noticed on average.
Range 17/07/08 18/07/08 21/07/08 23/07/08 01/08/08 02/08/08
7’30-8’30 42 55 63 34 61 63
8’30-9’30 59 64 59 64 63 59
9’30-10’30 49 58 45 75 57 54
10’30-11’30 55 62 49 47 49 55
11’30-12’30 23 32 30 26 32 22
14’30-15’30 68 71 60 63 70 81
15’30-16’30 58 50 59 58 40 62
16’30-17’30 38 33 50 47 43 45
17’30-18’30 15 9 20 7 18 17
Total 407 434 435 421 433 458
Table 3: Arrivals Periodic Evolution during the Collection Period.
Our goal is to determine probabilities distribution that well-describe
time intervals between arrivals and noticed service durations in the sys-
tem under study. Starting from the curve pace of the noticed effect size,
Queuing Theory in Toll Motorway 107
we apply a chi-square test to fit these data to a known theoretical distri-
bution have the same pace. We illustrate the procedure with data of July
3.2.2. Arrivals Analysis
We are interested to time intervals between cars consecutive arrivals
(inter-arrivals). We have distributed data over the inter-arrivals into 30
seconds amplitude classes, starting from 0 to 300 seconds (0 to 5 min-
utes) and more
. Table 4 shows that inter-arrivals less than 30 sec-
onds constitute the distribution mode this means the class that occurs
the most frequently in a data set or a probability distribution . (0 −30)
class constitutes in itself 30% to 40% of daily effect size and (30 to 60)
represents about 20%. These effect sizes decrease to less than 10% to
each of more than 90 seconds classes (1 minute 30 seconds) however
other classes of more than 150 seconds (2 minutes 30 seconds) repre-
sent less than 5%. This explains the important decreasing incline of
several figure 2. A very light recovery were noticed for more than 300
seconds class (5 minutes) for bringing together all inter arrivals higher
than 5 minutes, 30 seconds amplitude is never considered in this case.
Figure 2: Inter arrivals Effects Sizes Curves
This table shows as well that inter arrivals effects sizes curves have a
decreasing pace. A negative exponential variation might be supposed
1. A class [a, b] will represent higher or equal inter-arrivals to a seconds and strictly lower
to b seconds.
108 Studia Informatica Universalis.
which leads to orientation for laws of probability with a negative
ponential, like the exponential law or Gamma
Class Center(x
) Empirical Effect Size(n
0-30 15 163
30-60 45 73
60-90 75 68
90-120 105 35
120-150 135 18
150-180 165 18
180-210 195 6
210-240 225 7
240-270 255 4
270-300 285 5
>300 315 8
Total 405
Table 4: Statistic Table of July 17 Service Durations
Inter-arrivals fitting to an exponential law
From this table we can conclude: The empirical average:¯ x =

68.185 seconds considered an arrival each the 1 minute 8 seconds. The
empirical variance:S


= 4778.691 Considering an
arrival each the 1 minute 8 seconds. This imply that in one second we
have ¯ x
= 0.015 cars coming to the system per seconds. After fitting,
thank to χ
test noticed data to an exponential law of the parameter
µ = 0.015, we get a distance χ
= 14.484. The number of classes
being r = 10 and as we estimated a parameter (the average µ), the
freedom degree is ν = 10 −1 −1 = 8.
ν = 8, χ
table gives as value not to exceed to the threshold
α = 0.05 the quantity χ
= 15.507. As χ
< χ
, with 95% of
confidence degree, we admit the hypothesis according to which July 17
inter-arrivals undergo an exponential law with a parameter µ = 0.014.
shows the curve of noticed effect sizes and theoretical sizes according
to an exponential law.
2. Because it has paces with negative exponential function f(x) = e
3. First, we had have proceed at the beginning to a fitting to an Erlang law, k formestimation
provides us only integer values. That is why we go back to a fitting of a Gamma law.
Queuing Theory in Toll Motorway 109
Figure 3: Theoretical and Noticed Effect Sizes Curve (Exponential
Law) of July 17 Inter arrivals
3.2.3. Service Duration Analysis
Gathered services durations have been also classified into amplitudes
of 60 seconds, starting from 0 to 600 seconds (0 to 10 minutes) and
more. According to table 4, we obtain the following characteristics: the
empirical average: ¯ x = 192.044 seconds considering one car served
each 3 minutes 12 seconds. The empirical variance σ
= 15948.80798.
Class Center (x
) Empirical effect size n
0-60 30 36
60-120 90 86
120-180 150 101
180-240 210 76
240-300 270 43
300-360 330 24
360-420 390 9
420-480 450 6
480-540 510 8
540-600 570 5
> 600 630 7
Total 401
Table 5: Statistic Table of July 17 Service Durations
110 Studia Informatica Universalis.
Fitting service durations to an Exponential law
In one second we have
¯ x
= 0.0052 served cars.
A fitting test with χ
test to an exponential law of the parameter
µ =
¯ x
= 0.0052 gives a distance χ
= 125.72. Freedom degree of
theoretical χ
is ν = 8 (r = 10 classes), χ
table gives as value not
to exceed to the threshold α = 0.05 the quantity χ
(8) = 15.507. As
> χ
; at 95% of the confidence degree, we reject the hypothesis
according to which July 17 service durations undergo an exponential
law with a parameter µ = 0.0052.
Fitting service durations to a Gamma law
Gamma law is characterized by two parameters: α and β. Its av-
erage m = αβ and its variance ν = αβ
. The parameters α an β can be
estimated by:
α =
= 2.31 β =
= 83.04
After fitting test with χ
test to a Gamma law of parameter α = 2.31
and β = 83.04, we obtain a distance χ
= 15.327. The classes number
being r = 11 and since we estimated two parameters ( α and β ); so
the freedom degree is ν = 11 − 2 − 1 = 8. For ν = 8, χ
gives as value not to exceed to the threshold α = 0.05 the quantity
(8) = 15.507. As χ
< χ
; so at 95% of confidence degree, we
accept the hypothesis according to which July 17 service durations
undergo a Gamma law with parameter α = 2.31 and β = 83.04. Figure
4 presents the noticed effect sizes curve compared to theoretical effect
sizes of service durations undergoing a Gamma law.
Queuing Theory in Toll Motorway 111
Figure 4: Theoretical and Noticed Effect Sizes Curve (Gama Law) of
July 17 Inter arrivals
3.3. Summary of Obtained Results
Tables 2.5 and 2.6 present respectively obtained results about cars
inter-arrivals and service durations for each of the collected days with
threshold α = 0.05
Table 2.5 shows that inter-arrivals are adjustable to an exponential
law for the majority of carried out collection days. Fitting service
durations to an exponential law causes negative result because, from the
totality of carried out collection days, none caused a result conclusive
with an approach to an exponential law. However 84% (5 out of 6)
of carried out collection days produced a satisfactory result for an
approximation of services durations to a gamma law.
Days ¯ x µ χ
ν χ
17/07/08 68.18 0.014 14.48 8 15.507 We accept H
18/07/08 65.76 0.015 3.63 7 14.067 We accept H
21/07/08 69.73 0.014 13.36 8 15.507 We accept H
23/07/08 64.11 0.016 5.156 7 14.067 We accept H
01/08/08 67.53 0.015 12.82 9 16.91 We accept H
02/08/08 65.06 0.015 08.194 8 15.507 We accept H
Table 6: Result Recapitulation of Inter-arrivals Fitting to an Exponential Law
112 Studia Informatica Universalis.
Days ¯ x σ
α β χ
ν χ
17/07/08 192.04 15948.80 2.31 83.04 15.327 8 15.507 We accept H0
18/07/08 184.78 13347.843 2.55 76.92 13.671 7 14.067 We accept H0
21/07/08 181.81 15484.87 2.11 90.91 28.71 7 14.067 We reject H0
23/07/08 184.39 15802.30 2.15 89.42 14.056 7 14.067 We accept H0
01/08/08 203.44 14715.18 2.81 76.41 5.273 7 14.067 We accept H0
02/08/08 179.16 11320.38 2.85 63.12 5.038 5 11.070 We accept H0
Table 7: Result Recapitulation of Service Durations Fitting to a Gamma Law
We have no elements to justify the fact that service durations of July
23 had not produced satisfactory results neither according to the
exponential law nor according to the Gamma law. This may be due to
some field unforeseen that a study more extended on several months
even several years had allowed us to determine. May be it is important
to point out the anomaly noted in that day; the service was assured
during the first minutes of the morning by only one station, the others
being started after 10 to 15 minutes.
After a synthesis of obtained results over the analysis of all gathered
data during the collection, the result of arrivals average is 66.71 (= 1
minute 6 seconds) and the service durations average is 187.38 seconds
(= 3 minutes 7 seconds).
In the final analysis of the carried out study, we come to the model
of the following queue: M/Γ(α, β/3/FCFS/∞/∞: Cars come to the
system following a Poisson distribution according to 53 cars per hour
(0.015 cars all seconds). The toll area has 3 data services with Gamma
service durations of parameter α = 2.42 and β = 77.17 (in seconds).
Service policy is the first arrived the first served. There no limits to
maximum cars number in the motorway as well as in its provenance
For this system, we get the following performance measures:
Queuing Theory in Toll Motorway 113
Performance Measures Approximation
The trafic intensity ρ 93.5 %
Probability of having empty system Π
Probability of waiting before service Π
Time of average sojourn in the system W 778
Time of average waiting W
Time of average service W
Average number of cars in the system L 11.76
Average number of cars in the queue L
Average number of cars into service L
Table 8: Performance Measures of the Studied System
3.4. Results and Interpretations
In order to ameliorate results of its systems, motorways’ managers
often lead to ask several questions like:
1) What effect of stations number increase on systems performance?
2) How much stations are needed in order to get waiting average
time or the average number of waiting passengers lower at a certain
3) What effect of the unavailability of one (or n) servers (s) on system
4) What is the probability that a car wait over a t instant in the queue?
5) What is the probability of more than one car in the queue?
6) How to optimize stations’ use rate or increase its efficiency if they
are too often unoccupied?
We suggest using queue theory techniques to help these managers in
their decisions. So we need to define the previous performances mea-
3.5. Used Methodology
The model M/Γ(α, β)/c is more complex than classical queuing
models with M/M/c exponential services’ durations and Poison ar-
rivals. So far, no theoretical result on performance measures calcula-
tion for non-exponential queue models has been formally established
114 Studia Informatica Universalis.
and proven [17]. Only approximations of some performances mea-
sures exist. In literature, several solution approaches were proposed.
A quite detailed of tasks retrospective which were made on queue with
arrivals or non-exponential service durations as well as authors who
introduced it, has been presented by Ivo Adan, W. A van of Waarsen-
burg and J. Wessels in [2]. But none of these results suit to what we
search. Authors think even that multiserver queue systems with arrivals
or non-exponential service durations are a typical example of convivial
or simple models at first sight but which could not be analyzed with sat-
isfaction. This is because it is proving that the behavior of the system
is much more complex and that is a sign of its simple formulation. The
lack of works dealing with queue models with Gamma distributions in
literature, bring us to be oriented rather to a General distribution. An
analysis and measures’ determination and performance indicator has
been introduced in case of a unique server (M/G/1 model) since 1950;
the problem becomes difficult in the (M/G/c) multi-servers case. Only
theoretical good approximations of multi-servers models with Poisson
arrivals and General service durations that we meet with, deal with
M/G/c/FCFS/c/ models which do not neglect customers who find
the station service plenty and M/G/α models with unlimited number
of servers which do not fit to our case. Works of Sadowsky J.S and W.
Szpankowskiy [27] about G/G/c models could supply us satisfaction;
but it focus only on maximum waiting duration and maximum number
of customers in the queue. A certain number of works exists about a
recent model of queue considering rejections and owning established
theoretical results. It is M/GI/c + GI or GI/GI/c + GI [32] but it
require a certain number of conditions that our models do not fit like:
1) Big number of servers (50, 100even1000)
2) A system permanently in overloaded regime where arrivals rate is
upper to services’ rate (ρ =

≥ 1.02) so the outflanking of what the
customers will be is included in rejections rate to bring the system into
a stable regime.
As an alternative solution, we opted to establish from Pollaczek- Khint-
chine formula and inspiring by the approximation of waiting average
duration in an (M/G/c) multiple servers system established by Ivo
Adan [1], the approximation of performance measures on waiting av-
Queuing Theory in Toll Motorway 115
erage durations (W
), of service (W
) and of sojourn in the system (W)
as well as the waiting average number of customers (Lq), in service
(Ls) and in the system (L).
We could not establish formula allowing us to find approximate val-
ues for equilibrium probabilities on the number of customers present in
the system (Pn). Therefore, we used simulation to near it.
4. Approximation of the Performance Measures of M/G/c Models
According to the average value formula [2] of Pollaczek-
khintchinne, a new arriving customer should wait for a customer be-
ing served and all customers queuing behind before being served. The
average wait is calculated as follows:
= ρE(R) +L
E(B) (1)
R is the residual service time of a customer being served, B the ser-
vice time andρ =
the probability of finding a customer being served.
In accordance with Ivo Adan [2], we suppose that the time needed to
empty the queue with c servers is c times shorter than with one server.
Then, we get:

E(R) +L
E(B)) (2)
Here the probability of a customer waiting before being served is noted
(The value Π
of the M/M/c model can be used as an approxima-
tion of Π
of the M/G/c model). R is the residual service time and B
the average service time. According to the theorem of Little L
= λW
since E(B) =
, we get:

c(1 −σ)
withρ =

The average distribution of residual time [24], [31] is:
E(R) =
+ 1)E(B)
Where c
is the coefficient of variation of service durations (quotient of
the standard deviation from the average).
116 Studia Informatica Universalis.
Then we get:

2(1 −ρ)
+ 1). (4)
= E(B) =
W = W

2(1 −ρ)
+ 1) (6)
= λW
= λ

2(1 −ρ)
+ 1) (7)
= λW
= ρ =
(Not to confuse to the use rate

L = L


2(1 −ρ)
+ 1) (9)
Since we cannot elaborate formulae to work out approximate values for
the equilibrium state probabilities of the number of cars present in the
system (Pn), we simulated them.
Derivation of Π
To Ivo Adan [1] the value of Π
of M/M/c model can be used as an
approximation of Π
of the M/G/c model. In M/M/c model, Π
the probability for a customer to wait before profiting from the service,
with c servers we have Π
= P
+. . . . but for the M/M/c
model:, with , this imply that P
= ρ
, with ρ =
, this imply that
Case of a unique queue
The statistic analysis of the set of global data allows us to conclude that
the cars’ arrivals are Poisson with a rate λ = 0.015 so the average
66.71 seconds and that service durations are Gamma (with parameter
α = 2.42 and β = 77.17) of an average
= 187.38 seconds and of
variance σ
= 14461.96. The number of servers is c = 3.
Table 8 gives us the obtained values of performance indicators. The last
column shows the results produced by the simulator.
The following figure illustrates equilibrium probabilities to get n cars
Queuing Theory in Toll Motorway 117
Performance Measures Approximation Simulation
ρ 93.7 % 93.5%
0.015 0.014
0.87 0.80
W 786.107 744.073
608.727 557.463
187.38 186.61
L 11.941 11.576
9.13 8.770
Ls 2.81 2.805
Table 9: Performance Measures of the Studied System
Figure 5: Equilibrium Probabilities to get n Cars in the System
in the system P
according to n.
Case of multiple queues
Theoretical models, which include all aspects of this approach, do not
exist. Results obtained at the end of several simulations of different
durations but under the same initial conditions as the results for a unique
5. Simulation
Multi-agent simulation aims at creating an artificial world in which
interact agents evolving in an environment[19].
118 Studia Informatica Universalis.
5.1. Functionality
The simulator programmed in Java is multi-agent. It implements
both types of organization of toll motorway queues A/B/c models
where A, B belong to the set of distributions {Determinist, Exponen-
tial, Erlang, Gamma}. The simulator input parameters are: the type of
organization of the queue of the simulated model, the simulation dura-
tion, the distributions of services and arrivals durations and the number
of tollbooths. The simulator releases the model performance measures.
Figure 6 gives an idea about the simulator.
Figure 6: Glimpse of the Simulator
5.2. Description
The agent is represented by an independent thread, the know-how by
a method, the state by the set of values of its features and its behavior by
the Run method of the thread. The agents are endowed with two facul-
ties: Perceive and Act. The agent should first perceive one’s surround-
ings before acting. The system has three types of agents: customers,
tollbooth staff and the head agent who supervises and coordinates the
simulation process.
The choice of time units and working out the dependant values is
important. The time unit is governed by the service and arrival rates.
Queuing Theory in Toll Motorway 119
These rates are stated in relation to the same time unit. If for example
the arrivals rate is stated according to the number of arriving customers
per hour, then the service rate should be stated in terms of the number
of served customers per hour. The simulation duration should also be
stated in the same time unit.
In type 2, when a customer chooses a queue, s/ he remains there un-
til being served. The simulator uses the reverse transformation method
[9] to generate the random variables. To validate the simulator, we com-
pared the output to the known theoretical results.
5.3. Performance Measures Calculation
Calculation of L, L
and L
We use two tables of integers L
[ ] and L
[ ]. A simulation step cor-
responds to 100ms (1/10second). At the i
step we assign to L
(respectively L
[i]) the number of customers in the queue (Q size) (re-
spectively the number of customers being served S size). At the end of
the simulation we get:

; L

; L = L
. (10)
is the total number of simulation steps. If T is the simulation dura-
tion then T
= 10 ∗ T.
Calculation of W, Wq and Ws
We use also two integers tables W
[ ] and W
[ ] corresponding respec-
tively to the wait and service time of customers in the system. Each
customer agent has two variables Date (creation date D
and service
starting date D
) and a service duration variable D
. Upon creation of
the customer, its creation date is updated to the current date and the
computer generates the time before creating the next customer accord-
ing to the distribution of time intervals among arrivals. The created
customer will be served if a tollbooth is free. Otherwise; it is attributed
a position P
= Q
+ 1 in the queue (the shortest in the case of sev-
eral queues) that is decremented as far as a tollbooth is freed (its own
queue in the case of multiple queues). When the i
customer occupies
position1 and a tollbooth is freed (its tollbooth in the case of multiple
120 Studia Informatica Universalis.
queues), it joins the tollbooth , the service starting date D
is updated
to the current date and the computer generates the service duration D
according to the service durations distribution. Then, we update:
[i] = D
and W
[i] = D
. (11)
At the end of simulation we get:

; W

; W = W
. (12)
is the total number of served customers during the simulation and
the total of customers having waited (the sum of the number of cus-
tomers already served and the number of customers being served).
Calculation of the equilibrium probabilities
We use an integer table P[ ] where the 200 first components are ini-
tialised at 0 (P[i] = 0, for 1 < i ≤ 200). At each simulation step, we
increment P[j] of 1 if j = Q
+ S
. At the end of the simulation
we get:
representing the number of simulation steps.
5.4. Random Variables Generation
During the simulation, the computer generates time intervals before
the next arrivals of customer as well as service durations according to
given distributions: Gamma, Erlang, Exponential and Determinist dis-
tributions. The simulator uses the inverse transformation method in or-
der to generate random variables. The inverse transformation method
[5] [10] goes in fact that if F(X) = Y is a cumulative distribution func-
tion of a given distribution, so F
(Y ) follows the said distribution. It
is necessary then to generate a random variable r representing Y and
following an Uniform distribution
(because Y ∈ [0; 1[) then to return
the F
(r) value. As well as:
4. The quasi totality of programming tools includes a function allowing to generate a real
random according to an uniform distribution that is to say is comprised between 0 and 1.
Queuing Theory in Toll Motorway 121
• For the Exponential distribution with λ average, the simulator gen-
erates an uniform random number r and returns the
In(r) value.
• For an Erlang distribution with k form and µ average, the simulator
generates k random numbers r
, r
. . . r
and returns the amount
distributed exponential random numbers k with the average
, that is to
say, the value
, r
, . . . , r
• For a Gamma distribution, we will use the Erlang distribution that
is one of its special case
. we used as well the acceptance and rejec-
tion method algorithm [6] which consists on identifying an ζ quantity
(which corresponds to the contribution of the decimal part of α noted δ)
using the generation of a variable Γ(δ, 1) (with 0 < δ < 1). Then we
apply an "α-addition" with an Erlang random variable corresponding to
the entire part of α. So the generated value is:
(ζ −ln(U
. . . U
That follows a distribution Γ(α, β)
5.5. The Use of Simulator
Our simulator contains several functionalities distributed over four
panels namely:
Data Panel
It gives the user controls allowing entering simulation data mainly: Re-
spectively three unrolling lists for the approach choice, the arrivals dis-
tribution, and that of services as well the parameters that characterize it.
Texts’zones for stations number and the simulation duration. A box to
tick for the infinite mode
Progress Check-up Panel
It displays dynamically during the simulation: The number of arrived
cars, the number of served cars, the number of busy server, the number
of free servers and the queue size.
Chart Panel
It gives panels showing graphics and end of simulation results. The
displayed graphics show: the queue size, the average duration of wait-
5. We saw before that an Erlang random variable with a k form is in fact the amount of k
exponential random variables.
6. When α is an integer then the Gamma distribution reduces to an Erlang distribution.
7. In infinite mode, the simulation has not a limited duration; it runs until the user stops it.
122 Studia Informatica Universalis.
ing cars, the number of busy servers, the average duration service. The
presented results at the end of the simulation are the following: The av-
erage number of cars in the system L, the average number of cars in the
service L
, the average number of waiting cars L
, the average duration
of sojourn of a car in the system W, the average duration that one car
passes in the service W
, the average time that one car passes to the
queue W
and the equilibrium stationary probabilities P
The Control Panel
It gives a certain number of orders allowing controlling the simulation
progress like: Run to start the simulation, Pause to interrupt shortly
a simulation in progress and see current results, Resume to take again
after an interruption, Reinitialise to take again data and graphics within
sight of a new simulation, Stop to stop the simulation, it allows also to
choose the mode of graphics display (curves or areas).
5.6. Simulator Validation
The results of our simulator are valid thanks to some comparisons
with known theoretical results. For exponential queues, the simulation
results were compared to obtained results analytically. For queues of
one server with Poisson arrivals and non exponential services’ dura-
tions (Erlang, Determinist or Gamma), results concerning performance
measures were compared to that of the Pollaczek-Khintchine formula.
For the other cases, the analytical results are not available.
6. Results and Interpretation
For type 1, we used the approximations made in section 3 and
simulated the equilibrium probabilities. For type 2, there are no
theoretical models that take in charge all the aspects of this approach.
The results were simulated under the same initial conditions.
Initial data
The statistical analysis of the set of collected data in our study led
to a model M/Γ(α, β)/3 and enabled us conclude that car arrivals
are Poisson with the rate λ = 0.015 per second and that the service
Queuing Theory in Toll Motorway 123
durations are Gamma with the average
= 187.38 seconds and the
variance σ
= 14461.96. Thus α = 2.42 and β = 77.17.
Table 4 shows the values of performances indicators from both cases.
Performance Measures A single queue Multiple queues
ρ 93.7 % 93.5%
0.015 0.015
0.87 0.81
W 796.107 778
608.727 591.42
187.38 186.61
L 11.941 11.76
9.13 8.86
Ls 2.81 2.80
Table 10: Comparative Performances Measures of Both Approaches
Figure 7 shows the equilibrium probabilities varying according to n for
both types of queue organization.
Figure 7: Equilibrium Probabilities for Both Types of Queue Organiza-
We notice that the intensity of service is high because tollbooth staff
are busy more than 93% of their working hours which ensures a full
usage of the motorway resources. Practically there are always three
cars being served (exactly 2.81). There are on average 12 cars in the
124 Studia Informatica Universalis.
system with a bit more than 9 cars on average queuing. A car remains
on average 13 minutes 16 seconds in the at the tollbooth 10 minutes
8 seconds of which queuing. A new coming car 80% chance to wait
before being served. Notice that both approaches give practically
the same results. We can then conclude that there are no significant
differences between both queuing schemes if not from an organization
(order, comfort and spaces). In fact the single queue model has certain
(i) for the tollbooth, the existence of zero or an unique queue ensures
order and comfort of passengers and making the most of space;
(ii) for the passengers, the numbering system does not require a
physical presence in the queue. So, they can sit and wait or keep
oneself busy while waiting.
But if we vary the number of stations?
If it is a factor that motorway managers can easily act on, so it is the
number of available stations for the service.
Table 5 shows us performance measures for configuration to 2, 4 then 5
stations. With two stations, an overloaded system will explode. In this
case, the performance measures do not exist because we cannot obtain
exploited stations over a 100% use rate and cars arrivals rate higher than
the maximum capacity of service.
With a 4 stations configuration, the servers are busy during 70% of its
availability time; the service duration remains unchanged while passen-
gers go fewer than a minute in the queue. We have permanently on
average 4 cars in the system, less than one car is in the queue. For a
passage to 5 stations, these last stations pass practically the half of its
empty time. We get on average, few than three cars in the service and
an almost empty queue. The waiting cars stay in the queue on average
11 seconds.
Figure 8 shows the equilibrium probabilities according to that we had a
3, 4, or 5 servers configuration. We consider that curves increase at the
beginning then collapse later. Yet, we notice a pic on 4 and 5 stations
curves with a number of cars included between 3 and 5. In 3 stations,
Queuing Theory in Toll Motorway 125
P M c = 2 c = 3 c = 4 c = 5
ρ 1.4 93.7 0.70 0.56
- 0.049 0.057 0.015
- 0.87 0.40 0.18
W - 796.107 (13 min,16 sec) 232.244 (3 min,52 sec) 198.41 (3 min,18 sec)
- 608.727 (10 min,8 sec) 44.864 (0 min,44 sec) 11.03 (0 min,11 sec)
- 187.38 (3 min,7 sec) 187.38 (3 min,7 sec) 187.38 (3 min,7 sec)
L - 11.941 3.48 2.97
- 9.13 0.67 0.16
Ls - 2.81 2.81 2.81
Table 11: System Performance Measure for 2, 3, 4 and 5 Servers
it is possible to see at a given time 30 cars and more, present in the
system as it will be less likely to see more than 11 cars for a 4 stations
configuration and more than 9 cars for a 5 stations configuration. This
explains the fact that the curves of 4 and 5 stations configurations col-
lapse quicker than the 3 stations one.
Figure 8: Equilibrium Probabilities for 3, 4 and 5 Servers
And if the service durations are exponential?
Despite the fact that the data analysis has shown us that the services’
durations do not follow an exponential distribution, we noticed the sys-
tem behavior if it has been considered as exponential, to gauge the im-
pact that such consideration had on results. Table 6 contains the ob-
tained performance measures values. We can note that the average du-
ration of service and the average number of cars in service are still the
126 Studia Informatica Universalis.
same as well as the stations’ use rate. Yet, we can remark a notable dif-
ference in comparison to results of non-exponential service durations.
Mainly on waiting average duration (more than 4 minutes) and the av-
erage number of cars waiting (around 3 cars). These differences affect
logically the average duration of sojourn of a car in the system and the
average number of cars in the system. In the absence of theoretical
formulations for the (M/G/c) models, these results confirm us in our
decision not to choose as approximation by the M/M/c models.
ρ Π
0.93 0.015 0.82 1061.56 874.18 187.38 15.92 13.11 2.81
(17 min,41sec)(14min,34sec)(3min,7sec)
Table 12: Performance Measures when Services’ Durations are Considered Exponentials
Performance measures vary considerably when passing from 3 to 4 or 5
stations. Cost knowledge related resources’ exploitations to the func-
tioning of a station would allow determining optimal configuration.
Given the fact that for 4 or 5 stations, the performance measures are
practically in the same order, the crossing from 4 to 5 stations would
not be profitable in the motorway. When we increase the number of
stations to 4, the number of waiting customers and the average duration
of waiting collapse very strongly, consequently in one side, it assures
certainly the comfort and the satisfaction of customers, in other side,
with traffic decrease, the servers become underused. To decide if it is
necessary to increase or not the number of stations, we have to take into
account cost related to a station functioning and to non-comfort and to
non-satisfaction of customers.
7. Conclusion
The queue theory is a technique of optional research that allows mod-
eling a system assuming a waiting phenomenon, calculating its perfor-
mance measures and determining its characteristics to help managers in
their decisions. theoretical results and formulations are well-established
for multi-servers queues models with Poisson arrivals and M/M/c ex-
ponential services durations. But not to all systems such as those with
Queuing Theory in Toll Motorway 127
Poisson arrivals and M/G/c non-exponential service durations whose
analytical study is complex.
We used in this study the Pollaczek-Kitchinne formula to suggest
formulas that enable approximations of the performances models of the
M/G/c queue models. We set a multi-agent simulator that measures
the performances of A/B/c models where A, B are distributions of the
type Determinist, Exponential, Erlang or Gamma. The numeric appli-
cations with data from a case study at Tunis-Msaken motorway were
used to check the theory according to which in a tollbooths system the
type of organization of the queue (a single queue for all toll booths or
multiple queues one per tollbooth ) does not influence the performance
measures of the system.
In conclusion, the time that customers spend in a service queue has
an important impact on their evaluations of the provider’s overall qual-
ity. By causing anger and uncertainty, the perceived duration of a wait
appears to be more influential than the quality of service delivered. Ser-
vice managers should do all they can to manage customers’ responses
to queues, such as offer explanation and apology. However, to the cus-
tomer faced with high waiting costs, perception management techniques
in isolation from actions that actually reduce the queue are akin to re-
arranging deck furniture on a sinking ship. Waiting time should be re-
duced in reality as well as in customer perception.
I am heartily thankful to each person whose encouragement, guidance and support
from the initial to the final level enabled me to develop an understanding of the paper.
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Houda MEHRI is doctoral student in operational research at the National School of Engineers
(ENIM). Its research field is the study of chaotic queue within the framework of congestion and
large scale integer programming problems, especially arising from transportation and logistics
applications. She is is more specifically interested in the transition behaviour of a dynamic
system using the mathematical devices of the theory of CHAOS. Holding a Master’s degree in
Operational Research and Production Control (2006) from the University of Sfax in Tunisia
(FSEGS). She was also an assistant teacher of the Linear Programming course. She took part
in the drafting of some cases and teaches the course of Statistical and numerical systems. She
has also taken part in several national and international scientific conferences and seminars on
various topics of scientific research.
Taoufik DJEMEL Professor at the University of Tunis (El Manar), holder of a doctorate (Ph.D)
from "Graduate School of Business, University of Wisconsin At Madison", former director of
the department of Management at the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Management of Tunis,
Teaching several courses in several Tunisian and foreign university institutions for several lev-
els. He carried out and published several studies and research pieces. He also wrote a book
of statistics in 3 volumes. Currently, He is supervising a group of assistant-teachers preparing
their doctoral theses. He was several times rapporteur of thesis and viva member or president.
Previously, He was the first director of the Department of the Quantitative Methods and Data
Processing at the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Management of Sfax. He was named pres-
ident or member of several national juries for the recruitment of teachers in management and
quantitative methods on several levels.