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A Study on the Macro Capacity Model of Urban Road Network and Its Application 1/8

A Study on the Macro Capacity Model of

Urban Road Network and Its Application
By Li Shuo1
Abstract How to quantify the macro capacity of an urban road network is a new approach to studying urban total road
network capacity in the recent years. A French scholar Mason(1989) has provided the magnitudes of time and space usage of
city road network occupied by traffic bodies. This theory simply shows the inner effectiveness of various traffic models in terms
of traffic bodies occupation of time of road network space or of space of road network time in the form of quantity, as well as
investigates in convenience the intrinsic potentials of urban road traffic infrastructures (inclusive of static and dynamic ones), for
example, parking, motorway, bikeway, pedestrian and etc. On the other side, it can further prove and compute the urgent
economic costs of time and space usage of road net, and its economic revenues produced by that usage. This paper amends the
concept of time and space usage of road net on the basis of Masons, especially taking the density of urban road network into
the consideration, and it mostly represents the reality. Although the model is a little bit complicated, it can be more effective if
the methods provided by this paper are used. This can be verified by the case study of Zhuzhou City, Hunan province. This
paper uses Zhuzhou data given in 1990 as a pilot study city. All the process and results have shown that the ways given in the
paper are useful, rational and efficient.

The Macro Capacity Model of Urban Road Network

The Concepts of Macro Capacity and Space-Time Usage
Macro Capacity
It is the maximum number of pedestrians and vehicles accommodated in a limited road space during a
certain period. Road traffic facilities are stable and limited during a given period, but the traffic flow is
stochastic and dynamic, which will use the space and time of road network. According to Mason, if C
stands for the total capacity of urban road traffic facilities, it can be computed as:
C=AT (m2.h) (1)
where: A = the effective area of urban road facilities, T = the effective traveling time. The space-time
usage of unit traffic body can be converted into the number of total traffic bodies accommodated during a
given period:
Cv=C/Civ=AT/ Civ (2)
where: C = total capacity of urban traffic facilities given by equation (1)
Cv= vehicles accommodated by road facilitiesCiv = one vehicles normal space-time usage.
Due to the limitation of length, this paper will only discuss the capacity of vehicle that can be
accommodated, while that of pedestrian will be not discussed in the paper.
Space-Time Usage
Space-time usage means road space occupied by unit traffic body during a certain period, in m 2h/v
or m h/p. It can be defined and evaluated according to the different traffic bodies, types, periods and
situation. To a vehicle, its space-time usage equals the road space needed during travel multiplied by
traveling time, which is:
Civ=Sdtv (3)

where: Sd = the road space needed by vehicle, during travelling, Sd=ddLd;

dd = lateral safety width needed by vehicle, approximate equaling the width of one lane, (m);
Ld = the minimum safety space headway between vehicles (m);
tv = the average traveling time of vehicle (h).
The Influence of Density (D) of Road Network for Calculating C
The wider isnt always the better for road. The capacity of a road with 60m wide isnt larger than that
of two roads with 30m wide. This is because the former road density is smaller than the latter. The
capacity is different among roads with same effective areas and the different densities. So the influence
of density must be considered when C is computed.
Let us make Do (km/km2) the standard density, and its relevant modified coefficient of road density
kD=1.0;As D>Do, kD>1.0; otherwise, kD<1.0. Here, the modified effective area of road network is as
A*=KDA (4)

Assoc. Prof., Dept of Civil Eng., Hunan University, Changsha, HN 410082, China
A Study on the Macro Capacity Model of Urban Road Network and Its Application 2/8

In this equation, the total capacity is computed on the base of the concept of space-time-density usage.
The Macro Capacity Model of Urban Road Network and Its Algorithm
The macro capacity model of urban road network that based on the concept of "space-time-density
usage" is as follow:
N=A*T/C (5)
where: N = macro capacity of road network, in equivalent vehicles;
A* = the modified affective operation areas of road network;
T = the effective operation time of traffic facilities;
C = the average space-time usage of vehicles in traffic flow;
In view of the integrated influence of actual classification, distribution, use frequency, portrait and
lateral disturb, delay of intersections, pedestrian and so on, the actual macro capacity of road network
can be calculated as:
N=(60SnKDK1K2K3K4K8)/(atnK5K6K7) (6)
where: K1 = the modified coefficient of road grade;
K2 = the average frequency coefficient of road usage;
K3 = lateral disturb coefficient;
K4 = integrated influence coefficient of intersections;
K5 = traffic flow ratio during peak hour;
K6 = unbalance time coefficient during peak hour;
K7= vehicle type coefficent;
K8 = peak hour factor;
a = space occupied dynamically by unit traffic body;
t = average time usage of traveling of unit traffic body;
Sn = modified network areas of road facilities;
Kd = modified density coefficient of road network;
Confirmation of Technique Parameters
Sin = Si. "i " stands for the proportion of road type i, which means motorway if i=1, bikeway if
i=2, and walkway if i=3.To motorway, the arterial road area is defined as standard, and all others should
be converted to it. Consideration of driver familiarity, preference, location and so on, K 2 is generally
assumed 0.7~0.8. K3 is generally assumed 0.7~0.85.The effective operation time (T) of urban road is
usually computed in peak hour, while the most serious influence during peak-hour is in intersections. So
a converted coefficient must be taken according to the factors of intersection type, traffic organization,
traffic control, etc. Generally, the coefficient (K 4) is assumed 0.7~0.85, and the effective operation time
during peak-hour is computed as:
T = 60K4 (min) (7)
The space-time usage of unit traffic body during peak-hour is computed as:
C = atnK5K6K7/K8 (8)
where: a = the dynamic occupied area of unit traffic body, which is defined by the size of plane
projection, the speed and the mental need of traffic safety, in m2;
t = the average traveling time usage of traffic body, which needs to be confirmed by survey, and
relates with the city scale, road network and distribution, etc, in hours;
n = the average travels of unit traffic body in a day, derived by the travel-survey, in trips;
K5 = the flow ratio of peak-hour,derived by the travel-survey;
K6 = unbalance time coefficient during peak hour, assumed 1.1~1.3;
K7 = modified coefficient of vehicle type, in which car is standard; and
K8 = peak-hour coefficient, achieved by traffic volume survey.

Analysis and Calculation on Macro Capacity of Road Network of

This paper is part of primary study of the Total Capacitys Theory and its Application of Urban
Road System (No: 97SSR2037) worked by the writer. The data applied in the paper are achieved from
Li(1990), which are the road-survey material of Zhuzhou in 1989. The macro capacity calculation aims
A Study on the Macro Capacity Model of Urban Road Network and Its Application 3/8

at analyzing the total road capacity of the time in Zhuzhou, and pave the ground for comparing with the
The Modified Effective area (A*) of Road Facilities in Zhuzhou
Datum A* is from A-the effective area of road facilities, which is the area that ensures the safety and
natural use of traffic body, in this paper only area used by vehicles is involved. According to Li(1990),
the total road area of Zhuzhou in 1989 is 2,065,843 m2. In which, motorway area is 1,000,309 m2,
bikeway area is 639,348 m2, walkway area is 426,186 m2; they occupied 48.42%, 30.95% and 20.63%,
The Modified Road Class Coefficient K1
To motorway, let the arterial area be standard, and other areas must be converted according to one
lanes capacity and their proportions are as follows:

K1=ga+(Ns/Na)gs+(Nl/Na)gl (9)
where:Na, Ns, Nl are the possible capacities of arterial road, subarterial road or lateral road respectively,
and ga, gs, gl are the proportion occupied of them, in %.
The motorway area of arterial road, subarterial road, and lateral in road system of Zhuzhou is
520583m2, 120850 m2, and 358876 m2 respectively, while the proportion of them is 52.04%, 12.08%
and 35.88% respectively. The calculation of N s/Na and Nl/Na is related with lane width, lateral
clearance, grade, sight distance, disturb alongside, and the influence from bike. Most of the width of
arterial road of Zhuzhou is more than 3.65mProvided the standard width is more than 3.65m, all that
less than 3.65m must be converted (as table 1 shows). The average weighted width of Zhuzhous arterial
road (Wa) equals 3.398m, the Table 1 giving the converted coefficientwa= 0.8992; while Ws=3.295m,
ws=0.8691 and wl=0.9268.
Table 1. The Converted Coefficient [] of Lane-widt h
Lane width (m) 2.75 3.00 3.35 3.65
0.76 0.81 0.88 1.00
The road network of Zhuzhou appears as belt-shape and center-radiation. Most road can meet the
sight distance. It has basically been urbanized alongside, and the roads are comparatively smooth. So it
hasnt been done to modify lateral clearance, grade and sight distance. Part segment of three arterial
road out of eight are equipped the division-facilities. By the actual observation of above mentioned
during peak hours, half motorway areas are occupied by bike, and these arterial road without division-
facilities occupied 22.3% of total. So the influence coefficient on arterial road by bike can be computed
Most type of eight subarterial roads is one-board cross-section. The observation to them shows that half
motorway area is occupied by bike, and the influence coefficient on subarterial road of bike is computed
In this city, there are 50 lateral roads. There exists serious mixed traffic, and pedestrian produce a lot of
disturbs, 2/3 motorways being occupied, So nl=1-2/3=0.3333.According to all above:
Ns/Na = (nsws)/(nawa)=(0.5/0.8691)/(0.89920.8885)=0.5439 (11)
Nl/Na = (nlwl)/(nawa) =(1/30.9268)/ (0.89920.8885)=0.3867 (12)
From equation (9), the road class influence coefficient (K1) can be computed as:
K1=52.04%+0.533912.08%+0.386735.88%=0.7249 (13)
To bikeway, K1 is given 1.0.
The Average Frequency Coefficient of Road Usage (K2)
This paper describes the average frequency coefficient of road usage with unbalanced quality of
load-degree of network, which means if distribution and arrangement of road is reasonable, its load-
degree will be balanced, and so is the average road usage. But the traffic volume of Zhuzhou has almost
centralized in arterial roads like Xinhua and Honggang Road (east-west orientation), Jianshe, Hongqi,
Renming and Lusong Road (south-north orientation). According to the data of 1990,the volume of
south-north orientation is obviously larger than that of east-west orientation. Let the load-degree (V/C)
of arterial i be xi, the average x =xi/n, and its difference S ( ( x1 x ) 2 ) /( n 1) . Substituted
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with the data given (Li,1990), S/ x =0.515. The result reflects the unbalance of frequency of used road.
So K2=1-S/ x =1-0.515=0.485.K2 stands for the reasonability of distribution and arrangement of road
network and unbalanced quality of volume distribution.
The Lateral Disturb Coefficient K3
Market is the most important factor that results in road occupied. The whole Zhuzhou has 17 markets,
which occupied 23076 m2 of walkway and 9719 m2 of motorway. They also occupied 4681 m of road,
while total length of road of Zhuzhou in 1989 is 89287 m. So K3=1-4681/89287=0.9476
The Effective Operation Area (A) of Road Facilities
From: Ai=SinKi1Ki1Ki2Ki3, (i=1 means vehicles, and i=2 means bikes) ,we get
A1=206584348.42%0.724480.4850.9476=333064 (m2)
A2=2065843*30.945%*1.0*0.485*0.9476=293836 (m2)
The Modified Effective Area of Road Facilities of Zhuzhou A*
It is essential to define the density of road network correctly to modify A. Ten large Chinese citys
relative data have been shown as table 2. The writer thinks that the density of road network is decided
by the number of vehicles and bikes possessed. Provided a duality linear regression formula with latter
two independent variables namely x1and x2 and the density of road network variable namely y, and
y=a+b1x1+b2x2. A duality linear regression formula (the standard density function) can be resulted as:
y=5.8864347+0.008564671x1-0.0060753964x2 (2-13)
The plural relative coefficient of formula above R=0.90642587, residual standard differentce
S=0.7336519. Data of Zhuzhou in 1990 shows that there are 9625 vehicles possessed. And
x1=9625/89.3=101.79, while x2=786.0694. So the standard road density of Zhuzhou is computed
as:D0=5.886435+0.00856467107.79-0.006753786.069=2.034016 (km/km2). The actual road density
of Zhuzhou (D) is 1.83 km/km2. And its modified coefficient is computed as:
Therefore: A1 =A1KD =3330640.899705=299659.35(m2); A2*=A2=293836 (m2).
* 1

Table 2 Chinese Ten Large Cities Roadnet Density(1985)

Beijing Shanhai Tianjin Shenyang Wuhan Guangzhou Harbin Chongchin Nanjing Xian Average
Road net
Density 6.93 5.62 3.94 5.95 6.91 2.45 4.56 3.52 5.60 3.52 4.90
Density 56.32 84.51 75.24 45.37 19.30 19.30 53.67 112.10 61.26 79.44 79.82
(Bikes/ 183.90 240.78 392.10 179.32 634.65 634.65 113 15.80 98.04 190.0 195.07

Effective Operation Time of Road Network of Zhuzhou

The intersection influence coefficient of effective time during peak hours can be measured in two
Saturation Flow Rate Modify Coefficient
This method computes modified coefficient with the usage of intersection as:
K4=fwfHVfgfafRTfLTfn; Where: fw = lane width modified coefficient;
fHV = modified coefficient of heavy vehicles in traffic flow;
fg = grade modified coefficient of entrance lane;
fa = region type modified coefficient;fRT = right-turn vehicles modify coefficient;
fLT = left-turn vehicles modify coefficient;fn = modified coefficient of disturb on motor of bike.
Take the intersection of Jianshe Road and Chezhan Road for example. It is an important one of arterial
road and subarterial road. Its traffic flow during peak-hour is showed as table 3.
Table 3 The Flow of Jianshe Road and Chezhan Road Intersection
east entrance south entrance west entrance north entrance
left straigh right subtotal left straight right subtotal left straigh right subtotal left straight right subtotal
t t
Motor 67 63 234 364 0 663 145 808 33 167 52 252 219 874 29 1122
Bike 114 117 383 614 0 721 379 1100 78 213 256 547 256 737 63 1056
A Study on the Macro Capacity Model of Urban Road Network and Its Application 5/8

Pedestrian 7700 360 1400 825

According to the relative Tables in Li(1990), Xu(1992), and HCM (1984), the modified coefficient of
north entrance in table 3 was as follows:fw=0.81, fHV=0.93, fg=1.00, fa=0.9, fRT=0.98, fLT=0.864. At last,
fn was computed in two instances:
1) Bikes and motors used one lane, and the former occupied part of capacity
2) Conflict happened among bikes, pedestrians and turning.motors fn=1.0, for there are not mixed traffic
volume. This resulted :K4n=0.810.931.000.900.980.8641.00=0.574.
And the other three entrances K4 was 0.598, 0.5029, 0.661, respectively. Accept the average of them:
K4=0.584. The other type is intersections without signals, which mainly consideration of the impedance
factor of minor direction and related to the load degree (in %) arousing block flow, seeing fig 1.
Impedance Factor, p

Accepted Capacity, %

Fig 1 The Relationship between the Impedance Factor and Traffic Congestion

Take T-shape intersection without signals of Jianshe Road and Park Road for example: there are
178pcu/h vehicles left turn on Jianshe Road (main stream), speeding at average of 31km/h; and
613pcu/h vehicles left turn on Park Road, with four-lane. Further more, bikes influence must be taken
into consideration, with converted coefficient of 0.2. So the number of main roads left-turn vehicles
converted is 178+3340.2=245pcu, while that of minor roads is 613+2750.2=668puc. The critical
intermission is 5.26s given by the relative tables in HCM(1984), while the capacity of main roads left-
turn is 600pcu/h. The load degreeV/C=244/600=0.4083, and the impedance factor is 0.67 by checking
up Fig.1. So K4=(0.67+1.00)/2=0.83 The cross intersections can be analogized like this. When it was
used in roundabout intersections, the exit flow is regarded as the main one, while enter one the minor.
After calculated all main intersections, their K4 are between 0.5 and 0.93, and the average one is 0.754.
Calculating K4 of Intersection with Average Delay
Its unreasonable to assume that there is not any impedance on main stream of no-signal
intersections. This paper suggests a simple method to calculate K 4. Delay is a crucial indicator of
intersection, almost relating with all factors of intersection. Vehicles delay is caused by the factors of
geometry condition, signal time assignment, linkage response, mixed traffic, etc. Operation efficiency of
intersections was showed in table 4. Take the Jianshe-Chezhan Roads intersection for example, its
average delay is 24s, and
Table 4 The Relationship Between Average Delay and Service Level of
Service level Average delay(s/v) K4 computed in the method of
saturation flow ratio
A <10 0.9
B 10~15 0.8
C 15~20 0.7
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D 20~30 0.6
E >30 0.5
K4=0.6, which is closely to the K 4=0.5840 computed in the method of saturation flow ratio modified
coefficient. The average converted coefficient (K4) of all intersections in Zhuzhou is 0.7310 with this
method. Because of the difference of time-period peak-hour appears, the time-period that has the most
frequency of appearance was chosen as the standard peak-hour period. Generally, its between 8:45 and
9:45am, and its effective operation time T=600.7310=43.86(min).

The Analyses on Space-Time Usage of Unit Traffic Body of

Zhuzhou during Peak-Hour
Vehicles Space-Time Usage
Provided car as standard type. Its static width is 1.8m, while its dynamic width is 1.8+20.25 =2.3m.
The average speed given is 30km/h; then its minimum safety portrait space headway is computed as:
And the average dynamic space usage of vehicle av=2.323.39=53.797 (m2). The survey shows that
average trips time of vehicle in Zhuzhou is 25.8 min/t, and average daily trips nv=1.14(times).
Bikes Space-Time Usage
The static width of bike is 0.6m, and dynamic one is 0.6+20.25m. Its minimum safety portrait space
headway is 7.26m, so its dynamic area ab=(0.6+20.25)7.26=7.986(m2). The survey shows that
average traveling time of bike of Zhuzhou is 25.8 min/t, and average daily trips is 1.48(times).
The Modified Space-Time Usage Coefficient
1) The modified flow ratio during peak-hour. Survey provides: K5n=19.7%, K5v=18.9%;
2) The unbalanced time coefficient during peak-hour is 1.2;
3) Vehicle types modified coefficient K7. Whole Zhuzhou have 13341 vehicles in 1989, which
corresponds to 20205pcu standard cars. So K7v=20205/13341=1.5145, while K7b=1.0;
4) Peak-hour modified coefficient. The average peak-hour coefficient K8=0.9998.
The Calculation of Macro Road Capacity of Zhuzhou
Table 5 shows the result of calculation.

Table 5 The Calculation Results

Total areas of road network , S(m ) 2065843 2065843
Proportion of motor v.s. bike way, 48.42 30.95
Road class modified coefficient, K1 0.7249 1
Average usage frequency of road , K2 0.485 0.485
Lateral disturb coefficient , K3 0.9476 0.9476
Net Road areas Sn (m ) 1000309 639348
Effective areas of road facilities, Ai (m2) 333064 293836
Modified coefficient of Ai ,KD 0.8998 1
The modified effective areas of road facilities, Ai*(m2) 299659 293836
The integrated converted coefficient of intersections, K4 0.731 0.731
The effective operation time during peak-hour, T(min) 43.86 43.86
Average dynamic areas of unit traffic body , a(m2) 53.797 7.986
Average time usage of unit traffic body (min/t) 25.8 17.68
A Study on the Macro Capacity Model of Urban Road Network and Its Application 7/8

Average daily travels of unit traffic body (t/v) 1.14 1.48

Flow ratio during peak-hour , K5 0.189 0.197
Unbalanced time coefficient during peak-hour, K6 1.2 1.2
Vehicle type modified coefficient, K7 1.5145 1
Peak-hour factor, K8 0.9998 0.9998
Average space-time usage of unit traffic body during peak-hour, 543.926 49.4092

Space-time capacity of network during peak-hour, C(m2.min) 13143044 12887647

Macro capacity of road network, N(standard car) 24163 260835
Actual vehicles possessed (standard-car) 20205 262191
Load degree of road network (v/c, %) 83.62 100.52
The fact can be found from table 5 that the bike traffic is in over saturation state, especially in peak-
hour. The vehicle traffic is near saturation, where the through traffic hasnt included. There are six main
exits and entrances as table 6.
This table shows that the net increase of traffic during peak-hour is 170 vehicles. If this number is
added, the load degree is 84.32%, closer to saturation. As mainly traffic mean of dwellers, bike traffic is
in over saturation. And there arent special bikeway system and independent bikeway. There is serious
mixed traffic in most road, which makes the vehicle traffic jam worse. Further more, there are many
factors resulting in traffic difficult like complex composition, narrow pavement, lower standard,
unreasonable plane layout of intersection and so on. So transportation planning, construction and
management must accord to the macro capacity.

Table 6 The Peak-Hour Flow of Exits and Entrances of Zhuzhou

Exit and entrance In flow Out flow
zhuyi road 479 273
zhuchang road 149 164
zhulu road 185 211
zhuli road 201 190
Zhuliu road 108 107
zhuheng road 88 95
Total 1210 1040

This paper tries to study macro capacity of road network primarily. The calculation example
proved that the method suggested in the paper is feasible. It can be used to calculate and analyze the
total capacity of road network in the macro view, and provide a mathematics tool for transportation
planning and assessment. Its sure that the method is cursory, and needs amending a lot. Combined with
the item of science commission of Hunan province, the writer will calculate the macro capacity of road
networks of Changsha and Zhuzhou carefully. A more reasonable method will be suggested to improve
the theory of space-time usage through calculating the standard density of road classes and macro
capacity of jam and unjam regions, and so on.

A Study on the Macro Capacity Model of Urban Road Network and Its Application 8/8

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