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Traffic Engineering

Traffic Stream parameters

Traffic stream parameters includes; volume, rate of flow, speed and density.

Volume and Rate of Flow

Volume: number of vehicle that passing a given point or section of a given lane or
direction of highway during specified time interval (day or hour).

Volume unit vehicle/day (vpd) or vehicle/hour (vph)

Rate of Flow: is the equivalent hourly rate at which vehicles pass a point on a highway
lane during a time period less than 1 hour.

Daily Volume: daily volume are frequently used as the basis for;

1- Highway planning
2- Establishment of traffic volume trends
3- Computation of crash rate
4- Development of improvement and maintenance programs
5- Evaluation of the economic feasibility of highway projects

Four daily volume parameters are widely used:

1-Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT): is the average 24-hr traffic volume
at a given location over a full 365-day year.


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Traffic Engineering

2- Average Annual Weekday Traffic (AAWT): is the average 24-hr traffic

volume occurring on weekdays over a full year.


*260 is the number of weekday in the year.

*This volume (AAWT) is of particular importance since weekend traffic usually low.

3- Average Daily Traffic (ADT): is an average 24-hr volume at a given location

for some period of time less than a year, but more than one day.


*Period maybe (two month, a season, a month, a week, etc.).

4- Average Weekday Traffic (AWT): is an average 24-hr traffic volume

occurring on weekdays for some period less than one year.


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Traffic Engineering

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Traffic Engineering

Hourly Volumes
Hourly volume are designed to reflect the variation of traffic over the different time
period of a day. They are also used to identify single hour or period of highest volume
in a day occurring during the morning and evening commute that is rush hour.

Peak hour: The single hour of the day that has the highest hourly volume is referred
to as the peak hour. Traffic volume within this hour is of greatest interest to traffic
engineers in design or operational analysis.
Design hour volume (DHV): A volume determined for use in design representing
the traffic that is expected to use the highway in any designated year. It is an hourly
volume, usually the 30th highest hourly volume expected during the design year.


Where: DHV= design hour volume ( veh/hour) or (vph)

K = proportional of daily traffic occurs during the peak hourly volume (%)


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Traffic Engineering

Directional Design hourly volume (DDHV): the traffic volume may be greater
in one direction than other, therefor the directional is an important factor in highway
type which may be defined as the hourly traffic volume in each direction of travel.


DDHV (vph/direction)
D = [(volume of one direction/ volume of two direction) 100]

Type of highway K factor D factor

Rural highway 0.15-0.25 0.65-0.8
Urban highway 0.07-0.12 0.5-0.6

Example (1): a rural highway has AADT of (30000 vpd). Find the directional design
hourly volume.


DDHV = 0.15300000.7

DDHV = 3150 vph/dir.

*vpd (vehicle / day)

*vph (vehicle / hour)
*vph/dir (vehicle / hour / direction)

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Traffic Engineering

Sub-Hourly Volume

Peak Hour Factor (PHF) and Rate of Flow

Rate of Flow: the volume observed for a period of less than one hour (15 min or 5

The relationship between hourly volume and the maximum rate of flow within the hour
is defined by the Peak Hour Factor (PHF).

hourly volume
PHF = =
maximum rate of flow 4 15

Where: V = hourly volume

V15 = maximum 15-minute volume within the hour.

For example:
Time interval Volume for time interval (veh)
5:00-5:15 PM 1000
5:15-5:30PM 1100
5:30-5:45 PM 1200 Max. 15-min
5:45-6:00 PM 900
5:00-6:00 PM = 4200

PHF = =

PHF = 0.87

*Peak flow rate is (4 max. 15-min).

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Traffic Engineering

Passenger Car Units

The overall effect on traffic operations by any vehicle can be expressed in terms of the
effect of the basic unit- usually a passenger car. Equivalency between the passenger car
unit (PCU) and other vehicles grouped in classes is determined by conversion factors
expressing the relative effect of different types of vehicles on traffic flow.

The passenger car unit equivalents for heavy vehicles under different topographic
conditions are shown in table below:

Type of terrain
Level (flat) Rolling Mountain
ET (heavy veh.) 1.5 2.5 4.5

For example: convert from heavy vehicle to passenger car unit (PCU) if the volume is
(3000 vph) and percent of truck (10%), mountain terrain.

Volume equivalent to passenger car = 3000 (0.91+0.14.5)

= 4050 pcph

*pcph = passenger car per hour

Traffic volume forecast (Traffic Projection Factor TPF)

The design of new highways or improvements to existing highways should not be based
on current traffic volumes, but on the future traffic expected to use the facilities.

TPF = (1+r) n+x

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Traffic Engineering


TPF = traffic projection factor

r = annual growth rate of traffic (0-10%)

x = construction period in years (2-4)

n = design life in years (20-50)

Future volume = current volume (AADT or ADT) TPF

Example (2): design data is required for the improvement of two-way highway with
central reverse. The current traffic is (3000 veh/day) in both directions. The improved
road with design life of 20 year, annual growth rate of traffic is (8%), find the future
volume, construction period is 5 year.


TPF = (1+r) n+x

TPF = (1+0.08) 20+5

TPF = 6.8

Future volume = current volume TPF

Future volume = 3000 6.8

Future volume = 20400 veh/day

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Traffic Engineering

Flow chart to design highway traffic volume

Current ADT or AADT


Future Volume

k = 0.12 urban
0.15 Rural

Design hourly volume DHV

D (0.5-0.9)

Directional Design Hourly Volume


capacity ( design service

flow rate

The required number of lanes

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Traffic Engineering

Example (3): a multi-lane minor arterial highway is being designed through a rolling
rural area. The current daily volume is (7100 vpd) with 20% truck, peak hour factor
90% and directional distribution factor is 60%. How many lane required for this
highway. TPF= 3.6, design service flow rate for one lane = 1080 pcphpl.


Future volume = current TPF

= 71003.6 = 25560 vpd

DHV = 0.15 future volume

= 0.15 25560 = 3834 vph

Peak flow rate = = = 4260 vph

Volume equivalent to passenger car (pcph) = 4260 (0.2 2.5 + 0.8 1)

= 5538 pcph

DDHV = 5538 D

= 5538 0.6 = 3323 pcph / one direction

No. of lanes in one direction = = 3.076 lanes

Let no. of lane = 4 lanes

No. of lanes in both direction = 42= 8 lanes

*pcphpl = (passenger car per hour per lane)

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