Learning Objectives

• To define basic concepts relating to highway
capacity analysis
• To apply capacity and LOS analysis for
freeways
(Chapter 7.1 ~ 7.3; HCM Ch23)
Dr. Rakesh Kumar, Assistant Professor, SVNIT

Transportation Facilities
• Uninterrupted-flow facilities
– no fixed elements external to the traffic stream
to interrupt flow
– Freeways, multilane hwy, two-lane hwy

• Interrupted-flow facilities
– have controlled and uncontrolled access points
that can interrupt flow
– (un) signalized intersections, urban streets

• Performance?

Capacity Analysis
• Procedures for estimating the trafficcarrying ability of segments or points of
a facility over a range of defined
operational conditions
• Purposes
– Assessing facility performance
– Planning and designing improved facilities

Capacity
maximum hourly rate at which persons or
vehicles reasonably can be expected to traverse a
point or a uniform section of a lane or roadway
during a given time period under prevailing
roadway, traffic, and control conditions
(HCM 2000)

Capacity
• “maximum hourly rate at which persons or
vehicles reasonably can be expected to
traverse a point or a uniform section of a lane
or roadway during a given time period under
prevailing roadway, traffic, and control
conditions” (HCM 2000)
• Base conditions



good weather
good pavement conditions
users familiar with the facility
no impediments to traffic flow

Level of Service (LOS)
• A qualitative measure describing
operational conditions in a traffic stream
and their perception by Users/motorists
• Range – A (best) through F (worst)
• Determined by measure of effectiveness
(MOE) such as speed and travel time,
freedom to maneuver, traffic interruptions,
and comfort and convenience

Level of Service (freeways)

LOS A

LOS B

LOS C

LOS D

LOS E

LOS F

Service Flow Rates
• Maximum flow rate attainable at
each level of service (except for LOS
F) for a given facility
• Define the flow boundaries between
levels of service
• Hourly service flow rate is defined as
four times the peak 15-min volume

Capacity Analysis for
Freeways
• Only for “basic freeway segments”
– Where there are no interruptions to the
flow of traffic
– Outside the area of influence of freeway
weaving areas and freeway ramp
junctions

Capacity Analysis for
Freeways
• Base (ideal) conditions







Minimum lane widths of 12 ft
Minimum right-shoulder lateral clearance of 6 ft
Minimum median lateral clearance of 2 ft
100% passenger cars
Five or more lanes for one direction
Interchange spacing at 2 mi or greater
Level terrain (grades no greater than 2%)
Drivers primarily regulars

LOS for Freeways
• Defined by density (k)
– A: k≤ 11 (Smin =480 ft), free flow
– B: k≤ 18 (Smin =290 ft), reasonably free flow
– C: k≤ 26 (Smin =200 ft), nearly free flow speed;
maneuvers limited; reduced comfort
– D: k≤ 35 (Smin =150 ft), reduced speeds; limited
freedom to maneuver; potential for queuing
– E: k≤ 45 (Smin =120 ft), at capacity; unstable flow
– F: extensive queuing behind breakdown pts

LOS Criteria

Volume-to-capacity
ratio

Table 7-1, p.229

Speed-flow Curves and LOS for
Basic Freeway Segments

K = q/v

Capacity

Fig 7-3, p.230

Freeway Capacity Analysis
• Determine flow rate
• Determine free flow speed
• Determine level of service

Determining Flow Rate
• Adjusting hourly volumes or estimates, typically
reported in veh/h, to arrive at an equivalent
passenger-car flow rate in passenger cars per hour
(pc/h)

Determining Flow Rate
• Peak Hour Factor (PHF)
– Accounting for variation in traffic flow
within an hour
– On freeways, typically ranging from 0.80
(rural/off-peak) to 0.95 (urban)
– If possible, field data should be used

Determining Flow Rate
• Heavy Vehicle Adjustment Factor
– Accounting for the presence of heavy
vehicles (trucks, buses, RVs)

Passenger-Car Equivalents

• Values of ET and ER selected for one of
the following conditions:
– Extended freeway segments
– Specific grades
– Downgrades

Passenger-Car Equivalents
Extended freeway segments
no one grade of 3% or greater is longer than
0.25 mi or no one grade of less than 3% is
longer than 0.5 mi

Level: includes short grades of no more than 2%, HV operate at the
same speed as PC
Rolling: HV substantially slower than PC but do not operate at crawl
speeds for significant length of time
Mountainous: HV operate at crawl speeds for significant length of time

Passenger-Car Equivalents
Specific Grades
grade of more than 0.5 mi for grades less than
3% or grade of more than 0.25 mi for grades of
3% or more

Table 7-3, p.232

Passenger-Car Equivalents
Specific Grades

Table 7-4, p.233

Passenger-Car Equivalents
Downgrades
when trucks must often use low gears to avoid
gaining too much speed and running out of
control

Table 7-5, p.233

Determining Flow Rate
• Driver Population Factor
– Accounting for the presence of unfamiliar
users
– Range from 0.85 to 1.00
– Use 1.00 unless evidence suggests
otherwise

Freeway Capacity Analysis
• Determine flow rate
• Determine free flow speed
• Determine level of service

Determining FFS
• FFS: mean speed of passenger cars
measured during low to moderate flows
• Two methods:
– Field measurement
• Weekday off-peak hours
• No adjustment needed

– Estimated based on physical characteristics of
the freeway segment

Estimating FFS

Estimating FFS
• Adjustment for lane width

Estimating FFS
• Adjustment for lateral clearance

Estimating FFS
• Adjustment for number of lanes

Estimating FFS
• Adjustment for interchange density

Freeway Capacity Analysis
• Determine flow rate
• Determine free flow speed
• Determine level of service

Determining LOS
• Based on the equivalent passenger-car
flow rate (Vp) and adjusted free-flow speed
(S)
• Step 1

Determining LOS
• Step 2

Determining LOS
• Step 3
Compare calculated density with LOS Criteria for
Basic Freeway Segments (Table 7-1 of K&L or
Exhibit 23-2 of HCM 2000)

Practice Problem








BFFS = 70 mph (LOS A or B)
N = 3, LC = 3ft, Lane Width = 11ft
1 interchange/mi
V = 3080 veh/hr (1-dir)
PHF = 0.88
154 Tr & Buses
Level terrain
All commuters
Determine density (D) and LOS

Housekeeping…
• Exam I grades available; see
Ghazan for question sheets
• Entire Chapter 7 (K&L) and HCM Ch
23
• Homework Assignment #4 due at
1:20pm next Wed, Oct 24

Highway Capacity (II)

Oct 29, 2009

Learning Objectives
• To perform capacity analysis for multilane
highways
• To perform capacity analysis for two-lane
highways
• To distinguish differences in analysis methods
for freeway/multilane highway/two-lane
highway
(Chapter 7; HCM Ch23)

Practice Problem
• BFFS = 70 mph (LOS A or
B)
• N = 3, LC = 3ft, LW =
11ft
• 1 interchange/mi
• V = 3080 veh/hr (1-dir)
• PHF = 0.88




154 Tr & Buses
Level terrain
All commuters
Determine density (D)
and LOS

Freeway Analysis
Applications
• Operational analysis
– Given geometric and traffic conditions, estimate
speed, density, and LOS

• Design
– Given forecasted demand volume and desired
LOS, determine number of lanes needed

• Planning
– Given forecasted AADT (annual average daily
traffic), HV%, and terrain type, estimate
operational and design parameters

Freeway Analysis
Applications
• Planning (cont.)
– First step: convert AADT to DDHV
(directional design hour volume)

DDHV( veh / hr ) = AADT( veh / day ) ⋅ K ⋅ D
K: proportion of AADT occurring in peak hour
0.08-0.09 (urban), 0.15-0.20 (rural)
D: proportion of peak hour traffic in the heavier
direction
0.52 (urban circumferential fwy),
0.55 (urban radial fwy), 0.75 (rural fwy)

Multilane Highways
• 4 to 6 lanes
• Often with physical medians or twoway left-turn lanes
• Posted speed limit of of 40~55mph
• Flow not as efficient as freeways

Multilane Highways

Multilane Highway Analysis
• Minor differences in base conditions
– Minimum lane widths of 12 ft
– Objects no closer than 6 ft from the edge of the traveled pavement
(at the roadside or median)
– No direct access points
– Divided highway
– FFS of 60mph pr more
– 100% passenger cars
– Drivers primarily regulars

• Similar to freeways
– Determine flow rate
– Determine free flow speed
– Determine level of service

defined by density

Determining Flow Rate
• Same as freeway analysis

Determining FFS
• Two methods:
– Direct measurement
• Low-volume
conditions (below
1400 pc/h/ln)
• No adjustment
needed

– Use a baseline and
adjust it
• Use BFFS of 60 mph
or estimate based on
the 85th percentile
speed

FFS = BFFS − f LW − f LC − f M − f A
fLW =adjustment for lane width
(mph)
fLC =adjustment for rightshoulder lateral clearance
(mph)
fM=adjustment for median type
(mph)
fA=adjustment for access
points (mph)

Lane Width Adjustment
(fLW )
FFS = BFFS − f LW − f LC − f M − f A

• Base condition (fLW = 0)
– Average width of 12 ft. or wider across all
lanes

Same as Freeway LOS

Table 7-11

From Highway Capacity Manual, 2000

Lateral Clearance
Adjustment (fLC )

FFS = BFFS − f LW − f LC − f M − f A

Base condition (fLC = 0)

12 ft or greater TLC

Table 7-12

TLC = LC R + LC L

From Highway Capacity Manual, 2000

Multilane Highway LOS

Median Adjustment (fM)
FFS = BFFS − f LW − f LC − f M − f A

• Base condition (fM = 0)
– Divided highway

Table 7-13

From Highway Capacity Manual, 2000

Multilane Highway LOS

Access-Point Density
Adjustment (fA)

FFS = BFFS − f LW − f LC − f M − f A
• Base condition (fA = 0)
– 0 access points per mile
– For NAPM ≤ 40: fA = 0.25 × #access point/mi
– For NAPM > 40: fA = 10

• Default density give by Table 7-15

Table 7-14

From Highway Capacity Manual, 2000

Determining LOS
• Same procedure as for
freeways
• Use vp and FFS curve to
find average passenger
car speed (S)
• Calculate density
• Compare calculated
density with LOS Criteria
for Basic Freeway
Segments (Table 7-10) or
speed-flow curve (figure 75)

Figure 7-5

Multilane Highway LOS

Table 7-10

From Highway Capacity Manual, 2000

LOS Criteria for Multilane
Highways

Two-lane Highways

Two-lane Highways
• Undivided two-lane, two-way highways
• Class I
– consistent high-speed operations and
infrequent passing delays
– Long-distance trips
– LOS defined by % time-spent-following and
avg. travel speed

• Class II
– Short trips; accessibility
– LOS defined by % time-spent-following only

Two-lane Highway Analysis
• Base conditions






Minimum lane widths of 12 ft
Shoulders at least 6 ft
No ‘No Passing Zones’ on the highway
No traffic control or turning vehicles
Level terrain
100% passenger cars
50/50 split

• Either as two-way segments with both
directions combined or as directional
segments with each direct considered
separately

Two-way Segment Analysis
• Determine flow rate (iterative
procedure)
V
vp =

PHP ⋅ f G ⋅ f HV

fHV = Adjustment for heavy vehicle
Same equation, different tables (7-27, 728)

fG= Adjustment for grade
Table 7-25 for speed estimation, 7-26
for % time-spent-following estimation

Two-way Segment Analysis
• Determine free-flow speed: two methods
– Direct measurement
FFS = S FM + 0.00776

Vf
f HV

– Use a baseline and adjust it
FFS = BFFS − f LS − f A

Two-way Segment Analysis
• Determine average travel speed
ATS = FFS + 0.00776 ⋅ v p − f np
fnp = Adjustment for % of no-passing zones

• Determine PTSF
PTSF = BPTSF + f d / np A

(

BPTSF = 100 1 − e

0.000879 v p

)

fd/np = Adjustment for directional distribution and
% of no-passing zones

Two-way Segment Analysis
• Determine LOS

Two-way Segment Analysis
• Determine LOS

Two-way Segment Analysis
• Determine LOS

Directional Segment
Analysis
• Section 5.3 in chapter 7

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