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# Speed & Highway Capacity in Geometric Design

## • Traffic flow parameters & geometric design

- Flow
- Speed:

design speed
operating speed
relationship among speeds
Speed in geometric design

## • Highway Capacity & Geometric Design

Lecture 5
Traffic flow parameters & geometric design

Traffic flow – volume & flow rate that quantify traffic demand

Volume: the total number of vehicles that pass over a given point or section
of a lane or a roadway during a given period of time (annual, monthly, weekly
daily, or hourly).

Flow rate: The equivalent hourly rate at which vehicles pass over a given point
Of lane or roadway during a given interval less than 1 hour, usually 15 min.

## Distinction between volume & flow rate: Volume - # of vehicles;

Flow rate - # of vehicles/hr. (/min, /sec);
Cont’d

## Subhourly flow fluctuation &

Peak Hour Factor (PHF)
Subhourly variation: present short-
term flow fluctuation;

## For most practical purposes, 15

minutes is considered to be the
minimum period of time over which
traffic conditions are statistically
stable.

## PHF (Peak Hour Factor): defines the

relationship between the hourly
volume and the maximum rate of
flow within the hour.

PHF = Vhr./(Vmax15min * 4)
Cont’d

## e.g. First 15 min count = 1000 vehicles (7:00 – 7:15)

Second 15 min count = 1200 vehicles (7:15-7:30)
Third 15 min count = 900 vehicles (7:30-7:45)
Fourth 15 min count = 1100 vehicles (7:45-8:00)

## PHF is an important parameter both in highway design and

performance evaluation
Cont’d

1200

PHF = 0.8

Cont’d

## Design speed: selected speed used for highway geometric design.

• The assumed design speed should be logical for the topography, adjacent
land use, and highway functional classification;
• All of the pertinent features of the highway should be related to the design
speed to obtain a balanced design;
• The design speed chosen should be consistent with the speed a driver is
likely to expect;
• The speed selected for design should fit the travel desires and habits of
nearly all drivers, the design speed chosen should be a high-percentile value..
nearly all inclusive…whenever is feasible.
Cont’d

Operating speed- is a general term typically used to describe the actual speed
of a group of vehicles over a certain section of roadway.

Definition by GREEN BOOK: the speed at which drivers are observed operating
Their vehicles during free flow conditions. The 85th percentile of observed
Speeds s the most frequently used measure of the operating speed associated
with a particular location or geometric feature.

Cont’d

## 85th percentile speed vs. posted speed

Cont’d

The expected value of Q85 and the posted speed limit has the following linear
relationship:

Cont’d

## 85th percentile speed vs. signal density

Cont’d
Operating speed vs. geometric design

e.g.

Cont’d

Cont’d

Cont’d

Cont’d

## 85th percentile speed vs. total pavement width

Highway Capacity & LOS

LOS B LOS C
LOS A
Highway Capacity & LOS (cont’d)

## LOS F describes breakdowns in vehicular flow. Such conditions generally exist

within queues forming behind breakdown points.

## LOS D LOS E LOS F

Highway Capacity & LOS (cont’d)

## LOS Flow Range Speed range Density range

Veh/ln/hr. mph Veh/mile

## F Unstable <30 >67

Highway Capacity & LOS (cont’d)