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Empirical Study of Accepted Gap and Lane Change Duration within Arterial Traffic under Recurrent and Non-Recurrent Congestion

Author(s): Saravanan Gurupackiam | Steven Lee Jones Jr.

Journal: International Journal for Traffic and Transport Engineering
ISSN 2217-544X

Volume: 2;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 306;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: driver behavior | gap acceptance | lane changing | recurrent congestion | non-recurrent congestion

This paper investigated variations in accepted gaps and lane change duration on arterial under recurrent and non-recurrent congestion. Descriptive statistics and best-fit distributions were obtained for the two parameters for both traffic conditions. Hypothesis testing using Mann-Whitney U-Test showed that the means of accepted gaps and lane change durations were statistically different between the two types of trafficÂ’ conditions. The study found that during non-recurrent congestion, drivers on an average accepted smaller gaps but took longer lane change durations. Based on the fact that the data were collected for the same flow-rate (70-90 vehicles/minute) in both traffic conditions and based on the literature, the reason for the above findings could be that, drivers get more frustrated during non-recurring congestion that they accept smaller gaps. Drivers visiting the study location for game day (non-recurrent) exhibit different driver behavioral characteristics when compared to regular commuters (recurrent) which could have also contributed to the statistical differences in the lane changing characteristics of two types of congestion. These findings have direct implications on the lane changing parameters used in microscopic traffic simulation and also help transportation planners and managers to understand driver behavior during recurrent and non-recurrent congestion and better manage the facilities.
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