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Measuring Urban Traffic Congestion – A Review

Author(s): Amudapuram Mohan Rao | Kalaga Ramachandra Rao

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

Volume: 2;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 286;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: traffi’c congestion | data collection methods | congestion measurement

Traffic’ congestion has been one of major issues that most metropolises are facing. It is believed that identification of congestion is the first step for selecting appropriate mitigation measures. Congestion - both in perception and in reality - impacts the movement of people. Traffic congestion wastes time, energy and causes pollution. There are broadly two factors, which effect the congestion; (a) micro-level factors (b) macro-level factors that relate to overall demand for road use. Congestion is ‘triggered’ at the ‘micro’ level (e.g. on the road), and ‘driven’ at the ‘macro’ level. The micro level factors are, for example, many people want to move at the same time, too many vehicles for limited road space. On the other side, macro level factors are e.g. land-use patžterns, car ownership trends, regional economic dynamics, etc. This paper gives an overview and presents the possible ways to identify and measure metrics for urban arterial congestion. A systematic review is carried out, based on measurement metrics such as speed, travel time/delay and volume and level of service. The review covers distinct aspects like definition; measurement criteria followed by different countries/organizations. The strengths and weaknesses of these measures are discussed. Further, a short critique of measurement criteria is presented.
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