Effect of the car-following combinations on the instability of heterogeneous traffic flow

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Heterogeneous traffic flow contains the mixed operation of the different vehicle classes such as cars, trucks and buses. Previous study has indicated that the overall stability of the heterogeneous traffic flow is governed by a weighted mean of stability parameters corresponding to each vehicle class and is not affected by the order in which a vehicle class is put into the system, for example either car or truck. However, it has been recently reported that the effect of mixed composition on traffic flow dynamics is also determined by the car-following vehicle type, that is either car following a car or car following a truck. This paper aims at investigating analytically how different car-following combinations (i.e. the following type) influence the overall stability of heterogeneous traffic flow dynamics. More specifically, we will consider the four types of car-following behaviour such as car-car, car-truck, truck-car, and truck-truck. The effect of such car-following types on the overall linear stability condition of the heterogeneous traffic flow will be studied using a generalised multi-class car-following model in which the optimal speed function is not only dependent on the the space headway between two consecutive vehicles as in previous study of Mason and Woods [1997. "Car-following Model of Multispecies Systems of Road Traffic." Physical Review E: 2203-2214] but also on the and the relative speed between those two consecutive vehicles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-58
Number of pages15
JournalTransportmetrica B: Transport Dynamics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • car-following combinations
  • heterogeneous traffic flow
  • linear method
  • traffic instabilities

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