Investigating the shape of the macroscopic fundamental diagram using simulation data

Yangbeibei Ji, Winnie Daamen, Serge Hoogendoorn, Sascha Hoogendoorn-Lanser, Xiaoyu Qian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


Macroscopic fundamental diagrams (MFDs) exist in large urban networks in which traffic conditions are homogenous. They can be used for estimation of the level of service on road networks, perimeter control, and macroscopic traffic modeling. However, before the MFD concept can be applied, the factors that influence the MFD shape should be identified and their effects investigated. A microscopic simulation model is used to change conditions, that is, to derive MFDs under different conditions and for different types of networks. Results indicate that a relationship indeed exists between production and accumulation for the whole network as well as for parts of the network focused on freeway or urban links. MFD shape is a property not only of the network itself but also of the applied traffic control measures. At the same time, congestion onset and resolution lead to heterogeneous traffic conditions with congestion at specific locations in the network, resulting in loops in congested parts of the MFD. Investigation of the effect of traffic demand on MFD also indicates that rapidly changing traffic demands drastically affect MFD shape.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-48
Number of pages9
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number2161
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes

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