On the distribution of urban road space for multimodal congested networks

Nan Zheng, Nikolas Geroliminis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

110 Citations (Scopus)


Transport systems in real cities are complex with many modes of transport sharing and competing for limited road space. This work intends to understand how space distributions for modes and interactions among modes affect network traffic performance. While the connection between performance of transport systems and general land allocation is the subject of extensive research, space allocation for interacting modes of transport is an open research question. Quantifying the impact of road space distribution on the performance of a congested multimodal transport system with a dynamic aggregated model remains a challenge. In this paper, a multimodal macroscopic fundamental diagram (MFD) is developed to represent the traffic dynamics of a multimodal transport system. Optimization is performed with the objective of minimizing the total passenger hours traveled (PHT) to serve the total demand by redistributing road space among modes. Pricing strategies are also investigated to provide a higher demand shift to more efficient modes. We find by an application to a bi-modal two-region city that (i) the proposed model captures the operational characteristics of each mode, and (ii) optimal dynamic space distribution strategies can be developed. In practice, the approach can serve as a physical dynamic model to inform space distribution strategies for policy makers with different goals of mobility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-341
Number of pages16
JournalTransportation Research Part B: Methodological
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Macroscopic fundamental diagram
  • Multi-modal
  • Optimization
  • Public transport
  • Space allocation
  • Traffic flow

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