Quantifying the number of lane changes in traffic

V. L. Knoop, S. P. Hoogendoorn, Y. Shiomi, C. Buisson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Lane changes are an important aspect of freeway flow. Most models of lane change are microscopic. Lane change behavior of individual vehicles or drivers is described, and, therefore, models are calibrated microscopically. Macroscopic validation often is restricted to the distribution of vehicles across lanes. To the best of the authors' knowledge, no systematic analysis has been made of the number of lane changes as a function of the operational characteristics of the origin and target lane. This paper fills the gap in lane change literature with an analysis of the number of lane changes as a function of several incentives. On the basis of data availability, two "simple" sites were selected, that is, as close as possible to a straight continuous freeway. Statistical analysis at the selected sites revealed that drivers changed lanes on average once per 2 km driven. Furthermore, an analysis of the number of lane changes (per kilometer per hour) as a function of the density in the origin lane and in the target lane showed that the number of lane changes increased with the density in the origin lane for a fixed density in the target lane. The number of lane changes also increased with the density in the target lane for a fixed density in the origin lane. The underlying mechanism was therefore different from gap-acceptance theory. The analyses presented in this paper can be used to verify qualitatively (microscopic and macroscopic) lane change models and to propose better ones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-41
Number of pages11
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number2278
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes

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