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Traffic Engineering Notes

Peter G. Furth
2008
CIV U556 CIV G!"6
Intro#uction an# Unit $
INTRODUCTION
Te%t& re'e(ant cha)ters of the Highway Capacity Manual *2000+ *,C-+.
T.o other references .e .i'' use in ho/e.or0 are
Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices *-UTC1+. 2atest e#ition *200!3
re(ision $+ is a(ai'a4'e as )#f on the .e4 *see 'in0 on 4'ac04oar#+
Project Development and Design Guide3 the -ass. ,igh.a5 1esign Gui#e3 a'so
a(ai'a4'e on the .e4 *see 'in0 on 4'ac04oar#+.
*Note& for those on6'ine #ocu/ents3 )'ease #on7t )rint e(en a .ho'e cha)ter8 the5 are
enor/ous'5 'ong+.
Traffic as a societal issue.
E(er54o#5 cares a4out traffic8 often a/ong to) 5 )o'itica' an# socia' issues.
Do we want more or less traffic?
9s /otorists3 .e .ant /ore ca)acit53 higher s)ee#3 an# roa#s that are safe for our higher
s)ee# #ri(ing. 9cco//o#ating this #esire has 4een the historic concern of traffic
engineering.
,o.e(er3 as resi#ents3 )e#estrians3 c5c'ists3 chi'#ren3 an# seniors3 .e .ant 'ess traffic3
s'o.er traffic3 an# traffic that7s safer for the )eo)'e .ho aren7t )rotecte# 45 stee' :cages.;
9 ne.er as)ect of the )rofession a##resses these concerns3 an# .i'' occu)5 the 'ast 20<
of the c'ass.
Unexpected Consequences of Mobility drive the profession.
-o4i'it5 is critica' to our =ua'it5 of 'ife *earning an# s)en#ing8 )ursuit of ha))iness+.
,igh.a5 engineers ha(e gi(en us .on#erfu' roa#s )ro(i#ing us /o4i'it5. If no4o#5 use#
the roa# e%ce)t 5ou3 e(er5thing .ou'# 4e >ust fine. ,o.e(er3 'ots of )eo)'e 4esi#es 5ou
nee# /o4i'it53 an# the resu'ting traffic has ha# une%)ecte# conse=uences that re=uire
engineering. For 5ears3 the /ain t.o i/)acts the )rofession .as concerne# .ith .ere&
$. acci#ents
2. congestion
?ften3 the so'ution has 4een .i#er roa#s. -ore recent'53 ho.e(er3 a thir# une%)ecte#
conse=uence has #ri(en the )rofession&
!. re#ucing the .a'0a4i'it5 @ 'i(a4i'it5 of cities
This 'atter issue affects =ua'it5 of 'ife an# )u4'ic hea'th3 an# is the /ain i/)etus for :roa#
#iets; an# :traffic ca'/ing.;
$
Traffic engineers #ea' .ith&
physical roadway issues
traffic flow A /easuring3 /o#e'ing3 )re#icting the =ua'it5 of traffic f'o.3
es)ecia''5 at intersections3 .hich in cities are the 4ott'enec0s that #eter/ine f'o.
=ua'it5
traffic safety
9n e%a/)'e of the interaction of )h5sica' an# f'o. issues& i/)ro(ing -anhattan7s traffic
using one6.a5 street sche/es *$B507s+ rather than roa#.a5 .i#ening. North6 an#
south4oun# traffic in -anhattan /o(es as .e'' no. as it #i# in $B503 in s)ite of a huge
gro.th in traffic3 than0s to one6.a5 a(enues an# signa' )rogression *green .a(es+3
.ithout ha(ing to .i#en the streets.
The /ain #esign issues .e7'' co(er *an# ha(e #esign )ro>ects on+ are&
#esigning traffic signa' )'ans *to o)ti/iCe the =ua'it5 of traffic f'o. at
intersections+.
#esigning traffic ca'/ing an# other neigh4orhoo# traffic /anage/ent sche/es *to
i/)ro(e safet5 an# to re#uce the negati(e i/)act of traffic on ur4an 'ife+
This course .i'' focus on ur4an street traffic. Free.a5 traffic /anage/ent is co(ere# in a
gra#uate c'ass3 Transportation Supply Models. Doa#.a5 #esign is co(ere# in Highway
ngineering.
1. CHANGE INTERVALS FOR SIGNALIZED INTERSECTIONS
Change inter(a's ha(e t.o )arts3 Ee''o. )'us 9''6De#.
1.1. Legal Meaning of Yellow
Fhat #oes 5e''o. /eanG Fhat .ere 5ou taught in #ri(er e#ucationG
1.1.1.Vehicle Code
The Vehic'e Co#e is the 4o#5 of 'a. go(erning #ri(ing. It (aries 45 state. 9 :Unifor/
Vehic'e Co#e; is )ro)ose# for a'' states to a#o)t3 4ut the5 )ic0 @ choose an# so there are
sti'' (ariations 4et.een states.
2a. on 5e''o. in -ass. .as recent'5 change# to agree .ith UVC& :sto) if 5ou safe'5
can.;
1.1.2.MUTCD
The -anua' on Unifor/ Traffic Contro' 1e(ices contains stan#ar#s3 gui#ance3 an#
o)tions regar#ing signs3 signa's3 an# /ar0ings use# to contro' traffic. Uniform! .e .ant
green3 5e''o.3 re# to /ean the sa/e a'' o(er the countr58 'i0e.ise for signs3 /ar0ings3
an# other :traffic contro' #e(ices.;
2
It7s u) to each state to choose to a#o)t -UTC1 as a stan#ar#3 an# to #eci#e ho. =uic0'5
to re)'ace non6co/)'iant #e(ices. -ass. has 'ots of non6co/)'iant #e(ices. There are a'so
e%)eri/enta' #e(ices3 outsi#e -UTC1 4ut a))ro(e# 45 a go(ern/ent 4o#5.
E%a/)'e o(erhea# fro/ -UTC1 on sto) 'ines @ 5ie'# 'ines&
Htan#ar#. Uses :sha'';8 a re=uire/ent.
Gui#ance. Uses :shou'#;8 a reco//en#ation.
?)tion. Uses :/a5;. Ho/ething /ore than neutra'3 4ut 'ess than a
reco//en#ation.
Eou .i'' research .hat the -UTC1 sa5s a4out change inter(a's as )art of ,.0 $. T.o
stan#ar#s it gi(es are&
Ee''o.7s so'e )ur)ose is to in#icate an i/)en#ing change in right6of6.a5
9 5e''o. in#ication sha'' fo''o. e(er5 so'i# green or green arro. in#ication.
1.1.3.A Logical Approach
Fh5 use ! in#ications for a traffic signa'G -otorist choice is 4inar53 go or sto). Green
/eans :go; an# 5e''o. /eans :sto) *un'ess 5ou7re so c'ose to the sto)'ine that 5ou can7t
sto) safe'5+;. The #ecision )oint for sto))ing is not start of re#8 it7s start of 5e''o.. Ho
.h5 not >ust use 2 co'orsG
Htart of re# is for enforcement *se'f6enforce/ent as .e'' as )o'ice enforce/ent+ to
ar4itrate the :if 5ou can; )art of :sto) if 5ou can.; If 5ou en# u) crossing the sto) 'ine
after the start of re#3 then 5ou /a#e the .rong #ecision at the start of 5e''o.& 5ou shou'#
ha(e #eci#e# to sto) then.
Fhi'e .e use ! co'ors3 there are actua''5 I )erio#s in a c5c'e for a gi(en signa'& green3
5e''o.3 a''6re#3 an# then re# *.hi'e other traffic strea/s ha(e green+. Fh5 the e%tra
)erio#3 the a''6re#G Jecause cars can *'ega''53 in /ost states+ enter the intersection #uring
the 5e''o. )erio#3 a'' the .a5 unti' start of re#. 9''6re# is the clearance interval so cars
that entere# the intersection >ust 4efore the start of re# .i'' 4e out of the .a5 4efore the
start of green.
:Change inter(a'; is 5e''o. )'us the a''6re# c'earance inter(a'. In /uch of traffic ana'5sis3
the t.o are co/4ine#. Fe7'' tr5 to 4e consistent& 'o.er case y is 5e''o. ti/e3 an# u))er
case " is 5e''o.6)'us6a''6re#3 the fu'' change inter(a'3 an# is a44re(iate# as :5e''o. ti/e;
e(en though it inc'u#es the a''6re# as .e''.
1.. Yellow !i"e fo#"$la
Thin0 of ho. a traffic )o'ice/an sto)s cars& )ut u) his han#3 )oints to a car a4out $00 ft
4ac03 an# #irects it to sto). Jisects traffic strea/3 sto))ing the car )ointe# to *an# those
4ehin# it+3 .hi'e 'etting those ahea# of it go. The onset of 5e''o. is )utting u) the han#.
The =uestion is3 ho. to :)oint; to the right car to sto)G
!
In choosing a 5e''o. ti/e3 .e .ant cars to 0no. c'ear'5 .hat #ecision to ta0e3 either go
or sto). Fe .ant to a(oi# the t.o )ossi4'e :#i'e//a; Cones&
the no6choice *:)itfa'';+ Cone3 in .hich the5 can neither enter the intersection on
green or sto) 4efore the sto)'ine. *2ea#s to re#6'ight running or unsafe 4ra0ing.+
the t.o6choice *:o)tion;+ Cone3 in .hich the5 ha(e the o)tion of entering the
intersection on green 9N1 sto))ing 4efore the sto)'ine. *2ea#s to rear6en#
acci#ents3 #isres)ect for 5e''o..+
For a gi(en set of s)ee# an# #ece'eration rates3 there is a 5e''o. ti/e that a(oi#s these
Cones. The 0e5 to the ana'5sis is to focus first on #istance3 where to sto) a car3 rather than
when8 'ater3 .e7'' con(ert that #istance to a ti/e.
?n the right si#e3 s0etch a))roach (ertica''5 *going u)+. Ne%t to it3 s0etch ti/e6s)ace3
.ith #istance on (ertica' a%is *)ara''e' to a))roach3 .ith Cero at sto)'ine+3 ti/e on
horiConta'. For no.3 a(oi# s)ecif5ing an origin on the ti/e a%is.
#igure $%&! "ellow Time to 'void Pitfall ( )ption *ones
H0etch a #ece' tra>ector5 that en#s at sto) 'ine.3 inc'u#ing 4oth 4ra0ing an# reaction ti/e
*$ s+. Use ( K 50 fts3 a K $0 fts. H0etch it 4ac0.ar#s. Ti/e an# s)ace nee#e# for
4ra0ing&
Ti/e& (a K 5 s. 1istance co(ere#& ti/e L (2 K (
2
2a K $25 ft.
9n# for reaction&
I
%i&!an'e (f!)
!i"e (&e')
1* f!
+
,
a
+

-

*
.

f
!
/
&
fi#&! &!o00e#
a - 11. f!/& ,
+!
R
! R
*. f!
12* ('#i!i'al lo'a!ion)
3ellow
&!a#!
+
a
3ellow
en%
la&! go1e#
Ti/e K $.0 s. 1istance co(ere#& $.0 L( K 50 ft.
This #efines
+critical K +stop K treaction , v - v
$
.$a K $"5 ft
H0etch 'ine for +critical& a car that 4egins sto))ing there en#s its sto) at the sto)'ine. Can7t
4egin to sto) an5 'ater3 or car .i'' either enter the intersection3 or 4ra0e so har# that it7s
unsafe.
2et this 4ra0ing tra>ector5 4e the first stopper/ Fhere it crosses +critical #efines the start of
yellow/
Ne%t3 s0etch a car a /o/ent ahea# of this first sto))er3 an# ha(e it go. Fhen it hits sto)
'ine shou'# 4e the end of yellow/ Fh5G
If 5e''o. en#e# sooner3 a s'ight'5 'ater car .ou'# 4e in a pitfall 0one& can7t )ass
through 4efore re#3 4ut can7t sto) 4efore the sto)'ine either.
If 5e''o. en#e# 'ater3 a s'ight'5 ear'ier car .ou'# 4e in an option 0one& car can
4oth sto) 4efore sto)'ine3 or *if it chooses+ )ass sto)'ine 4efore re#.
I#ea' 5e''o. ti/e is the ti/e for a non6sto))ing tra>ector5 to tra(erse the #istance +critical.
For/u'a&
y 1 +critical . v 1 t2 - v.$aactual
To account for gra#e effect3 aactual K ao M Gg3 .here K stan#ar# #ece' rate an# G is gra#e
*e.g.3 0.0I for I< u)gra#e+3 'ea#ing to the ITE reco//en#e# for/u'a&
y 1 t2 - v.$*ao- Gg+
*For e%a/)'e3 .ith I< u)gra#e3 gra(it5 increases #ece' rate 45 $.! fts
2
.+
For our e%a/)'e3 assu/ing no gra#e effect3 y K !.5 s3 a co//on (a'ue in Joston.
5
1.4. Dile""a (0i!fall an% o0!ion) 5one&
To i''ustrate the )itfa'' Cone3 ta0e the case of too6short 5e''o.3 y K 2.5 s3 .ith the sa/e
(ehic'e #5na/ics )ara/eters *reaction ti/e3 s)ee#3 #ece'eration rate+ as 4efore. To /a0e
the s0etch3 #ra. horiConta' 'ines for the sto)'ine an# +critical. ?n the sto)'ine3 in#icate the
5e''o. ti/e. 9nchore# to the end of 5e''o.3 #ra. the 'ast sto))er tra>ector5 *constant
s)ee#+ 4ac0.ar#s3 at the gi(en s)ee#. Notice .here the 'ast sto))er is at the start of
5e''o.& a #istance *y , v+ fro/ the sto)'ine3 .hich in this e%a/)'e is 2.5 L 50 K $25 ft.
Ne%t3 #ra. the tra>ector5 of the first sto))er& it #e)arts fro/ +critical at the start of 5e''o.3
an# en#s at the sto)'ine *.e'' after the 'ight has turne# re#+. The )itfa'' Cone is the section
of roa#3 at the start of 5e''o.3 4et.een the t.o tra>ectories8 it e%ten#s fro/ +critical to *y ,
v+3 .hich in this e%a/)'e is fro/ $"5 to $25 ft.
2ocate a car in the )itfa'' Cone A sa53 car is $50 ft fro/ sto)'ine at onset of 5e''o.. Hho.
the )itfa''& if it sto)s A it co/es to rest 25 ft )ast sto)'ineN If it goes A crosses the sto)'ine
0.5 s after onset of re#N
6
%i&!an'e (f!)
!i"e (&e')
6i!fall Zone 1 w7en 3ellow i& !oo &7o#!
.* &e'
la&! legal
go1e#
fi#&! 0o&&i8le
&!o00e#
&!o09
go9
'#i!i'al lo'a!ion - 12* f!
6i!fall 5one
1* f!
+

-

*
.

f
!
/
&
Fe can si/i'ar'5 i''ustrate the o)tion Cone in the case of too6'ong 5e''o.3 sa5 y K 5 s.
9gain3 the 'ast go6er is anchore# to the sto)'ine at en# of 5e''o.3 .hi'e the first sto))er is
anchore# to +critical at the start of 5e''o.. The o)tion Cone is the section 4et.een the t.o
tra>ectories at the onset of 5e''o. A in this case3 e%ten#ing fro/ 250 ft to $"5 ft. 2ocate a
car in the o)tion Cone A sa53 200 ft fro/ sto)'ine at onset of 5e''o.. Hho. the #i'e//a& it
can sto) ?O3 it can go ?O. 1anger& .hat if it #eci#es to sto)3 .hi'e car that7s 250 ft fro/
sto)'ine at onset of 5e''o. #eci#es to goN
:1i'e//a Cone; is a ter/ that engen#ers confusion. Fhi'e the .or# :#i'e//a; /eans
o)tion *:#i; /eans :t.o;+3 ho.e(er3 /ost )eo)'e use it to /ean )itfa'' Cone. Ho .hen
5ou hear )eo)'e ta'0ing a4out :#i'e//a Cone )rotection3; the5 /ean )rotection cars fro/
a )itfa'' Cone.
1.:. I"0li'a!ion& of !7e 3ellow !i"e fo#"$la
The 5e''o. ti/e for/u'a i/)'ies that 5e''o. ti/es shou'# 4e 'onger at higher s)ee#s.
Using tD K $ s3 a K B fts
2
*a 'itt'e gent'er #ece'eration+3 here7s a ta4'e of 5e''o. ti/es
(ersus s)ee#&
"
%i&!an'e (f!)
!i"e (&e')
O0!ion Zone 1 w7en 3ellow i& !oo long
*.. &e'
fi#&! 0o&&i8le
&!o00e#
&!o09
go9
'#i!i'al lo'a!ion - 12* f!
O0!ion 5one
la&! legal
go1e#
*. f!
Colli&ion Ha5a#%
v (mph)
v (ft/s)
y (s)
20 29.4 2.6
25 36.75 3.0
30 44.1 3.5
35 51.45 3.9
40 58.8 4.3
50 73.5 5.1
60 88.2 5.9
The 5e''o. ti/e for/u'a is on'5 a gui#e'ine8 each >uris#iction #eter/ines their o.n ta4'e
of )referre# 5e''o. ti/es as a function of either )oste# s)ee# or /easure# s)ee#.
T5)ica' 'i/its on 5e''o. ti/e are ! to 5 s. For the 60 /)h case3 that /eans a )itfa''.
Ho'ution& #on7t a''o. signa's .ith 60 /)h s)ee#N That7s .h5 s)ee# 'i/its on high6s)ee#
roa#s often #ro) to I5 /)h .hen a))roaching an intersection. If 5ou 0ee) going 603
)re)are to 4rea0 har# A 5ou7'' ha(e toN
1.*. All1Re% Clea#an'e Ti"e
If a car enters the intersection at the 'ast /o/ent of 5e''o.3 it /a5 not 4e safe to start a
conf'icting strea/7s green. 9n a''6re# ti/e can 4e use# to c'ear the intersection. The ITE
for/u'a *a reco//en#ation3 not a stan#ar#+ )ro(i#es enough ti/e for a car entering in
the 'ast /o/ent of re# to 4e co/)'ete'5 out of the intersection 4efore a conf'icting strea/
sees green&
all%red 1 3d - +vehicle4 . v
.here # K #istance fro/ sto) 'ine to far cur4. For +vehicle use $6 ft *can use 'onger if
)articu'ar concern is 'ong (ehic'es+. ,ere7s a ta4'e of (a'ues ca'cu'ate# fro/ that for/u'a3
assu/ing the sto)'ine is set 4ac0 $5 ft fro/ the near cur4 *to a''o. a cross.a'0+3 an#
assu/ing $$6ft .i#e tra(e' 'anes3 86ft )ar0ing 'anes3 an# 66ft shou'#ers&
v v d all-red
(mph) (ft/s) cross street descriptio (ft) (s)
30 44.1 2 travel laes! 2 par"i# laes 53 1.6
30 44.1 7 travel laes! 2 sho$lders 111 2.9
20 29.4
left t$r across 7 laes ad a
media 120 4.6
The a''6re# ti/es )ro#uce# 45 this for/u'a are often consi#ere# unrea'istic3 an# so the
ITE for/u'a isn7t .i#e'5 acce)te#. Joston3 for e%a/)'e3 t5)ica''5 uses 0.5 s. E(en .here
)eo)'e use the ITE for/u'a3 an u))er 'i/it of 2 s is usua''5 a))'ie#3 .hich is far fro/
sufficient for s'o. /o(e/ents across .i#e streets. *Thin0 a4out ca'cu'ating c'earance
8
ti/e for a !6car 'ight rai' (ehic'e that has a sto) at the far si#e of the intersection3 an#
therefore has to )ass through the intersection s'o.'5 A it cou'# easi'5 4e 20 secon#sN+
Fh5 is the ITE c'earance ti/e for/u'a o(er'5 conser(ati(eG Jecause&
It #oesn7t account for ti/e nee#e# 45 cars in the i//inent conf'icting strea/ to
react to green3 an# then to acce'erate far enough into the intersection to hit the
c'earing car
It #oesn7t recogniCe that #ri(ers3 .hen getting a green3 'oo0 to see if the
intersection is c'ear 4efore )rocee#ing *as /ost states7 'a.3 inc'u#ing those of
-assachusetts3 re=uireN+
It re=uires the #e)arting car to c'ear the entire intersection3 .hen it .ou'# 4e
enough to c'ear the conf'ict Cone.
9 #ifferent c'earance ti/e for/u'a3 one that accounts for the first t.o of the factors gi(en
a4o(e3 is use# in /an5 Euro)ean countries. It )ro#uces /uch /ore rea'istic a''6re# ti/es3
an# is a))'ie# as a stan#ar# *not a gui#e'ine+.
1.;. A'!i+e %ile""a 5one 0#o!e'!ion
Pro)er 5e''o. ti/ing e'i/inates the #i'e//a Cone if a'' cars ha(e the sa/e s)ee#3
reaction ti/e3 an# 4ra0ing rate. Jut3 of course3 the5 #on7t8 so it rea''5 isn7t )ossi4'e to
e'i/inate e(er54o#57s #i'e//a Cone. For e%a/)'e3 if 5ou ha(e se'ecte# the i#ea' 5e''o.
ti/e for a car going 50 fts3 an# a car a))roaches at 60 fts3 that car .i'' ha(e a )itfa''
Cone. 2i0e.ise3 if 5ou #esign for so/e4o#5 to react in $.0 s3 4ut a #ri(er co/es a'ong
.ho nee#s $.! s to react.
Ho there are s5ste/s for :acti(e #i'e//a Cone )rotection.; The5 #eter/ine the Cone in
.hich #ri(ers might 4e in a )itfa'' 4ase# on a )'ausi4'e range of s)ee#s3 reaction ti/es3
an# 4ra0ing rates. Using #etectors3 the5 inhi4it the onset of 5e''o. .hi'e a car is in that
Cone. Ho/eti/es it7s #one for truc0s on'5 *truc0s running re# 'ights are es)ecia''5
#ea#'5+. In so/e states3 #i'e//a Cone )rotection is routine3 though so/eti/es on'5 on
high6s)ee# roa#s.
B