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Traffic Flow Modelling and Simulation Analysis of

Multi-lane Highways under Mixed Traffic

Second Semester Progress Report

Ph.D. Scholar
Roll No. 714110
Under the Supervision of
Dr. Arpan Meher
Assistant Professor
Department of Civil Engineering

Transportation Division
Department of Civil Engineering
National Institute of Technology
Warangal-506004, Telangana, India,
1. Introduction

India has a largest road network in the world with a total length of 4.6 million kilometres.
This rapid increase in vehicle growth rate on extensive road network demands a better system
for transporting goods and people across the nation. An efficient road network infrastructure
is critically essential for the social and economic development of the country, apart from
providing well connectivity among all regions. In India, National Highways (NH) carries 40%
of the total road traffic but constitutes only about 2% of the total road network, with a length
of 79,243 km in 2014.Two-lane roads (with two-way traffic) dominate the total length of
National Highways with a share of 56%, followed by single lane roads with a share of 32%,
and multilane highways (with one-way traffic) sharing only 12% of the total NH network.
With the rapidly growing economy, industrial growth, increasing number of central business
districts (CBDs) and special economic zones (SEZs) the number of travel trips has been
increased in couple of decades. As a result, the existing road network proved to be highly
inadequate in catering the growing needs of high capacity corridors to accommodate high
density and volume. Realizing this fact, the Government of India took up National Highway
Development Program (NHDP) to provide high density corridors- multilane highways,
expressways and two-lane roads with paved shoulders; to meet the present and future needs of
growing traffic and to ensure the development of a rapid, efficient, safe, and well-connected
highway network. Traffic flow behaviour on multilane highways is a complex phenomenon
and need better conceptual and logical way of understanding and analysis. Design of
multilane highways need serious thought with respect to traffic volume, movement of traffic
flow and capacity.
The term "Passenger Car Unit"(PCU) was first introduced in HCM-1965 to account for the
effect of trucks and buses in the traffic stream. Highway capacity, as defined by the HCM, is
the maximum flow rate achievable at a specific location on a roadway under prevailing
roadway, traffic and control conditions. In mixed traffic condition traffic volume/capacity
ratio is calculated by adding different type of vehicles after multiplying them by their
respective PCU values. Traffic on Indian roads is of heterogeneous nature with a wide
variation in the static and the dynamic characteristics. One class of vehicle cannot be
considered equal to any other class. The only way of accounting for this non-uniformity in
traffic stream is to convert all vehicles into a common unit and the most accepted unit for this
purpose is PCU. The HCM provides different sets of PCE values, to be used for different
types of highway facilities i.e. two-lane highways, multilane highways, and freeways.
Passenger Car Unit is a quantity which is used worldwide to convert different types of

vehicles to common platform i.e. Passenger Car. Proper estimation of PCU is a difficult task
as there are different parameters affecting PCU value of a vehicle.
Highway Capacity Manual [HCM (1965)] define the passenger car unit value of a truck or a
bus "as the number of passenger cars displaced in the traffic flow by a truck or a bus under
the prevailing roadway and traffic condition".
The PCE definition in the most recent version of the HCM is "the number of passenger cars
that are displaced by a single heavy vehicle of a particular type under prevailing roadway,
traffic and control conditions.
The Transport and Road Research Laboratory (TRRL), London, UK (1965) defines PCU as
follows: On any particular section of road under particular traffic conditions, if the addition
of one vehicle of a particular type per hour will reduce the average speed of the remaining
vehicles by the same amount as the addition of, say x cars of average size per hour, then, one
vehicle of this type is equivalent to x PCU.

Methods for estimation of passenger car units (PCU) are as follows:

1) Homogenization Coefficient Method

2) Walkers Method
3) Headway Method
4) Simultaneous Equation Method
5) Multiple Linear Regression Method
6) Method of Simulation
7) Dynamic PCU method
Overtaking and lane-changing maneuvers on a road traffic facility occur when traffic does
not move at the design speed. Therefore, these operations become essential when some
vehicles in the traffic stream are moving fast while others moving slow. They are
unavoidable especially in the case of mixed traffic conditions where a speed differential
always exists between the fast and slow moving vehicles. These maneuvers not only
influence the highway capacity but also play a vital role in simulation of a traffic facility.
They are also one of many important criteria considered in the analysis of road traffic

accidents. Hence, the knowledge of overtaking and lane-changing behavior of vehicles is

essential in understanding of traffic behavior.

2. Literature Review
Werner and Worrall (1976) estimated PCE of trucks, buses and recreational vehicles for
rolling and mountainous terrains. The authors used Walkers method for estimating PCU
value for subject vehicle class as stated above. For measurement of PCU, the number of
overtaking performed by passenger cars and subject vehicles are taken in to account. Authors
observed the effect of grade on PCU value of different vehicle categories under various
levels-of-service. After performing sensitivity test they concluded that PCEs of slow moving
vehicles such as trucks, buses, or recreational vehicles increases rapidly as speed decreases as
well as varies with even a small change in speed.
Craus et al. (1980) considered the actual traffic delays caused by trucks and opposing traffic
stream. Authors explain that the operating characteristics of trucks and buses differ
significantly from those of passenger cars. To estimate PCE values they defined the truck
equivalency factor as the ratio of delay caused by one truck to the delay caused by one
passenger car. Although this method takes care of physical size of the vehicle and operational
performance, it yields unrealistic results under high volume condition.
Chandra and Kumar (2003) studied the effect of road width on PCU values on two-lane
highways. The vehicles were divided into nine different categories and average dimensions
and projected rectangular areas of each type of vehicle category were estimated. They
suggested that physical size of a vehicle is crucial for the operational characteristics and is
used as an indicator of pavement occupancy for the analysis. Authors observed that the PCU
for a vehicle type increases with the carriageway width because vehicles have more freedom
at the wider road section.
Arasan and Koshy (2005) described a modelling methodology adopted to simulate the flow of
heterogeneous traffic with vehicles of wide ranging static and dynamic characteristics. The
simulation framework for the traffic-flow model was prepared in such a way that the absence
of lane discipline in mixed traffic flow conditions is taken into account. A detailed structure of
the proposed model is presented. Common issues related to traffic simulation such as vehicle
generation, logics for vehicular movement, etc., are described in detail in the context of
heterogeneous traffic conditions. The paper also discusses the procedures adopted for

validation of the proposed model and their outcomes. Finally, the details of application of the
model to study the traffic flow characteristics on urban roads are also presented.
Arasan and Krishnamurthy(2008) results provides an insight into the complexity of the
vehicular interaction in heterogeneous traffic. The results of the simulation experiment to
study the effect of road width on PCU values indicate that for any vehicle type in
heterogeneous traffic, the PCU value increases with increase in the width of road space.
They found the at low volume levels, the PCU value of vehicles increases with increases in
traffic volume, whereas under higher volume conditions the PCU value decrease with increase
in traffic volume. PCU value of vehicles increases with increases in width of road space.
Aggrawal (2011) used fuzzy model for estimation of PCU values in heterogeneous traffic
condition. Author emphasized the importance of Fuzzy model while dealing with number of
independent affecting factors. Proposed fuzzy model have four inputs namely pavement
width, shoulder condition, directional split and slow moving traffic and provides a crisp value
of passenger car unit (PCU) for trucks. Results are compared with the quoted passenger car
unit value for truck under varying affecting parameters. Degree of correlation between the
model and observed results are calculated and it is observed that a high degree of correlation
exists between the modelled and quoted results.
Arsan and Arkatkar (2012) studied the basic traffic flow characteristics and clear
understanding of vehicular interactions are the pre -requisites for highway capacity analysis
and to formulate effective traffic management and control measure. Their work is concerned
with application of a simulation model of heterogeneous traffic flow, named HETEROSIM, to
quantify the vehicular interaction, in terms of PCU. The PCU estimates, made through
microscopic simulation, for the different types of vehicles of heterogeneous traffic, for a wide
range of grades and traffic volume, indicate that the PCU value of a vehicle significantly
changes with change in traffic volume, magnitude of upgrade and its length. It is found that,
the change in PCU value of vehicles is not significant beyond a length of 1600 m on grades.
Also, it has been found that the PCU estimates are accurate at 5% level of significance.
Mehar et al. (2014) mainly focused on estimating PCU values for vehicle types on interurban
multi-lane highways at different LOS and traffic composition. Field data for their study were
collected on two sections of interurban highways: one with four-lane and another with sixlane divided roadway. The PCU value for different vehicle types was estimated using dynamic

PCU method. They used the traffic simulation model VISSIM. Finally PCU values for
different vehicle types were suggested at different LOS for 4-lane and 6-lane highways.
Shalkamy et al. (2015) studied the influence of different geometric features of tangent and
curved elements on PCU values on two-lane two-way rural roads. Geometry and traffic data
were collected from six sites located on Benisuif- Assiut Agricultural Road, Egypt. Each site
was composed of two elements; a straight element (tangent) and a succeeding horizontal
curve. PCU values were estimated using the speed-area method. Using regression analysis,
different models were developed to model the influences of different geometric features on
PCU values. The results show that the PCU values for different vehicle categories increase
linearly with increase of carriageway width and horizontal curve radius. This increase was
clearly observed in case of heavy vehicles rather than light vehicles.
Chandra and shukla (2012) studied the lane change and overtaking behaviour of vehicles
under mixed traffic conditions. Data collected on 4-lane divided roads in India. Minimum,
maximum and average rate of acceleration for vehicles during overtaking are estimated. It is
found that the shoulder condition has some influence of rate of acceleration of a vehicle type.
A linear negative relation is observed between the speed and acceleration with higher
overtaking speed associated with lower rate of acceleration. The overtaking time depends
upon the speed differential between the overtaking and overtaken vehicles.
Tang et al. (2007) proposed a new model for overtaking on highway. The model considers
such important factors as the reactive delay time for vehicle acceleration, deceleration, and
lane-changing, the safe distance for car-following and the distance for overtaking. The time
required for overtaking, the time loss in overtaking procedure and the spacetime evolution of
vehicle movement are numerically investigated using the model and compared with the
results from a survey. Numerical results show that our model can generate the traffic in accord
with the observed one. The overtaking in a two-lane bidirectional traffic flow is also analyzed.
Faheem and Hashim(2014) analysis the traffic characteristics on rural multi-lane highways.
They carried out four separate relevant analyses. The first analysis investigates the impact of
lane position (Median Lane (ML), Shoulder Lane (SL)) on Average Travel Speed (ATS). The
second analysis looks at the relationship between ATS and different traffic characteristics. The
third analysis examines the impact of lane position on traffic stream relationships. The fourth
and last analysis inspects the impact of lane position and traffic level on headway
characteristics. They found the lane position has a significant impact on ATS. The best model

that shows the relationship between ATS and traffic characteristics include density, percentage
of heavy vehicles and lane position variables. The lane position also has a significant impact
on traffic stream relationships. Finally lane position and traffic level have a considerable
impact on headway characteristics.
3. Summary of Literature
Based on the difficulty in estimating the traffic volume and capacity of heterogeneous traffic,
it is necessary to convert different vehicles to one common unit i.e. PCU(passenger car unit).
The PCU values for different types of vehicles on Indian roads have been suggested by
IRC :106-1990. But these are constant values which are suitable for a given traffic and
roadway condition. It is more appropriate to consider the PCU of a vehicle type as a dynamic
quantity for heterogeneous traffic. It includes the consideration of factors such as traffic
volume, road width, geometric factors, speed etc. Several methods were developed for
determining PCU like Modified density method, Chandra's method, Method based on relative
delay, Headway method, Multiple linear regression method, Simulation method. Most of these
methods (except dynamic PCU method) were developed under homogeneous traffic
conditions. Hence there is a need to develop a modified approach for estimating a meaningful
PCU of different types of vehicles under mixed traffic conditions.
Overtaking and lane change behaviour are important parameters in developing simulations
models for traffic movement and thereby for estimation of capacity. Lot of practical
difficulties were facing while getting the field data regarding overtaking and lane change
behaviour of vehicles. Hence there is a need to develop approach for collecting the field data
of overtaking and lane change behaviour of vehicles.
There seems to be much scope to carryout research in this area. The outcomes of the research
can minimize the traffic problems prevailing in most of the Indian cities.

4. Objectives
As a part of research work, following are the objectives:

1. To develop a fundamental relationships between traffic stream characteristics for

analyzing traffic flow behaviour under heterogeneous traffic conditions.
2. To analyze the speed characteristics for different types of vehicles under mixed traffic
3. To estimate the PCU values for different types of vehicles under varying traffic and
geometric conditions.
4. To calibrate and validate the traffic simulation model for analyzing traffic flow
behaviour under mixed traffic conditions.

5. Progress Report of the Research Work

Name of the Student
Roll No.

: 714110

Field of Research work

: Traffic Flow Modelling and Simulation Analysis of Multi-lane

Highways under Mixed Traffic Conditions

Status of Work
a) Progress in the Last Six Months:
1) The following courses have been completed on self study basis:
S. No.

Course Name


Statistics and Probability in Transportation Engineering

Traffic Flow Analysis

Traffic flow modelling and Simulation

English for Scientific Communication

2) Literature review
3) Objectives of the study

b) Plan for the Next Semester

1. Literature review,
2. Study methodology, and

3. Sample data collection.

5. References
1) Amr Shalkamy and Dalia Said(2015)." Influence of carriage width and horizontal curve
radius on PCU values of two-lane two-way Rural roads", Civil and environmental
research, IISTE , vol.7.
2) Mehar, A., Chandra, S., and S.Velmurugan(2014)." PCU at different levels of Service for
capacity analysis of multilane Interurban highways in India". Journal of transportation
3) Arasan, V.T and Arkatkar, S.S(2012)." Microsimulation study of vehicular interactions on
upgrades of Intercity roads under heterogeneous traffic conditions in India". European
Transport Issue 52.
4) Praveen Aggarwal(2011)." Passenger Car Unit Value for Trucks using Fuzzy Model",
Proceedings of the World Congress on Engineering,WCE2011, Volume 2.
5) Arasan, V.T and Krishnamurthy, K(2008). " Study of the Effect of Traffic Volume and
Road Width on Pcu Value of Vehicles Using Microscopic Simulation". Journal of
Transportation Engineering, 131(7), 544-551.
6) Arasan, V.T and Koshy, R.Z. (2005). " Methodology for modelling highly heterogeneous
traffic flow". Journal of Transportation Engineering, 131(7), 544-551.
7) Chandra, S., Zala, L.B and Kumar, V. (1997)." Comparing the methods of passenger car
unit estimation", Journal of Institution of Engineers, vol.78, pp. 13-16.
8) Craus, J., Polus A., and I. Grinberg (1980)." A revised method for the determination of
passenger car equivalencies", Transportation Research-A, vol.14 (5), pp. 241-246.
9) Hamdy Faheem and Ibrahim Hassan Hashim(2014)." Analysis of Traffic Characteristics at
Multi-lane Divided Highways, Case Study from Cairo-Aswan Agriculture Highway",
International Refereed Journal of Engineering and Science,vol.3(1),pp.58-65.
10) Tang, T.Q., Huang, H.J., Wong, S.C., and X.Y. Xu (2007). " A new overtaking model and
numerical tests". Physica A,vol. 376,pp.649657.
11) Chandra ,S and Shalinee Shukla (2012). " Overtaking Behavior on Divided Highways
Under Mixed Traffic Conditions",Social and Behavioral Sciences,vol.43,pp. 313 322.

Research Scholar
Forwarded by DSC Members

1) Prof. Deva Pratap (Head of the Department and Chairman)

2) Prof. C.S.R.K. Prasad (Member)

3) Dr. K.V.R. Ravi Shankar (Member)

4) Dr. D. Srinivasa charya (Member)

5) Dr. Arpan Mehar (Supervisor)

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