Development of Passenger Car Equivalents for Basic Freeway Segments
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Passenger car equivalents (PCEs) are used in highway capacity analysis to convert a mixed vehicle flow into an equivalent passenger car flow. This calculation is relevant to capacity and level of service determination, lane requirements, and determining the effect of traffic on highway operations. The most recent Highway Capacity Manual 2000 reports PCEs for basic freeway segments according to percent and length of grade and proportion of heavy vehicles. Heavy vehicles are considered to be either of two categories: trucks and buses or RVs. For trucks and buses, PCEs are reported for a typical truck with a weight to power ratio between 76.1 and 90.4 kg/kW (125 and 150 lb/hp). The weight to power ratio is an indicator of vehicle performance. Recent development of vehicle dynamics models make it possible to define PCEs for trucks with a wider variety of weight to power ratios. PCEs were calculated from the relative impact of trucks on traffic density using the simulation model INTEGRATION. The scope of this research was to evaluate PCEs for basic freeway segments for trucks with a broader range of weight to power ratios. Such results should make freeway capacity analysis more accurate for mixed vehicle flow with a non-typical truck population. In addition, the effect of high proportion of trucks, pavement type and condition, truck aerodynamic treatment, number of freeway lanes, truck speed limit, and level of congestion was considered. The calculation of PCEs for multiple truck weight to power ratio populations was not found to be different from single truck weight to power ratio populations. The PCE values were tabulated in a compatible format to that used in the Highway Capacity Manual 2000.
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