An Analysis of Traffic Behavior at Freeway Diverge Sections using Traffic Microsimulation Software
Kehoe, Nicholas Paul
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Microscopic simulation traffic models are widely used by transportation researchers and practitioners to evaluate and plan for transportation facilities. The intent of these models is to estimate the second-by-second vehicle movements and interactions on such facilities. Due to constraints related to time, budget, and availability of data, these models are typically designed in such a way where the microscopic output is viewed on the macroscopic level. Inherently, this can leave uncertainty to how the model estimates the individual interactions between vehicles on the microscopic level. This thesis utilizes three microsimulation models, INTEGRATION, VISSIM, and CORSIM, to investigate the lane changing behavior as vehicles approach a freeway diverge area. The count of lane changes, lane use distribution, and visual inspection of the simulated lane changing behavior was compared to video data collected at two freeway diverge areas on U.S. 460 in the vicinity of Blacksburg, Virginia during both off-peak and peak periods. It was observed that all three models generally overestimated the number of lane changes near the diverge areas compared to field observations. By modifying the models' lane changing logic, the models were able to closely match field observations in one of the four scenarios. It was found that microsimulation models accurately estimated the lane use distribution. In addition, the INTEGRATION lane use distribution results were found to be more consistent when compared to observed lane use distribution than either VISSIM or CORSIM.
- Masters Theses