A kinematic wave model in Lagrangian coordinates incorporating capacity drop: Application to homogeneous road stretches and discontinuities

Kai Yuan*, Victor L. Knoop, Serge P. Hoogendoorn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)


On freeways, congestion always leads to capacity drop. This means the queue discharge rate is lower than the pre-queue capacity. Our recent research findings indicate that the queue discharge rate increases with the speed in congestion, that is the capacity drop is strongly correlated with the congestion state. Incorporating this varying capacity drop into a kinematic wave model is essential for assessing consequences of control strategies. However, to the best of authors’ knowledge, no such a model exists. This paper fills the research gap by presenting a Lagrangian kinematic wave model. “Lagrangian” denotes that the new model is solved in Lagrangian coordinates. The new model can give capacity drops accompanying both of stop-and-go waves (on homogeneous freeway section) and standing queues (at nodes) in a network. The new model can be applied in a network operation. In this Lagrangian kinematic wave model, the queue discharge rate (or the capacity drop) is a function of vehicular speed in traffic jams. Four case studies on links as well as at lane-drop and on-ramp nodes show that the Lagrangian kinematic wave model can give capacity drops well, consistent with empirical observations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)472-485
Number of pages14
JournalPhysica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Capacity drop
  • Kinematic wave model
  • Lagrangian coordinates
  • Traffic flow

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