Capacity, Capacity Drop and Relation of Capacity to the Path Width in Bicycle Traffic

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Bicycle usage is encouraged in many cities because of its health and environmental benefits. As a result, bicycle traffic increases which leads to questions on the requirements of bicycle infrastructure. Design guidelines are available but the scientific substantiation is limited. This research contributes to understanding bicycle traffic flow by studying the aggregated movements of cyclists before and after the onset of congestion within the setting of a controlled bottleneck flow experiment. The paper quantitatively describes the relation between capacity and path width, provides a qualitative explanation of this relation by analyzing the cyclist configuration for different path widths, and studies the existence of a capacity drop in bicycle flow. Using slanted cumulative curves and regression analysis, the capacity of a bicycle path is found to increase linearly with increasing path width. A steady drop in flow rate is observed after the onset of congestion, indicating that the capacity drop phenomenon is observed in bicycle traffic. The results presented in this paper can help city planners to create bicycle infrastructure that can handle high cyclist demand.
Original languageEnglish
Article number19-05218
Pages (from-to)693-702
Number of pages10
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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