Capacity drop through reaction times in heterogeneous traffic

Simeon C. Calvert, Femke L.M. van Wageningen-Kessels, Serge P. Hoogendoorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)


The capacity drop forms a major reason why the prevention of congestion is targeted by traffic management, as lower capacities are detrimental to traffic throughput. Various reasons describing the dynamics behind the capacity have been described, however one of these, reaction times, has had less explicit attention when modelling on a macroscopic flow level. In this contribution, a method to include the effect of reaction times for the capacity drop in heterogeneous traffic is proposed. The applied method further overcomes difficulties in including reaction times in a discrete time model through relaxation of the updating process in the discretization. This approach is novel for application in the considered first order approach, which is practise ready, contrary to many other models that propose similar approaches. The combination of the introduced method and the model form a solid development and method to apply the capacity drop based on this causation of the capacity drop. The results of the experiment case showed that the influence of traffic heterogeneity had a limited effect on the severity of the capacity drop, while it did influence the time of congestion onset. The influence of the reaction time on traffic showed greater capacity drop values for greater reaction time settings. The findings showed the method effective and valid, while the model application is also practise ready.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-104
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Traffic and Transportation Engineering (English Edition)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • Capacity drop
  • Heterogeneous traffic
  • Traffic flow
  • Traffic modelling


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