Driving behaviour at motorway ramps and weaving segments based on empirical trajectory data

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In the vicinity of ramps, drivers make route choices, change lanes and in most cases also adjust their speeds. This can trigger anticipatory behaviour by the surrounding vehicles, which are also reflected in lane changes and/or changes in speed. This phenomenon is called turbulence and is widely recognised by the scientific literature and various design guidelines. However the knowledge about the characteristics of turbulence is limited. This study investigates the microscopic characteristics of driving behaviour around 14 different on-ramps (3), off-ramps (3) and weaving segments (8) in The Netherlands, based on unique empirical trajectory data collected from a video camera mounted underneath a hovering helicopter. The data analysis reveals that lane changes caused by merging and diverging vehicles create most turbulence, that an increase in the amount of traffic results in a higher level of turbulence and that an increase in the available length for merging and diverging results in a lower level of turbulence. The results of this study are useful for improving the road design guidelines and for modelling driving behaviour more realistically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-441
Number of pages16
JournalTransportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


  • Empirical
  • Microscopic
  • Off-ramp
  • On-ramp
  • Turbulence
  • Weaving

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