Macroscopic traffic flow changes around ramps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Traffic is more turbulent around motorway ramps due to route choice-related lane changes and anticipatory or cooperative manoeuvres. These manoeuvres result in changes in speed and headways and have a negative influence on traffic safety and capacity. However, the distance upstream where turbulence starts and the distance downstream where it dissolves are yet unknown. In this paper, we propose a new method for detecting the start and end distances of turbulence. This method relies on the analysis of large quantities of empirical loop detector data from multiple on-ramps and off-ramps at different sites. By comparing the traffic operations near ramps to those on a regular motorway section, the length of the turbulence influence area can be estimated. The scope of the research is limited to three-lane motorways in the Netherlands, and shows that the distribution of traffic over the motorway lanes is a useful indicator for turbulence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalTransportmetrica A: Transport Science
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Dec 2017


  • design
  • loop detector
  • macroscopic
  • motorway
  • Turbulence

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