Speed behaviour upon approaching freeway curves

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The actual speed behaviour when drivers approach a curve is very relevant to assess the road design and safety but is mostly overlooked in the scientific literature. Most research into curve driving behaviour is focussed at the behaviour inside the curve, although the speed selection is done before curve entry. The main objective of this research is to identify which freeway characteristics play a role in driving speed selection. High Frequency Floating Car Data, detailed reconstruction of the curves and their surroundings, as well as three dimensional sight distance analysis, were used to analyse individual speed profiles on 153 Dutch freeway curves. By defining the positions where the acceleration approaches 0 m/s2 before and after a curve starts, the positions when the driver started and stopped decelerating upon curve entry were defined. Further correlation and regression analysis of those positions revealed that the radius of the curve is indeed a main explaining variable, as well as the speed driven before deceleration starts. Sight distances and cross section characteristics play a further role in determining the position where deceleration starts. Deceleration ends at approximately 135 m after curve start, and the speed in a curve is also correlated with the deflection angle and length of a curve. Sight distances do not play a role in selecting the speed in a curve based on this research. Overall, the findings indicate a non-constant nature and variability of speed behaviour upon curve entry. This can be used for safer freeway curve design and to assess traffic safety based on actual speed behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106276
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Freeway curve anticipation
  • High Frequency Floating Car Data
  • Sight distances
  • Speed profiles


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