Modeling Operational Performance of Urban Roads with Heterogeneous Traffic Conditions

The rapid growth in population and related demand for travel during the past few decades has had a catalytic effect on traffic congestion, air quality, and safety in many urban areas. Transportation managers and planners have planned for new facilities to cater to the needs of users of alternative modes of transportation (e.g., public transportation, walking, and bicycling) over the next decade. However, there are no widely accepted methods, nor there is enough evidence to justify whether such plans are instrumental in improving mobility of the transportation system. Therefore, this project researches the operational performance of urban roads with heterogeneous traffic conditions to improve the mobility and reliability of people and goods. A 4-mile stretch of the Blue Line light rail transit (LRT) extension, which connects Old Concord Rd and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s main campus on N Tryon St in Charlotte, North Carolina, was considered for travel time reliability analysis. The influence of crosswalks, sidewalks, trails, greenways, on-street bicycle lanes, bus/LRT routes and stops/stations, and street network characteristics on travel time reliability were comprehensively considered from a multimodal perspective. Likewise, a 2.5-mile-long section of the Blue Line LRT extension, which connects University City Blvd and Mallard Creek Church Rd on N Tryon St in Charlotte, North Carolina, was considered for simulation-based operational analysis. Vissim traffic simulation software was used to compute and compare delay, queue length, and maximum queue length at nine intersections to evaluate the influence of vehicles, LRT, pedestrians, and bicyclists, individually and/or combined. The statistical significance of variations in travel time reliability were particularly less in the case of links on N Tryon St with the Blue Line LRT extension. However, a decrease in travel time reliability on some links was observed on the parallel route (I-85) and cross-streets. While a decrease in vehicle delay on northbound and southbound approaches of N Tryon St was observed in most cases after the LRT is in operation, the cross-streets of N Tryon St incurred a relatively higher increase in delay after the LRT is in operation. The current pedestrian and bicycling activity levels seemed insignificant to have an influence on vehicle delay at intersections. The methodological approaches from this research can be used to assess the performance of a transportation facility and identify remedial solutions from a multimodal perspective.

University: 

Mineta Consortium for Transportation Mobility
UNC Charlotte

Principal Investigator: 

Srinivas S. Pulugurtha, PhD

PI Contact Information: 

Director of IDEAS Center
Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
9201 University City Boulevard
Charlotte, NC 28223-0001
Tel. (W): +1 704 687 1233
E-mail: sspulugurtha@uncc.edu

Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization): 

U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology – $74,967

Total Project Cost: 

$74,967

Agency ID or Contract Number: 

69A3551747127

Dates: 

December 2017 to January 2021

Project Number: 

1802