Non-unimodal and non-concave relationships in the network Macroscopic Fundamental Diagram caused by hierarchical streets

Unimodal, concave relationships between average network productivity and accumulation or density aggregated across spatially compact regions of urban networks—so called network Macroscopic Fundamental Diagrams (MFDs)—have recently been shown to exist on homogeneous street networks. When present, MFD relationships facilitate the modeling of traffic congestion at a regional level and has led to the development of various regional traffic control strategies. However, real street networks are not homogeneous—they generally have a hierarchical structure where some streets (e.g., arterials) promote higher mobility than others (e.g., local roads). This paper examines how the presence of hierarchical roadway structures may influence a network’s MFD. Three methods are used: analytical models of simple network structures, simulations of vehicles traveling in idealized roadway networks, and empirical data. The impacts of street hierarchy depend on how vehicles use different roadway types to move within the network; i.e., their routing strategy. The findings suggest that the presence of roadway hierarchies may lead to MFDs that have non-unimodal or non-concave patterns on the free-flow branch when vehicles route themselves according to user equilibrium principles, which is closest to what would be observed in realistic situations. Such patterns are contrary to what is traditionally assumed in most MFD-based modeling frameworks. However, the unimodal and concave MFD should be expected under system optimal routing conditions that maximize network productivity for a given traffic state.  

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Work Title Non-unimodal and non-concave relationships in the network Macroscopic Fundamental Diagram caused by hierarchical streets
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Open Access
Creators
  1. Guanhao Xu
  2. Vikash Varun Gayah
License In Copyright (Rights Reserved)
Work Type Article
Publication Date January 1, 2022
Deposited March 14, 2023

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  • Added Creator Guanhao Xu
  • Added Creator Vikash Varun Gayah
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    • 101st Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board
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