An Algorithm to Quantify the Effects of Driver Behavior on Work Zone Capacity

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Proceedings of the 2008 Intelligent Transportation Systems World Congress


Intelligent Transport Systems

Publication Date



This paper presents a proposed enhancement to a current methodology used for assessing capacity in work zones. The authors describe a driver behavior factor for capacity analysis that quantifies the effect of driver behavior in the merge area approaching a lane drop. Within the paper, the driver behavior factor is further analyzed to examine driver behavior influences related to the drivers’ familiarity with the environment, ability to adapt to changing conditions, tendency towards aggressiveness, and the willingness to accommodate the needs of others. Another factor is the impact of unique demographic groups defined by locality, region, driver experience, and/or driver age. The development of the methodology and the underlying concepts are a product of several years of theoretical and field-based traffic flow and human factors research. Data collection occurred at two sites: along Interstate 91 Southbound in Greenfield, Massachusetts ( a 2 to 1 lane bridge replacement work zone); and in Jacksonville, Florida along Interstate 95 Northbound (a 3 to 2 lane work zone). The Massachusetts site showed that difference between peak and off-peak capacity and the effects of familiarity and adaptability to the work zone. The Florida site gave insight to the ability for capacity to be higher then estimates of current methodologies because of driver behavior which was observed to be cooperative. The authors conclude that the principle embodied in the adjustment factor is that the efficiency with which drivers adjust to changing roadway conditions while interacting with other drivers on the roadway directly impacts capacity.

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