Multilevel Assessment of the Impact of Rain on Drivers' Behavior Standardized Methodology and Empirical Analysis
For all road managers, inclement weather events are a source of uncertainty that can affect traffic operations and safety. Regarding safety, various studies reveal significant effects of adverse weather conditions on the frequency and severity of crashes. Regarding mobility, because of a lack of data, there are few comprehensive studies, although the quantification of the effects of adverse weather on traffic represents the first step toward the development of weather-responsive traffic management strategies. This study deals with the analysis of the impact of rain on drivers' behavior and traffic operations. First, a generic methodology for assessing the effect of weather on traffic is proposed through a multilevel approach: from individual traffic data, the rain impact is assessed at a microscopic level (time headways, spacing). Next, the same data were used to extend the study to a mesoscopic and a macroscopic level. The mesoscopic level deals with the effects of rain on platoons, and the macroscopic level resides in the analysis of the impact of rain on the fundamental diagram enabling weather-responsive macroscopic traffic simulation. Second, following this approach, an empirical study is carried out from individual data collected on a French interurban motorway. Weather data were provided by a weather station located near the test site. The results exhibit a significant impact of rain on drivers' behavior and traffic operations, which increases with the intensity of rainfall.