Journal article

The effect of variability of urban systems characteristics in the network capacity

Recent experimental analysis has shown that some types of urban networks exhibit a low scatter reproducible relationship between average network flow and density, known as the macroscopic fundamental diagram (MFD). It has also been shown that heterogeneity in the spatial distribution of density can significantly decrease the network flow for the same value of density. Analytical theories have been developed to explore the connection between network structure and an MFD for urban neighborhoods with cars controlled by traffic signals. However these theories have been applied only in cities with deterministic values of topological and control variables for the whole network and by ignoring the effect of turns. In our study we are aiming to generate an MFD for streets with variable link lengths and signal characteristics and understand the effect of variability for different cities and signal structures. Furthermore, this variability gives the opportunity to mimic the effect of turning movements. Route or network capacity can be significantly smaller than the capacity of a single link, because of the correlations developed through the different values of offsets. The above analysis would not be possible using standard traffic engineering techniques. This will be a key issue in planning the signal regimes such a way that maximizes the network capacity and/or the density range of the maximum capacity.

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