Modelling delay saving through pro-active incident management techniques

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Nicholas B. Taylor
Philippe Nitsche

Purpose: Road traffic incidents cause delay, affect public safety and the environment. The CEDR PRIMA project aims to extend practical guidance for traffic managers in pro-active Traffic Incident Management (TIM) techniques to reduce the impacts and associated costs of incidents.

Methods: The paper describes modelling methods used in the project for assessing the effect of different management techniques on incident duration and travel delay under various scenarios, including collision, adverse weather, heavy vehicle breakdown and other obstruction, assuming various management strategies and generic impacts of novel technologies. Macroscopic simulations of 178 variations of 13 basic scenarios have been performed using a flexible and computationally efficient macroscopic queue model, results being verified by simulation using a velocity-based Cell Transmission Model (CTM-v).

Results: The results of the two modelling methods are broadly consistent. While delays estimated by the two methods can differ by up to 20%, this is small compared to the factor of 30 range of modelled delays caused by incidents, depending on their nature and circumstances, and is not sufficient to affect general conclusions. Under the peak traffic conditions assumed, the most important factor affecting delay is whether running lanes can be kept open, but quick clearance of carriageway is not always feasible.

Conclusions: Comparison of two very different modelling methods confirms their consistency within the context of highly scenario-dependent results, giving confidence in the results. Future research and data needs include further validation of the models, potential application to traffic flow and conflict prediction and incident prevention, and more complete and consistent recording of incident timelines and impacts.

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