Postprint version. Published in Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Volume 36, Issue 8, October 1, 2002, pages 683-697.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Robert Bertini was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/S0965-8564(01)00030-1.
Details of traffic evolution were studied upstream and downstream of a freeway bottleneck located near a busy on-ramp. It is shown that on certain days the bottleneck became active upon dissipation of a queue emanating from somewhere further downstream. On such occasions, the bottleneck occurred at a fixed location, approximately one kilometer downstream of the merge. Notably, even after the dissipation of a downstream queue, the discharge flows in the active bottleneck were nearly constant, since the cumulative counts never deviated much from a linear trend. The average bottleneck discharge flows were also reproducible from day to day. The diagnostic tools used in this study were curves of cumulative vehicle arrival number versus time and cumulative occupancy versus time constructed from data measured at neighboring freeway loop detectors. Once suitably transformed, these cumulative curves provided the measurement resolution necessary to observe the transitions between freely flowing and queued conditions and to identify some important traffic features.
Civil and Environmental Engineering