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Passenger car equivalent for heavy vehicles crossing turbo-roundabouts

  • Autori: Giuffre', O; Grana', A; Marino, S; Galatioto, F;
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2016
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
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Turbo-roundabouts represent an innovative scheme of modern roundabouts which provides a spiraling traffic flow and requires drivers to choose their direction before entering the intersection, since raised lane separators mark the lanes on the ring. The configuration of the turbo-roundabout makes that patterns of conflict at entries with one and two conflicting traffic streams can coexist. This paper presents research efforts aimed at measuring quantitatively the effect of heavy vehicles on operational conditions of a turbo-roundabout. The study starts from the initial belief that the greatest constraints to the vehicular trajectories imposed by the turbo-roundabout necessarily imply that the impact of heavy vehicles on the quality of traffic flow is more unfavorable than on other modern roundabouts. Microsimulation revealed as a useful tool when the variation of the traffic quality in turbo-roundabouts should be evaluated in presence of mixed fleets, each having different percentages of heavy vehicles; indeed, it allowed to isolate traffic conditions difficult to observe on field and replicate them to have a number of data as much as possible numerous. Entry capacity values for each entry lane of the turbo-roundabout were obtained by microsimulation, varying the percentage of heavy vehicles for entering flows. Nonlinear regression analysis of simulation data allowed to derive the behavioral parameters for heterogeneous populations of users and, ultimately, composed exclusively of heavy vehicles. The capacity functions thus obtained allowed us to determine how the passenger car equivalent (PCE) varies with the percentage of heavy vehicles and circulating flows for each entry lane of the turbo-roundabout. The results of this study indicate that there is a need to distinguish the impact of heavy vehicles when analyzing the capacity of a turbo-roundabout. When the traffic stream contains a significant number of heavy vehicles, a larger PCE effect would be expected. This effect should be accounted for in the estimation of the turbo-roundabout capacity. Lastly it should be emphasized that an important aspect of the research consists in having identified a methodology for assessing the impact of heavy vehicles on the quality of traffic flow, that can be applied to different patterns of intersection.