Effects of Heavy Vehicles on Dynamic Traffic Features

Quarterly Reports Other Documents Final Report
Final Report

Primary Investigators

Soyoung Ahn
Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering
University of Wisconsin-Madison


Traffic congestion on highways has been growing in urban areas where freight transportation hubs reside, affecting the efficiency and reliability of freight transportation. This research will investigate the effects of heavy vehicles on dynamic traffic patterns that substantially affect highway performance. To understand the underlying mechanisms, this research will analyze and model car-following and lane-change behavior involving heavy vehicles. These models will be used to simulate various traffic scenarios to examine the impact of heavy vehicles on bottleneck capacity drop and characteristics of stop-and-go oscillations. Potential impacts of Connected Vehicle technology for heavy vehicles will also be evaluated. Simulated vehicle trajectories will be used for obtaining travel time distributions for uncertainty assessment. The intent of this research is to help develop effective controls that can improve overall highway traffic operations while accommodating freight vehicles, an important step in improving the reliability of freight transportation.


(i) Investigate the effects of heavy vehicles on two important traffic phenomena: bottleneck capacity drop and stop-and-go oscillations; (ii) Estimate the resulting impact on travel time variability; (iii) Evaluate the potential impacts of emerging technologies (e.g., Connected Vehicle).


  1. Data collection
  2. Analysis and modeling of car-following behavior with heavy vehicles
  3. Analysis and modeling of lane-changing behavior with heavy vehicles
  4. Simulation experiment
  5. Analysis of traffic mobility

Project Information

  • Duration: 12 months
  • Dates: 9/1/2014 – 8/31/2015
  • Budget: $94,703 (UTC funds) and $94,703 (match funds)
  • Student Involvement: One graduate student
  • Modal Orientation: Highway
  • Project ID: CFIRE 09-08
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