The Effects of Network Characteristics on Traffic Flows and Emissions

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CAIT project no.: CAIT-UTC-022

Fiscal Year: 2012/2013

Status: Final

Rutgers-CAIT Author(s): Eric J. Gonzales, Ph.D., Patrick Szary, Ph.D.

External Author(s): Keith Miller

Sponsor(s): North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, FHWA - RITA



The objective of this research is to use state-of-the-art macroscopic traffic models to relate the characteristics of a street network (e.g., block lengths, signal settings, road widths, etc.) and the level of travel demand to aggregated properties of the traffic demand (e.g., number of vehicle stops, total vehicle hours cruising, total vehicle hours idling, etc.). This relationship will provide the inputs to state-of-the-art greenhouse gas emissions models as developed through EPA MOVES.  The resulting methodology and tools will describe the relationship between network characteristics and network-wide emissions.  These results will be useful for developing insights about the environmental performance of urban street networks in general, and provide a foundation for studying specific networks and improvement plans on real street networks.  Achieving this objective entails three parts. (1) Develop an analytical tool to relate network characteristics to the aggregate greenhouse gas emissions. (2) Verify analytical results through simulation of simple street networks with a variety of traffic conditions. (3) Use both the analytical tool and simulations to compare the effects of street network design on aggregate emissions in a systematic way.