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Discrete Dynamics in Nature and Society
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 791743, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/791743
Research Article

Impacts of Snowy Weather Conditions on Expressway Traffic Flow Characteristics

Beijing Key Laboratory of Traffic Engineering, Beijing University of Technology, No. 100, Pingleyuan, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100124, China

Received 13 September 2012; Revised 11 January 2013; Accepted 11 January 2013

Academic Editor: Wuhong Wang

Copyright © 2013 Jiancheng Weng et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Snowy weather will significantly degrade expressway operations, reduce service levels, and increase driving difficulty. Furthermore, the impact of snow varies in different types of roads, diverse cities, and snow densities due to different driving behavior. Traffic flow parameters are essential to decide what should be appropriate for weather-related traffic management and control strategies. This paper takes Beijing as a case study and analyzes traffic flow data collected by detectors in expressways. By comparing the performance of traffic flow under normal and snowy weather conditions, this paper quantitatively describes the impact of adverse weather on expressway volume and average speeds. Results indicate that average speeds on the Beijing expressway under heavy snow conditions decrease by 10–20 km/h when compared to those under normal weather conditions, the vehicle headway generally increases by 2–4 seconds, and the road capacity drops by about 33%. This paper also develops a specific expressway traffic parameter reduction model which proposes reduction coefficients of expressway volumes and speeds under various snow density conditions in Beijing. The conclusions paper provide effective foundational parameters for urban expressway controls and traffic management under snow conditions.