Macroscopic Traffic Dynamics in Urban Networks during Incidents
The degradation of road network performance due to incidents is a major concern to traffic operators. The development of urban traffic incident management systems requires a comprehensive understanding of traffic dynamics during incidents. Recently, the concept of the macroscopic fundamental diagram (MFD) contributed to such an understanding and has been used in a wide range of applications. However, the MFD is merely reproducible under recurring traffic patterns. Motivated by a few studies which argue the existence of the MFD with a clockwise hysteresis loop during incidents, we tackle this limitation of the MFD and propose a framework to study the characteristics of the MFD under non-recurring congestion. More specifically, we introduce a criticality score (CS) which represents network redundancy and postulate that links with a higher level of CS impose a larger hysteresis loop on the MFD. We design an experiment in a microscopic traffic simulation to study the relation of closed links and the resulting MFDs. The results confirm our postulation and we observe that links with similar CS have a comparable impact on the shape of the MFD. The main contribution of this paper is the possibility to develop a framework for incident detection in urban networks under limited sensor coverage. However, the findings of the study may strongly rely on the assumptions, for instance, the network structure, the OD pairs, and drivers route choice during incidents. Thus, future studies are required to study other network topologies as well as more realistic driver route choice during incidents.