Experimental study for estimating capacity of cycle lanes. Transportation Research Procedia 8
Keywords: Saturation flow, Cyclists, cycle lanes, cycle tracks, capacity.
Today some cycle lanes are reaching high levels of flow. Clear examples are the cycle-track Pocuro in Santiago de Chile and the cycle-lane Tavistock Square in London. The problem presented in this research is the lack of measurements for estimating the capacity of cycle lanes at traffic signals. Therefore, it cannot be identified through indicators whether cycle lanes are saturated or not. For this reason there is no record of the capacity they can offer. As a methodology we established four steps. Firstly, we measured the physical and operational variables of cycle lanes, and we investigated about international studies related to their capacities. Then we used the approach of the Road Note 34 (RRL, 1963) to measure the saturation flow and transient periods of cycle lanes, taking as case study Santiago de Chile and London. In addition, we defined different scenarios of experiments. Finally, the results were transformed into design recommendations to provide an adequate level of service for cyclists. The main results of this research shows that the saturation flow grows almost linearly with the width. When cyclists formed in lanes, the saturation flow increased only if a new lane was formed. In the case of the cycle-track Pocuro, for a width of 1.0 m the saturation flow reached 2070 bicycle/h-lane. If the width increased to 2.0 m, the saturation flow reached 4657 bicycle/h-lane. In relation to Tavistock Square, this cycle-lane (width of 1.0 m) reached a saturation flow of 4320 bicycle/h-lane. As a conclusion, this research can be used by traffic engineers to estimate the saturation flow of cycle lanes and delays of cyclists at traffic signals. This in turn can help in designing cycle facilities at transport infrastructures. The validation of our investigation can also help transport planners with the calculation of the capacity, optimum width, comfort, and other operational costs of cycle lanes.
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