Observing freeway ramp merging phenomena in congested traffic

Majid Sarvi, Masao Kuwahara, Avishai Ceder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


This work conducts a comprehensive investigation of traffic behavior and characteristics during freeway ramp merging under congested traffic conditions. On the Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway, traffic congestion frequently occurs at merging bottleneck sections, especially during heavy traffic demand. The Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway public corporation, generally applies different empirical strategies to increase the flow rate and decrease the accident rate at the merging sections. However, these strategies do not rely either on any behavioral characteristics of the merging traffic or on the geometric design of the merging segments. There have been only a few research publications concerned with traffic behavior and characteristics in these situations. Therefore, a three-year study is undertaken to investigate traffic behavior and characteristics during the merging process under congested situations. Extensive traffic data capturing a wide range of traffic and geometric information were collected using detectors, videotaping, and surveys at eight interchanges in Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway. Maximum discharged flow rate from the head of the queue at merging sections in conjunction with traffic and geometric characteristics were analyzed. In addition, lane changing maneuver with respect to the freeway and ramp traffic behaviors were examined. It is believed that this study provides a thorough understanding of the freeway ramp merging dynamics. In addition, it forms a comprehensive database for the development and implementation of congestion management techniques at merging sections utilizing Intelligent Transportation System.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-170
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Advanced Transportation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Automotive Engineering
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Strategy and Management


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