Austroads Publications Online

Guide to Traffic Management Part 3: Traffic Studies and Analysis


Publication no: AGTM03-13 Pages: 207
Published: 10 April 2013

Part 3: Traffic Studies and Analysis is concerned with the collection and analysis of traffic data for the purpose of traffic management and traffic control within a network.  It serves as a means to ensure some degree of consistency in conducting traffic studies and surveys.  It provides guidance on the different types of traffic studies and surveys that can be undertaken, their use and application, and methods for traffic data collection and analysis.

Part 3 covers applications of the theory presented in Part 2 of the guide, and provides guidance on traffic analysis for uninterrupted and interrupted flow facilities and for various types of intersections.  It outlines sound methods of analysis for effective traffic management, design and control.

The Second Edition, April 2013, updates previous Austroads guidance on traffic studies and capacity analysis and makes reference to other seminal publications such as the US Highway Capacity Manual (TRB 2010) and the traffic engineering and management handbook from Monash University (2003). This edition  updates guidance on traffic studies and surveys by adding emerging traffic survey technologies in both Section 2 and an additional  Appendix K. Section 2.3.4 Sample size determination is updated and now includes an illustrative example of sample size determination for a before and after study. This edition also provides an updated capacity definition and level of service  criteria for general traffic in Section 3, uninterrupted flow facilities in Section 4,  interrupted flow facilities in Section 5 and intersections in Section 6.  An additional Section 3.4 is provided for pedestrian level of service based on the latest research from both the US and New Zealand. Finally, an additional Section 6.4.5 is provided as a summary of level of service criteria using delay for unsignalised intersections, roundabouts and signalised intersections. 

Guide Update

This Guide is currently being reviewed. We expect to publish an updated edition by late November 2017. 

Table of Contents

1 Introduction
  • 1.1 Scope and Context
  • 1.2 Introduction to Traffic Studies and Traffic Analysis
  • 1.3 Structure of this Part
2 Traffic Studies and Surveys
  • 2.1 Traffic Studies and Data Needs
  • 2.2 Planning and Designing Traffic Studies
  • 2.2.1 Systems Approach to Traffic Studies
  • 2.2.2 Preliminary Planning
  • 2.2.3 Sample and Experimental Design
  • 2.2.4 Survey Form Design
  • 2.2.5 Pilot Survey
  • 2.2.6 Conducting Surveys
  • 2.2.7 Data Coding and Entry
  • 2.2.8 Data Analysis
  • 2.2.9 Presentation of Results
  • 2.2.10 Archiving
  • 2.3 Statistical Methods and Sampling
  • 2.3.1 Statistical Methods
  • 2.3.2 Sampling Methods
  • 2.3.3 Sampling Error and Bias
  • 2.3.4 Sample Size Determination
  • 2.4 Data Integrity
  • 2.5 Traffic Surveys
  • 2.5.1 Traffic Volume Surveys (Appendix A)
  • 2.5.2 Speed Surveys (Appendix B)
  • 2.5.3 Travel Time, Queuing and Delay Surveys (Appendix C)
  • 2.5.4 Origin-destination Surveys (Appendix D)
  • 2.5.5 Pedestrian and Bicycle Surveys (Appendix E)
  • 2.5.6 Noise, Fuel and Emission Surveys (Appendix F)
  • 2.5.7 Vehicle Mass and Dimension Surveys (Appendix G)
  • 2.5.8 Parking Surveys (Appendix H)
  • 2.5.9 Traffic Generation Surveys (Appendix I)
3 Traffic Analysis – Capacity and Level of Service
  • 3.1 Types of Traffic Facilities
  • 3.2 Capacity, Level of Service, Degree of Saturation
  • 3.2.1 Capacity
  • 3.2.2 Level of Service (LOS)
  • 3.2.3 Service Flow Rate
  • 3.2.4 Degree of Saturation
  • 3.3 Factors Affecting Capacity, Level of Service, Degree of Saturation
  • 3.3.1 Ideal Conditions
  • 3.3.2 Roadway Conditions
  • 3.3.3 Terrain Conditions
  • 3.3.4 Traffic Composition
  • 3.3.5 Pedestrians and Cyclists
  • 3.3.6 Driver Population
  • 3.3.7 Control Conditions
  • 3.4 Pedestrian Level of Service
  • 3.4.1 Basic Concepts
  • 3.4.2 Using LOS in the Assessment of Crossing Facilities
  • 3.4.3 Walkability and Perceived Levels of Service
  • 3.4.4 Multimodal Level of Service
4 Uninterrupted flow facilities
  • 4.1 Single Lane Flow
  • 4.1.1 Capacity
  • 4.2 Two-lane Two-way Roads
  • 4.3 Multi-lane Roads
  • 4.4 Freeways
  • 4.4.1 Basic Freeway Segments
  • 4.4.2 Ramps and Ramp Junctions
  • 4.4.3 Weaving Sections
5 Interrupted Flow Facilities
  • 5.1 Metered Flow
  • 5.1.1 Capacity
  • 5.1.2 Queue Lengths and Delays
  • 5.2 Urban Arterial Roads with Interrupted Flow
  • 5.2.1 Capacity
  • 5.2.2 Descriptions of Levels of Service
6 Intersections
  • 6.1 Unsignalised Intersections
  • Determining the conflicting streams
  • Critical acceptance headway and follow-up headway
  • Impedance factors
  • Two-stage crossing
  • Levels of service criteria
  • Recommended analysis procedures
  • Storage requirements
  • 6.2 Roundabouts
  • 6.3 Traffic Simulation and Computer Analysis Models
  • 6.4 Signalised Intersections
  • 6.4.1 Concepts and Definitions
  • 6.4.2 Capacity Analysis
  • 6.4.3 Measures of Intersection Performance
  • 6.4.4 Signal Calculations
  • 6.4.5 Summary of LOS Criteria Using Delay
Appendix A Traffic volume surveys
  • A.1 Methods of Counting
  • A.1.1 Manual Traffic Counting
  • A.1.2 Automatic Traffic Counting
  • A.2 Sources of Counting Error
  • A.3 Estimation and Accuracy Requirements
  • A.4 Measurement and Estimation of AADT
  • A.4.1 Daily and Seasonal Variations in Traffic Volume
  • A.4.2 Counting Stations
  • A.4.3 Estimation of AADT
  • A.4.4 Estimation of Design Hourly Volume from AADT
  • A.4.5 Estimation of Vehicle Kilometres of Travel (VKT)
  • A.5 Vehicle Classification
  • A.5.1 Needs for Vehicle Classification Data
  • A.5.2 Vehicle Classification Systems
  • A.5.3 Methods of Collecting Vehicle Classification Data
  • A.6 Data Analysis and Presentation
  • A.6.1 Estimated AADT
  • A.6.2 Seasonal Patterns and Trends
  • A.6.3 Turning Movements at Intersections
Appendix B Speed Surveys
  • B.1 Definitions
  • B.1.1 Speeds on Curves
  • B.2 Methods of Speed Data Collection
  • B.2.1 Methods Involving Timing
  • B.2.2 Microwave Radar Gun Using Doppler Effect
  • B.2.3 Direct Measurement Using Laser Guns
  • B.2.4 Methods Involving Video
  • B.2.5 Global Positioning System
  • B.3 Sample Selection
  • B.3.1 Selecting a Target Population
  • B.3.2 Behavioural Factors
  • B.3.3 Sample Size for Speed Studies
  • B.7 Data Analysis and Presentation of Results
  • B.8 Conclusions on Speed Surveys
Appendix C Travel Time, Queuing and Delay Surveys
  • C.1 Travel Time Surveys
  • C.1.1 Moving Observer Methods
  • C.1.2 Stationary Observer Methods
  • C.1.3 Transit and Bus Lane Surveys Using GPS
  • C.2 Queuing Survey
  • C.3 Traffic Delay Surveys
  • C.3.1 Definition of Delay
  • C.3.2 Measurement of Intersection Delay
  • C.4 Data Analysis and Presentation of Results
Appendix D Origin-Desitination Surveys
  • D.1 Types of Origin-Destination Surveys
  • D.1.1 Numberplate Technique
  • D.1.2 Roadside Interview Technique
  • D.1.3 Postcard Survey
  • D.1.4 Headlight Survey
  • D.1.5 Windscreen Sticker Survey
  • D.1.6 Registration Address Survey
  • D.2 Conducting a Numberplate Survey
  • D.2.1 Defining a Cordon
  • D.2.2 Setting the Survey Time
  • D.2.3 Setting the Sample Rate
  • D.2.4 Selecting the Characters to be Recorded
  • D.2.5 Field Data Collection
  • D.3 Sources of Error in Origin-destination Surveys
  • D.3.1 Errors in Data Recording
  • D.3.2 Start-up and Shut-down Errors
  • D.3.3 Confused Characters
  • D.3.4 Spurious Matchings
  • D.4 Data Analysis and Presentation of Results
  • D.4.1 Analysis of Numberplate Data
  • D.4.2 Presentation of Results
  • D.5 Summary
Appendix E Pedestrian and Bicycle Surveys
  • E.1 Pedestrian Survey Methods
  • E.1.1 Pedestrian Counts
  • E.1.2 Pedestrian Audits
  • E.2 Bicycle Survey Methods
  • E.2.1 Manual Bicycle Counts
  • E.2.2 Questionnaire Surveys
  • E.2.3 Bicycle Detection
  • E.2.4 Video
  • E.3 Travel Time and Delay Studies
  • E.4 Behaviour and Conflict Studies
  • E.5 Data Analysis and Results
  • E.6 Future Development
Appendix F Noise, Fuel and Emission Surveys
  • F.1 Traffic Noise
  • F.1.1 The Nature of Noise
  • F.1.2 Noise Indices
  • F.1.3 Surveys of Noise Levels
  • F.1.4 Surveys of Community Reactions
  • F.2 Road Transport Fuels and Emissions
  • F.2.1 Fuel and Emission Types
  • F.2.2 Air Pollution
  • F.2.3 Surveys of Fuel Consumption and Emissions
Appendix G Vehicle Mass and Dimensions Surveys
  • G.1 Vehicle Dimensions
  • G.2 Vehicle Mass
  • G.3 Vehicle Mass Data Collection Systems
  • G.3.1 Flush-mounted Systems
  • G.3.2 Strain Gauge/Transducer Systems and CULWAY
  • G.4 Tonnage Estimation
  • G.5 Compliance of Weigh-in-motion Technologies
  • G.6 Australian Bureau of Statistics Surveys
  • G.7 Data Analysis and Results
Appendix H Parking Surveys
  • H.1 Data Types
  • H.1.1 Parking Supply Data
  • H.1.2 Parking Demand Data
  • H.2 Interview Surveys
  • H.2.1 Parking Person Interview
  • H.2.2 Reply-paid Questionnaire
  • H.2.3 Home Interview Survey
  • H.2.4 Site-specific Interview Survey
  • H.3 Observational Surveys
  • H.3.1 Use of Parking Revenue Collection Data
  • H.3.2 Cordon Counts
  • H.3.3 Patrol Surveys
  • H.4 Presentation and Analysis of Parking Data
  • H.5 Summary on Parking Surveys
Appendix I Traffic Generation Surveys
  • I.2 Observational Surveys
  • I.3 Interview and Questionnaire Surveys
  • I.4 Summary of Survey Requirements
  • I.5 Forecasting Traffic Impacts
Appendix J Error in Seasonal Adjustment Factor
Appendix K Emerging Traffic Survey Technologies
  • K.1 New Magnetic Vehicle Sensor
  • K.2 Infra-red Axle Sensor
  • K.3 Travel Time Measurement
  • K.3.1 By Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR)
  • K.3.2 By Mobile Phone Tracking
  • K.4 On-board Mass Measurement
Commentary 1
  • C1.1 Uninterrupted Single-lane Flow
  • C1.1.1 Example
  • C1.1.2 Example
  • C1.2 Signalised Intersections
  • C1.2.1 Example
Commentary 2
  • C2.1 Measuring the Gap Acceptance Parameters
  • C2.2 Development of the Australian Analysis Procedure

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