A kinematic wave approach to traffic statics and dynamics in a double-ring network

Wen Long Jin, Qi Jian Gan, Vikash V. Gayah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Recently there has been much interest in understanding macroscopic fundamental diagrams of stationary road networks. However, there lacks a systematic method to define and solve stationary states in a road network with complex junctions. In this study we propose a kinematic wave approach to defining, analyzing, and simulating static and dynamic traffic characteristics in a network of two ring roads connected by a 2 × 2 junction, which can be either an uninterrupted interchange or a signalized intersection. This study is enabled by recently developed macroscopic junction models of general junctions. With a junction model based on fair merging and first-in-first-out diverging rules, we first define and solve stationary states and then derive the macroscopic fundamental diagram (MFD) of a stationary uninterrupted network. We conclude that the flow-density relationship of the uninterrupted double-ring network is not unique for high average network densities (i.e., when one ring becomes congested) and unveil the existence of infinitely many stationary states that can arise with a zero-speed shockwave. From simulation results with a corresponding Cell Transmission Model, we verify that all stationary states in the MFD are stable and can be reached, but show that randomness in the retaining ratio of each ring drives the network to more symmetric traffic patterns and higher flow-rates. Furthermore we model a signalized intersection as two alternate diverge junctions and demonstrate that the signalized double-ring network can reach asymptotically periodic traffic patterns, which are therefore defined as "stationary" states in signalized networks. With simulations we show that the flow-density relation is well defined in such "stationary" states, and asymptotic traffic patterns can be impacted by signal cycle lengths and retaining ratios. But compared with uninterrupted interchanges, signalized intersections lead to more asymmetric traffic patterns, lower flow-rates, and even gridlocks when the average density is higher than half of the jam density. The results are consistent between this study and existing studies, but the network kinematic wave model, with appropriate junction models, is mathematically tractable and physically meaningful. It has offered a more complete picture regarding the number and type of stationary states, their stability, and MFD in freeway and signalized networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-131
Number of pages18
JournalTransportation Research Part B: Methodological
StatePublished - Nov 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation


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