A Study of Lane Change Frequency on a Multilane Freeway


Traffic flow characteristics like volume, density and speed are used to calibrate and validate current simulation models. However, these models do not validate microscopic characteristic like lane changing behavior of drivers. To get realistic results in terms of each lane of a freeway, the frequency of lane changes should be accounted for in validation of simulation models. A study of lane change frequency on a multilane freeway on I-80 California is presented in this paper. A half a mile section with five lanes, an on-ramp and a shoulder lane drop is studied. The numbers of lane changes in terms of origin and destination lanes and their percentages with respect to the entrance volume are presented for each freeway lane. Comparisons of lane change frequency towards the shoulder lane and towards the median lane are carried out. The lane changes are classified into anticipatory, mandatory and discretionary lane changes on the basis of observed data. Due to mandatory lane changes, near the vicinity of entrance gore, a zone of intense lane change has been identified. This zone is prone to higher frequency of accidents as a result of higher number of conflicting points. As the shoulder lane drops, a late mandatory merge is identified downstream of the section. This late mandatory merge accounts for about 29% of the total vehicles moving from the shoulder lane to the adjacent lane.

Meeting Name

AATT Applications of Advanced Technology in Transportation 9th International Conference 2006


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Lane Change Frequency; Speed; Traffic flow

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2006 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2006