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CE 334_ Lecture 3.

Introduction to Traffic Engineering

Road User and Vehicle Characteristics
Role of Transportation in Society

1. Economic
2. Social Role

Role of Transportation
in Society

3. Political Role 4. Environmental



Transportation is about
moving people and not

Car/vehicle-oriented approach (current) People-orie

Low Volume
High Priority

High Priority
 X

High Volume
Low priority

Low priority

 4
People-oriented approach (proposed)

High Volume

High Priority


 Low Volume
Low priority

Strategic Priorities

• Prioritize Public Transport in Urban and

Suburb Area
• Coordinate Transport and Land Use
• Implement TDM, balancing demand and

Introduction to Traffic Engineering

What Is Traffic Engineering?

• Traffic engineering is that phase of engineering that deals with

the improvement of traffic performance on road network and
terminals through systematic traffic studies.

• Traffic engineering applies engineering principles that help

solve transportation problems by considering the psychology
and habits of the transportation system users.

• Application of scientific principals, tools and techniques to

achieve safe and efficient movement of people and goods.
Objectives of Traffic Engineering
• Safety is the primary objective
• Speed (Higher speed means shorter travel
time. Interstate highways encourage long
distance trips.)
• Comfort – Involves the physical
characteristics of vehicles and roadways
• Convenience – The ease of making trips
and the ability of transport systems to
accommodate all travel needs
• Economy – Try to provide the best
possible systems for the money
• Environmental compatibility – Provide
sustainable transport systems
Scope of Traffic Engineering

• Traffic characteristics
• Traffic studies and analysis
• Traffic facility design
• Traffic regulation and control
• Traffic operations
• Transportation systems management
• Traffic safety
• Integration of ITS technologies
Components of Road Transport System

Five components : (i) Other road users (ii) Vehicle

(iii) Highways (Road) (iv) Traffic control devices
(v) General environment
Road User and the Vehicle
Primary Elements

The success of transportation engineering depends upon

the co-ordination between the two primary elements,
namely the vehicles and the road users.

Their characteristics affect the performance of the

transportation system and the transportation engineer
should have fairly good understanding about them.
Road User

The traffic engineer has to design and operate the traffic

facilities which will be used by pedestrians, cyclist and

A knowledge of how this behaviour is influenced by various

external conditions will be useful in designing the facility.
Diversity (Behaviors)

Driver and other roads have widely varying characteristics.

Traffic controls could be easily designed if all drivers reacted

to them in exactly the same way.

The traffic engineer must deal with elderly drivers as well as

18-year-olds aggressive drivers and timid drivers. And
drivers subject to myriad distractions both inside and
outside their vehicles.
Human behaviour can be studies under the following groups

(i) Physiological
(ii) Psychological
• Physiological
(i) Vision –
Visual acuity,
Peripheral vision,
Colour vision,
Glare Recovery,
Depth/Distance Judgment.

(ii) Hearing
Vision :

Zone of acute vision or visual acuity is formed by a

cone whose angle is 3◦ about the centre of the retina
- Ability to see small objects 3-10 ◦ objects with in this
cone user can read.
- 10-12 ◦ color & shape can be Identified

This is important when locating traffic signs & signals

Peripheral vision deals with the total visual field for

the 2 eyes with in this field the eyes are able to see
object, but W\O clear details & color

The angle of Peripheral Vision is about 160 ◦ in

horizontal & 115◦ in vertical (Indian case study)
The angle of peripheral vision falls with speed. It has values of 110
degrees at 30 kmph and 40 degrees at 100 kmph. This emphasizes
the need for travel at safe speeds.

Color Vision : It is important for different traffic signal light &

traffic signs

Glare Recovery:- The ability of the drivers eyes to adapt to

glare due to head light or variation in lighting conditions is an
important factor. The glare recovery time varies from 3-6 sec.

Depth/Distance Judgment : The ability to judge the depth &

dist of an objects & its speed, pedestrian crossing

To alert the Road user, Defective hearing is not a very serious