A PHD-DES Framework for the Performance Assessment of Multi-lane Highways Under Random Traffic Flow

  • Afaq KhattakEmail author
  • Arshad Hussain
  • Fahad Ibrahim
Research Article - Civil Engineering


Multi-lane highways are used to channel the traffic between collector roads and freeways, such as urban arterial roads. Their capacity is moderate to high, and they are designed to balance traffic mobility with accessibility. Traditionally, the assessment of multi-lane highways’ level of service (LOS) is based on the Highway Capacity Manual (HCM). The HCM method, however, does not take into account randomness in vehicle flow as well as state-dependent vehicle speed on multi-lane highways, which does not represent actual conditions. A discrete-event simulation (DES) framework using the phase-type distribution (PHD) is developed to assist the traffic and highway designers in measuring average number of vehicles and dwelling time of vehicles on the multi-lane highway section as well as compute the level of service (LOS) in case of uniform and random traffic flow. Performance assessment by PHD-DES framework under different design parameter settings shows that the arrival rate of the vehicle, squared coefficient of variation (SCV) in the arrival interval and number of lanes affect the LOS of multi-lane highways considerably. The length of the multi-lane section also affects the performance measure and LOS, which the HCM method ignores. The proposed PHD-DES framework will assist the road traffic and highway designers in making smart decisions.


Multi-lane highway Discrete-event simulation framework Phase-type distribution Level of service 



We express a grave acknowledgment to the members of National United Engineering Laboratory of Integrated and Intelligent Transportation in Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu, for their knowledge sharing and guidance. We also acknowledge the students of Dept. of Civil Engineering, International Islamic University Islamabad, for their efforts in data collection.


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Copyright information

© King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringInternational Islamic UniversityIslamabadPakistan
  2. 2.School of Transportation and LogisticsSouthwest Jiaotong UniversityChengduChina
  3. 3.National Institute of Civil Engineering, National University of Sciences and TechnologyIslamabadPakistan
  4. 4.Taxila Institute of Transportation Engineering, University of Engineering and TechnologyTaxilaPakistan

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