Calibration of traffic flow models under adverse weather and application in mesoscopic network simulation

Tian Hou, Hani Mahmassani, Roemer Alfelor, Jiwon Kim, Meead Saberi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


The weather-sensitive traffic estimation and prediction system (TrEPS) aims for accurate estimation and prediction of the traffic states under inclement weather conditions. Successful application of weather-sensitive TrEPS requires detailed calibration of weather effects on the traffic flow model. In this study, systematic procedures for the entire calibration process were developed, from data collection through model parameter estimation to model validation. After the development of the procedures, a dual-regime modified Greenshields model and weather adjustment factors were calibrated for four metropolitan areas across the United States (Irvine, California; Chicago, Illinois; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Baltimore, Maryland) by using freeway loop detector traffic data and weather data from automated surface-observing systems stations. Observations showed that visibility and precipitation (rain-snow) intensity have significant impacts on the value of some parameters of the traffic flow models, such as free-flow speed and maximum flow rate, while these impacts can be included in weather adjustment factors. The calibrated models were used as input in a weather-integrated simulation system for dynamic traffic assignment. The results show that the calibrated models are capable of capturing the weather effects on traffic flow more realistically than TrEPS without weather integration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-104
Number of pages13
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number2391
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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