The Influence of Spillback Modelling when Assessing Consequences of Blockings in a Road Network
Robustness of a network is a main objective for road network managers these days, and has therefore become an important study area for transportation scientists. This article discusses one specific aspect in assessing road network robustness: the consequences of the closure of a link. These spillback effects have been examined in a dedicated traffic simulator in which the representation of spillback can be switched on and off. The impacts are studied in a simulation study of a road network of a regional size in which sequentially links are blocked. Two scenarios for route choice are considered: a fixed route choice based on a daily congestion pattern and a route choice adapted to the actual congestion caused by the closure. The study has also shown the influence of information which makes travellers adapt their routes. Road network robustness and characteristics of vulnerable links are evaluated for both spillback and non-spillback cases. It is found that a valid spillback modelling is a prerequisite for correctly analysing the robustness of the network as a whole, as well as for correctly indicating the locations in the network where a closure causes the largest delays. Furthermore, without simulating spillback, it is not possible to identify correctly the most vulnerable links for the network performance.