Multichannel queueing behaviour in urban bicycle traffic
The objective of this paper is to propose a method to analyse and describe cyclists’ behaviour at signalized intersections with specific focus on the multichannel (multi-lane) queue phenomenon. As we observed, cyclists form queues without a fixed-lane and FIFO discipline, for which the classical, car-oriented analytical approach becomes insufficient. Cyclists’ multichannel queueing behaviour is common and characterized by substantial degree of variability, especially in case of shorter queues which emerge regularly at cycle crossings. Although cyclist behaviour has been widely studied by transportation research community, their queueing behaviour picture is still incomplete. Namely, there is no method addressed to analyse the full scope of these phenomena and to quantify their impact on the cyclist queue performance.
To bridge this gap, we introduce the technique to observe multichannel queues and report relevant observations, which we then complement with a methodological framework to analyse obtained results and provide a complete multichannel queue description. We video-record cyclists as they enqueue to one of multiple channels, form the queue and smoothly merge into a single lane again as the queue discharges. We apply the method to analyse results from a pilot study of 160 cyclists forming 50 queues in the city of Krakow, Poland. The proposed method allows us to analyse and quantify the observed queue performance and its characteristics: the number of channels, their emergence process, channel and queue lengths, discharge process with FIFO violations, starting and discharging times. Findings from pilot study reveal that both queue length and discharge times strongly depend on queue formation process.
The contribution of this paper is the method to describe multichannel cyclist queueing behaviour, enriching current picture of bicycle flow and cyclists’ behaviour. Since the method has been developed on relatively short queues (up to 10 cyclists), findings included in this paper primarily refer to such queue sizes. Nonetheless, the method is formulated in a generic way, applicable also for longer bicycle queues. Possible practical implications are new estimates for queue lengths and discharge times - useful for bicycle infrastructure design and traffic engineering purposes.