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Effect of speed limits on the capacity

Many sections of freeways in the Netherlands have experienced an increase in the legal limit since the implementation of the 130 km/h general limit on freeways in September 2012. However, because of the current crisis regarding the nitrogen-dioxide policy of the national government, speed limits on certain sections around nature parks have been reduced and it has been planned to reduce the speed limits on all freeways between 06:00 and 19:00 to 100 km/h to further combat the emissions of nitrogen-dioxides. There are reasons to suspect that higher speed limits may lead to lower flow due to more disturbances in the stream, caused by more frequent lane changing maneuvers and stronger braking behavior, and smaller headways between vehicles, due to irritated drivers that want to drive the speed but are constrained by their slower predecessor. Because it is not yet clear whether significantly different capacity levels can be experienced under different speed limits, this project studies the relation between those two variables.

Start date: October 1, 2019
End date: September 10, 2020

Research topic:
Traffic management

Research question:
Speed limits and their effects

Speed limits and their effect on capacity