Fast or forced to follow: A speed heterogeneous approach to congested multi-lane bicycle traffic simulation

Mads Paulsen*, Thomas Kjær Rasmussen, Otto Anker Nielsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Copenhagen is world-known for its large proportion of cyclists, forming a diverse group with a large variation of equipment and physical abilities. This leads to a considerable speed heterogeneity which needs to be taken into account when modelling the traffic on dedicated bicycle paths. Nevertheless, existing studies on bicycle traffic simulation have either neglected such speed heterogeneity altogether or modelled it by dividing cyclists into a few discrete classes ignoring the entirety of the speed distribution. This paper proposes an efficient bicycle traffic simulation model with continuously speed heterogeneous cyclists and corresponding congestion effects. Based on individual-specific desired speeds and headway distance preferences, the model shows realistic speed-flow relationships validated with on-site observations while being capable of delaying rapid cyclists more often than slower ones in moderate traffic flows. The scalability of the model allows it to be large-scale applicable for network loading purposes, and thus suitable for evaluating impacts of cycling related infrastructure investments.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTransportation Research Part B: Methodological
Pages (from-to)72-98
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Bicycle congestion modeling
  • Bicycle traffic
  • Fundamental diagram
  • Multi-lane traffic
  • Simulation
  • Speed heterogeneity


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