Using lateral position information as a measure of driver behaviour around MCVs

Lennie, Sandra C. & Bunker, Jonathan M. (2005) Using lateral position information as a measure of driver behaviour around MCVs. Road and Transport Research: a journal of Australian and New Zealand research and practice, 14(3), pp. 62-77.


Multi-combination vehicles (MCV) are road freight vehicles with a prime mover towing two or more trailers. These vehicles are common in regional Australia; however there is a growing need from the freight industry to allow them to use a larger network of urban roads, where the surrounding passenger car drivers are not typically exposed to their presence. To evaluate the full impacts of MCVs, all issues must be considered from productivity and economic benefit, to infrastructure damage, safety implications, congestion impacts, environmental/amenity effects and psychological effects of other road users. The research aims to compare the behavioural characteristics of vehicles surrounding MCVs and other general access vehicles.
Video footage was collected on a two-lane, two-way urban motorway that provides access to the Port of Brisbane, Australia. The route is currently designated a B-Double route. It experiences high traffic volumes with a one-way AADT of approximately 33,500. The footage was recorded on a level and straight stretch of road, away from any off/on ramps. An overpass was used to position the camera high above the centre of the carriageway. The study showed that passenger car behaviour changes around heavy vehicles (semi-trailers and B-doubles) when compared to passenger cars; however, there is no significant difference in passenger car behaviour around semi-trailers than B-doubles. Just less than 95% of passenger car drivers felt comfortable enough to stay within the marked lanes when travelling adjacent to semi-trailers and B-doubles. B-double drivers and semi-trailer drivers adopt similar lateral positions within the lane. As level of service worsened and hence headways become smaller, drivers appeared to compensate by increasing their lateral separation/position. As traffic conditions become heavier, the lateral position of all vehicles became more precise as noticed by the smaller standard deviations in lateral position. Comparisons of behaviour changes in the lateral sense have an important outcome for industry. Lane width guidelines are set to include allowances for vehicle width, tracking ability and lateral drift. The results of this research inform road agencies of the behavioural impacts when authorising MCV access into urban traffic environments.

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2 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 2360
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: multi, combination vehicle, heavy vehicle, urban road network, driver behaviour, headway, level of service, lateral position
ISSN: 1037-5783
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > TECHNOLOGY (100000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > CIVIL ENGINEERING (090500) > Transport Engineering (090507)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2005 (please consult author)
Copyright Statement: Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Deposited On: 04 Nov 2005 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:17

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