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Traffic Flow Theory: Theory and Concepts

Types of Traffic Flow

Traffic flow can be divided into two primary types. Understanding what type of flow is occurring in a given situation will help you decide which analysis methods and descriptions are the most relevant.

The first type is called uninterrupted flow, and is flow regulated by vehicle-vehicle interactions and interactions between vehicles and the roadway. For example, vehicles traveling on an interstate highway are participating in uninterrupted flow.

The second type of traffic flow is called interrupted flow. Interrupted flow is flow regulated by an external means, such as a traffic signal. Under interrupted flow conditions, vehicle-vehicle interactions and vehicle-roadway interactions play a secondary role in defining the traffic flow.