Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Civil Engineering

Major Professor

Lee D. Han

Committee Members

Christopher Cherry, Xueping Li, Stephen H. Richards


The performances of intersections and driveway access points are crucial to a road network in terms of efficiency and safety. Driver behavior and traffic flow characteristics at these locations are relatively complex. To better understand these issues and potentially provide guidance to engineers in their designs, a series of studies were performed on the driver behavior and traffic characteristics at intersections and driveway access points based on field experiments or observations.

First, a countdown timers study was performed in China about their influences on driver behavior. It was found that the presence of countdown timers may encourage yellow running behavior and late entry into intersections in China. Second, a phase gradient method was proposed for the general application purpose to the studies of driver behavior and traffic characteristics at signalized intersections. A case study on red-light cameras was performed at Knoxville, TN. Third, a study was performed to learn the legal issues and arguments about the usage of red-light cameras for the purpose of generating profits. A variety of engineering measures, mainly dealing with the setting of the traffic signal, which could be potentially used by municipalities or camera vendors to trap red-light runners and thus generating more revenues from the camera system are discussed. Finally, an experiment was conducted to simulate the right-turn issues, which impact the safety and operation efficiency at intersections or driveway access points. Two turn lane geometric parameters, angle-of-turn and tangent, and their influences on driver behavior and traffic flow characteristics were studied.

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