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This chapter will explain to understanding about the overall research to be done such as definition, current issue, purpose and importance that are relevant to this study. This chapter focus on the background of the study, problem statement, objective, scope of work and significant of work. The research outline on the traffic delay at the Permatang Pauh road during the peak hours. The requirement of the objective help to identify the suitable location selection and data collection method. Finally, the chapter explain the significant of doing the research especially to the infrastructure civil engineering field and construction industry


Permatang Pauh is a town in Seberang Perai, the hinterland portion of the island-state of Penang, Malaysia. In Permatang Puah there have three institutions of learning, namely a primary school of Permatang Tok Kandu, campus of Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) and Polytechnic Seberang Perai.

Transportation system is a dynamic system. Information about traffic must be regularly updated to keep pace with ever-changing transportation system. The studies area focus at the critical junction at Permatang Pauh road that will lead to the congestion connected between the flyover highway and roundabout that include this three institutions and residential area. It is located in the middle of the Bukit Mertajam and Kepala Batas.

During the peak hour between 7.00-8.00 a.m. and 5.00-6.00 p.m., I noticed that the congestion frequently occur at this road because of the increasing number of vehicle at that time due to the people going to and back from school, campus and work. This show that the number of people living at this location is higher.

To overcome this situation traffic volume have been proposed to observe the traffic flow trend and movement pattern of vehicle, level of service, type and capacity of the vehicle at Permatang Pauh road by using manual method (tally counter) for the future improvement to reduce the congestion and delay.


1. During the peak hour (7-8 a.m.) and (5-6 p.m.)  the congestion will occur at the specific junction along the Permatang Pauh road because few daily activity occur which is people start going and back from work, student start going to and back from higher institution and primary school. Here a research I needed to study on how to minimize avoid delay based on traffic volume analysis at that peak hour, especially at intersection.

2. The increasing number of vehicle through the Permatang Pauh road is higher during the peak hour and this affected the flow of the traffic due to the narrow lane road to cater high moving vehicle pattern, small business causes stopping vehicle at the roadside and traffic light control system. This cause the delay especially at the junction.

3. Based on the situation the better traffic management must be done by doing some improvement on traffic flow especially at junction due to the different type of vehicle classification by arrange the vehicle movement pattern efficiently and proper traffic light control system to reduce delay and congestion  at the critical time by using manual method of traffic volume study.


The present study is undertaken with the following objectives:-

i. To determine the traffic flow trend and movement pattern at junction.

- The aim to minimum turning path, channelization, and traffic control devices based on approach volume and turning proportions.

ii. To measure vehicle composition and flow fluctuation during the peak hour.

- The aim to measure the effectiveness of a traffic control measure and level of service compared with standard design purpose.


a) The traffic volume count study is carried out to get following useful information:  

i. Magnitudes represented by volume of traffic, classifications of vehicle based on vehicle size and capacity and the time and directional of vehicle movement to identify tidal flow.  

ii. To measure and determine the average daily traffic, passenger car unit, peak hour factor and level of service to ensure the efficiency of traffic flow.

iii. Flow fluctuation on different approaches at a junction or different parts of a road network system.

b) Parameter involves in this study area:

i. Volume or flow

ii. Demand

iii. Capacity

iv. Level of service (LOS)

v. Average daily traffic (ADT)

vi. Passenger car unit  (PCU)

c) Limitation of the study area:

i. The location of the study area focus at the critical junction.

ii. The data analysis conducted during a Monday and Friday.

iii. The data is carried out during the peak hour.

iv. The collection of data only for a 1 hour.

d) Project purpose:

 Improvement purposes:  

 The study carried out at a critical junction in order to know and decide the importance of the road and fixing its relative priority to reduce maintenance budget. In order to improve the roadway operating condition, it is important to know the traffic volume.  

- To examine the existing operating condition of a roadway section.  

- To check the need and suitable traffic control devices.

- To measure the effectiveness of a traffic control system

 Dynamic Traffic Management Purposes:  

The latest and continuous congestion information is essential for optimizing:-

- Traffic signal design and thereby improving junction performance  

- Network productivity by providing information to the road user.

- Movement of vehicle at the right position to reduce delay and congestion.


The main purpose of this study is to enhance the understanding what cause that effected the congestion at the study area and how it can reduce the time delay. A good traffic management system help to organize better traffic flow pattern and proper timing for traffic light system. The increasing capacity of vehicle cause the flow of the traffic become slow. So here, the traffic volume study have been conducted in way to analysis the vehicle turning movement, type of vehicle on the road and stopping vehicle at the road side. With the help of Minitab software for statically analysis and Vissim software. The project will show all the needed information for future improvement such as design of road intersections, planning signal timings and channelization for turning movement of vehicle through the road.

The knowledge gain from the study and finding of the project should be able to contribute some extra information and solution by considering the road condition, traffic light control system and vehicle classification and movement in term of time, safety and cost in order to improve efficiency of traffic flow in the future which is significantly to the field of the Civil Engineering (Infrastructure). The community will gain a lot of benefit from the improvement especially for the student and worker to start their daily activity going to and back form campus or work comfortable and minimum congestion.


This chapter present the traffic volume study research by doing some improvement from the previous researcher in the relevant topic. Literature is the process of acquiring and reviewing related journal, articles, research paper and scientific finding for the purpose to obtain more information regarding the study as a guidance and reference for the method proposed. Comparison of the literature acquired can be made in order to find the research gap. The chapter overview will cover the definition of the traffic volume study, parameter involves, type of count, method traffic volume, counting period and finally summarized the previous related research finding.


The traffic engineer must acquire general knowledge of traffic volume characteristics in order to understand and measure the direction, composition, time and route condition to design the effective road (Haque, Sanchari, Md. Aminul, Rana, Md. Ridwan & Md. Mehedi, 2013). Traffic volume data are required in research, planning, designing and improvement of traffic engineering and also used in establishing priorities and schedules of traffic improvements.

In this project, traffic volume studies are conducted to determine the number of vehicle, turning movements, vehicle classifications of roadway and cycle length of traffic signal control system at a study area. These information can help identify critical time traffic flow, determine the influence of large vehicles, pedestrians on vehicular traffic flow or identify the effect of vehicle movement direction on the road (Wilk & Moreau, 2009).

  The number of the sampling period depends on the time and type of count being taken at the location. In the traffic volume study by Garber & Hoel (2009), the data collection can be used to determine the average daily traffic, peak hour factor, peak hour volume, design hour factor and passenger car unit to improve the efficiency of traffic management.


i. Peak Hour Volume

The maximum number of vehicles that pass a point on a highway during a period of 60 consecutive minute that uses the approach, lane, or lane group during the hour of the day that observes the highest traffic volumes for junction. This parameter mainly used for Functional classification of highways, Design of the geometric characteristics of a highway and Capacity analysis.

ii. Peak Hour Factor (PHF)

The hourly volume during the maximum volume hour of the day divided by the 15 minute flow rate within the peak hour. This parameter used in traffic capacity analysis and level of service analysis to obtain for the changes in traffic volumes during the peak hour.

iii. Passenger Car Unit (PCU)

To measure of the impact that a mode of transport has on traffic variables such as headway, speed and density to compared to a single standard passenger car. This parameter designed to give the effect of an equivalent numbers of passenger cars on the road.

iv. Volume/flow

The total number of vehicles that through over a given point or section of a lane or roadway during a certain time interval. It is the actual number of vehicle observed or predicted to passing a point during a given interval.

v. Rate of flow

The equivalent hourly rate at which vehicles pass over a certain point or section of a lane or roadway during a time interval less than 1 hour. Usually 15 minute in vehicles per hour used to characterize traffic volume (Manual of Transportation Engineering Studies, 2010).

vi. Average Daily Traffic (ADT)

The average of 24-hour counts collected over a number of days greater than one but less than a year. The volume during a given time period divided by the number of days in that time period and expressed in terms of vehicle per day (vpd). This parameter used for Planning of highway activities, Measurement of current demand and Evaluation of existing traffic flow.


Cordon Count

Cordon count are made at the perimeter of an enclosed area like shopping center. The number of vehicle is counted during a specified time period when vehicles or persons entering and leaving the area. Cordon count is used when information is required on vehicle accumulation within an area such as the central business district (CBD) of a city and particularly during a specific time. The area for which the data are required is cordoned off by an imaginary closed loop and the area enclosed within this loop is defined as the cordon area.

Screen Line Count

In screen line counts also known as screen line, where the study area is divided into large sections by running imaginary lines across it. In some cases, natural and manmade barriers, such as rivers or railway tracks, are used as screen lines. These are classified counts taken at all roadway intersecting an imaginary line (screen line) bisecting the area at each point where a road crosses the screen line. These counts method are used to determine the trends, expand urban travel data and traffic management.

Pedestrian Count

Volume counts of pedestrians are taken at locations such as subway stations, midblock, and crosswalks. The counts are usually taken at these locations when the evaluation of existing or proposed pedestrian facilities is to be undertaken. These method are used in evaluating sidewalk and crosswalk needs, identify pedestrian signals and good traffic signal timings.

Intersection Count

Intersection counts are made to determine vehicle classifications, vehicle turning movements, and vehicle capacity. These data are used mostly in determining phase lengths and cycle times for signalized intersections in way to the design of channelization at intersections and in to design of improvements to intersections. These are measured at the intersections and are used in planning turn prohibitions, designing channelization, computing capacity and analyzing high accident intersections.



Manual count method require small samples of data at any given location. Mostly application of manual counts are used when the effort and expense of automated equipment are not justified. In other word, the automatic equipment is not available, then manual counts are necessary to be used.  

Manual counts are typically used for periods of less than a day. Normal intervals for a manual count are 5, 10, or 15 minutes. In 2009, Wilk & Moreau state that this method is normally used in analysis that counts during a Monday morning rush hour and a Friday evening rush hour because it may show the highest volume.

The size of the data collection team depends on the length of the counting period, the type of count being performed, the number of lanes or crosswalks being observed, and the volume level of traffic (Andrew & Rafael, 2005). The number of observers required also depends on the study data needed. For example, one observer can record on types of vehicles while another observer can counts on total volumes.

Observers conducting manual traffic counts must be trained and knows on the study purpose in order to collect the data. To avoid fatigue and missing data, observers must be relieved periodically. Every 2 hours observers should take a 10 to 15 minute break (Manual of Transportation Engineering Studies, 2010). Manual counting involves one or more persons recording observed vehicles using a counter. With this type of counter, both the turning movements at the intersection and the types of vehicles can be recorded


The automatic count method provides a data needed for gathering large amounts of traffic data. Automatic counts are usually taken in 1-hour intervals for each 24-hour period (Azlina, 2017). The counts may extend for a week, month, or year. The peak flow period can be identified when the counts are recorded for each 24-hour time period.

Automatic counters can be classified into two general categories which is those that require the laying of detectors (surface or subsurface) and those that do not require the laying of detectors. Automatic counters that require the laying of surface detectors (such as pneumatic road tubes) or subsurface detectors (noninvasive, such as magnetic or electric contact devices) on the road, detect the passing vehicle and transmit the information to a recorder, which is connected to the detector at the side of the road (Garber & Hoel, 2009). 


The time and length that a specific location should be counted depends upon the data desired and the application in which the data are used. Counting periods vary from short counts at spot points to continuous counts at permanent stations. In 2009, Wilk & Moreau state that hourly counts are generally significant in all engineering design, while daily and annual traffic is important in economic calculations, road system classification and investment programme.

The count period should be representative of the time of day, day of month, and month of year for the study area. Count period should avoid special event or compromising weather conditions (Minhajul Islam & Nuzhat, 2014). Count periods may range from 5 minutes to 1 year. Typical count periods are 15 minutes or 2 hours for peak periods, 4 hours for morning and afternoon peaks, 6 hours for morning, midday, and afternoon peaks, and 12 hours for daytime periods.


Vehicle composition shows that most of the vehicles in the traffic stream were light vehicles. Only twenty seven percent (15%) was buses and lorries. The reason for high proportion of light vehicle is the proximity of the location to residential area and institution area of high income group people. The light vehicles were highly occupied compare to the buses were not fully occupied and people were travelling by driving their own vehicle. It can be assumed that, more people were travelling by light vehicle though their occurrences the traffic flow disturbance. We were settled on a suggestion that if the number of busses could be increased then the traffic system would become more efficient. So a huge modification is recommended in the public transportation system and widen the road condition.


68 percent of traffic flow was towards critical junction located at the near UiTM and near Polytechnic which indicates tidal flow towards Permatang Pauh road. It was morning and evening rush hour. So flow was higher towards the city center and institution center. Only 44 percent of traffic was flowing towards institution area. If another vehicle count was done in evening rush hour, opposite scenario would have been seen.


To draw flow fluctuation curve, it was assumed that volume for five continuous hours were counted, although all vehicles were counted within one hour and fifteen minutes. Each group counted vehicles for 15 minutes. Flow rate was calculated from that short count data and plotted. The average flow fluctuation curve shows two peaks at 8:00-9:00 hrs and 17:00-18:00 hrs.


1. Optimum vehicle composition of a traffic flow consists of 15% public transport or BUS while there was only 6% public transport in our study road.

2. Increasing the number of buses to improve public transportation system or sharing vehicle for the same destination. Some of road need to be design by widen the road or provide better channelization at junction.

3. Bicycle and pedestrian should have specific lanes of their own which typically is placed beside the footpath/shoulder. But there was not any specific lane in the road we studied. So it is recommended that a lane system should be introduced to increase efficiency of the road at the same time there should be a bicycle specific lane.

4. Stopping and low speed vehicles at the shoulder of road should not be permitted in this type of urban road. Although they typically travel on the left or right lane but they create a drag force which slows down the high speed vehicles which creates congestion.

5. There were some large container trucks observed on the road. Congestion can be slightly avoided if these vehicles were allowed only at off peak hours.


1. The major limitation of this volume study was the survey was conducted for 15 minutes only, whereas for proper results the survey should be conducted for at least 3 hours

2. Number of enumerators was 3 persons per group where for complete and precise collection of data at least 3 persons were required for data collection.

3. We collected data for representative portion of traffic stream. However if it was possible to collect data for each and every type of vehicle then a better scenario could have been presented.


The present study is focused mainly on traffic volume only. Speed-flow studies are useful to evaluate the more parameters. There is a scope on speed flow studies on urban road links for future work.

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