Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Civil Engineering

Major Professor

Jian John Lu, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Liu Pan, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Manjriker Gunaratne


U-turn adjustment factor, Linear regression model, U-turn speed, Synchro simulation, Control delay


The primary objective of this study is to evaluate the operational effects of U-turn movement at signalized intersections. More specifically, the research objectives include the following parts:

  • To identify the factors affecting the operational performance of U-turning vehicles. In this case, we are particularly interested in the U-turn speeds of U-turning vehicles.
  • To evaluate the impacts of U-turns on capacity of signalized intersections, and
  • To simulate U-turn movement at signalized intersections using Synchro and validate the simulation results.

To achieve the research objectives, extensive field data collection work was conducted at sixteen selected sites at Tampa Bay area of Florida. The data collected in the field include:

  • U-turning speed
  • Left turning speed
  • Turning radius
  • Queue discharge time
  • Control delay
  • Hourly traffic volume, and
  • Percentage of U- turning vehicles in left turn lane.

Based on the collected field data, a linear regression model was developed to identify the factors affecting the turning speeds of U-turning vehicles at signalized intersections. The model shows the turning speed is significantly impacted by the turning radius and the speed of U-turning vehicles increases with the increase of turning radius. On the basis of field data field data collection, a regression model was developed to estimate the relationship between the average queue discharge time for each turning vehicle and the various percentages of U-turning vehicles in the left turn traffic stream. Adjustment factors for various percentages of U-turning vehicles were also developed by using the regression model. The adjustment factors developed in this study can be directly used to estimate the capacity reduction due to the presence of various percentages of U-turning vehicles at a signalized intersection.

The developed adjustment factors were used to improve the simulation of U-turn movement at signalized intersection by using Synchro. The simulation model was calibrated and validated by field data. It was found that using the developed adjustment factors will greatly improve the accuracy of the simulation results for U-turn movement.