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Vehicles Traffic Flow and Density

Traffic flow and density as used in highway design.

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Road - traffic flow density

Vehicle Traffic Flow

The vehicle traffic flow on a road can be expressed

q = n 3600 / t                                   (1)


q = vehicle flow (no. vehicles per hour)

n = no. vehicles passing in t seconds

t = time for passing vehicles (s)

Example - Vehicle Traffic Flow

If 1000 vehicles passes in 2 hours (7200 s) - the flow can be calculated

  q = 1000 3600 / 7200 (s)

     = 500 vehicles per hour

Vehicle Density

Vehicle density can be expressed as

k = n 5280 / l                              (2)


k = vehicle density (vehicles per mile)

n = no. of vehicles occupying a length l of the road

l = the length of road occupied by the vehicles (ft)

(2) expressed in km

k = n 1000 / l                              (2b)


k = vehicles per km

n = no. of vehicles occupying a length l of the road

l = the length of road occupied by the vehicles (m)

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  • Engineering ToolBox, (2012). Vehicles Traffic Flow and Density. [online] Available at: [Accessed Day Mo. Year].

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