Modeling and Evaluating the Impact of City Block Size on Traffic Performance

Lingxuan Zhang, Monica Menendez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper investigates how block size influences traffic by dividing the travel distance, time, and number of turning maneuvers into two parts: the one that happens inside the block, and the one outside. We develop analytical formulations that yield representative values of the three aforementioned indicators under low-demand scenarios. A VISSIM simulation with a dynamic traffic assignment is used to verify such values, study the traffic behavior for high-demand scenarios, and evaluate the traffic performance, network capacity, and resiliency. The results indicate that traffic inside the block plays a more important role on the overall performance in networks with larger block size and/or short trips. In addition, smaller block-size networks yield shorter travel distance and better travel accessibility, as well as higher network capacity; whereas larger block-size networks have shorter travel time and smaller number of turnings under low-demand levels. In the congested situation, the larger block-size networks show relatively better performance as they take longer to become congested and gridlocked.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04020021
JournalJournal of Urban Planning and Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • Block size
  • Dynamic traffic assignment
  • Open blocks
  • Superblocks
  • Traffic performance
  • Urban planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Urban Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'Modeling and Evaluating the Impact of City Block Size on Traffic Performance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this