Differentiating between Left-Turn Gap and Lag Acceptance at Unsignalized Intersections as a Function of the Site Characteristics Academic Article uri icon


  • Left-turn gap acceptance at an unsignalized intersection is dependent on many factors. The Highway Capacity Manual (HCM) uses a single value of critical gap for all types of intersections; however, this may be oversimplistic and lead to inaccurate estimates of left-turn delay and capacity. Most existing studies also do not differentiate between gap and lag when evaluating gap acceptance. In this paper, binary logit models were developed to estimate the probability of accepting or rejecting a given gap or lag for a left-turning vehicle from a major road at an unsignalized intersection considering a number of potential influencing factors. Gap acceptance behavior was found to be influenced by the type of gap presented to the driver (gap or lag). Gap duration, total wait time, time to turn, distance to next signal downstream, and median type were found to be significant factors in predicting the probability of accepting or rejecting a gap. In the model for lag acceptance lag duration, time to turn, crossing width, speed limit, and distance to next signal downstream were found to be significant. Equations for estimating the critical gap and lag were developed. Critical gap and lag were found to be varying over a wide range of values depending on the type of intersection. The range was smaller for critical gaps than lags. The findings from this study can improve operational analysis of left turns at unsignalized intersections by using different critical gaps for different traffic and geometric conditions. 2012 American Society of Civil Engineers.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Transportation Engineering Part A Systems

author list (cited authors)

  • Devarasetty, P. C., Zhang, Y., & Fitzpatrick, K.

citation count

  • 38

complete list of authors

  • Devarasetty, Prem Chand||Zhang, Yunlong||Fitzpatrick, Kay

publication date

  • May 2012