With nearly nine million lane-miles of public roadway and an economy driven by the automobile, interruptions to normal traffic operations for construction and maintenance are inevitable in the U.S.A., but the substantial safety and mobility impacts associated with queueing at freeway lane closures are mitigable. The current freeway work zone capacity methodology in the 6th edition of the Highway Capacity Manual is a vast improvement over historical guidance but still approaches the issue differently than research suggests agencies and practitioners should. Namely, a capacity defined by the mean queue discharge rate is deterministic and fails to account for the stochastic nature of traffic flow and breakdown. These core issues were addressed in this research by developing a methodology for obtaining probabilistic estimates of rural freeway work zone capacity from simulated data in PTV Vissim. Results for a two-to-one lane closure were presented as a series of breakdown probability distributions to demonstrate the viability of this methodology. The data indicated that the impact of trucks on freeway capacity is exacerbated in the presence of lane closures and led to the development of work zone capacity-based passenger car equivalents. Such a procedure may be extended to freeway facilities exhibiting different geometric, traffic, and environmental characteristics and utilized by agencies to make data-driven, risk tolerance-based planning, design, and operations decisions at freeway work zones.
Publisher: Transportation Research Board
Publication Date: September 27, 2020
Source URL: Link to URL
Publication Types: Books, Reports, Papers, and Research Articles
Topics: Heavy Vehicles; Highway Capacity; Lane Closure; Passenger Car Equivalence; Rural Highways; Traffic Models; Work Zone Capacity; Work Zones