Given the aging infrastructure and the anticipated growing number of highway work zones in the United States, it is important to investigate methods to improve work zone mobility and safety. Data suggests that inappropriate merge maneuvers are a major contributing factor to highway work zone crashes that often lead to severe congestion and delay. This research proposes a New England Merge (NEM) for highway work zone control, which requires vehicles to behave cooperatively and create safe merging gaps when approaching lane closure points caused by work zones. Based on VISSIM microscopic simulations considering varying input traffic demands, the NEM is compared with late merge, early merge, and no control in terms of average delay, mean travel time, and throughput. Additionally, the safety performance of NEM is analyzed using surrogate safety measures such as vehicle trajectory, density, acceleration, and distance headway. A typical type of highway work zone is modeled in this study, which represents a two-lane highway with the right lane closed. The modeling results show that overall NEM significantly outperforms all other merge control methods in terms of both safety and mobility measures. Similar to late merge and early merge, implementing the NEM would benefit from driver cooperation. The applicability of NEM can be substantially improved with the wide adoption of cooperative adaptive cruise control (i.e., level 1 automation) technology.
Publication Date: September 23, 2020
Source URL: Link to URL
Publication Types: Books, Reports, Papers, and Research Articles
Topics: Lane changing; Lane Closure; Merging Control; Microsimulation; Mobility; Temporary Traffic Control; Work Zone Safety; Work Zones