The objective of this study was to evaluate the potential impact of reduced speed limits at temporary freeway lane closures at work zones at arbitrarily assumed levels of compliance. Although some transportation engineers prefer to reduce speeds at work zones to protect the working crew, others are hesitant to introduce such a disturbance to the traffic flow. The study approach involved simulation experimentation, using FREESIM, a microscopic, stochastic model. A fractional factorial design was developed for the analysis of three independent variables: two-lane volumes (800, 1,200, 1,500 and 1, 800 vehicles per hour); speed limits (55, 50, and 45 mph); and assumed compliance with speed limit (33, 66, and 100 percent). The number of uncomfortable decelerations and the variance of the speed distribution were selected as the dependent variables. These two variables were offered as a measure of the internal friction created by the merging of two-lane traffic into a single lane. It was hypothesized that this internal friction is increased by the introduction of lower speed limits. The results of this simulation study indicate that compliance with reduced speed limits will have no significant impact on the number of uncomfortable decelerations but will reduce variance in speed distribution. These results, therefore, do not support the assumption that effective speed reduction at work zones would create a potentially hazardous disturbance in the flow of traffic.
Publisher: Transportation Research Board
Publication Date: 1985
Full Text URL: Link to URL
Publication Types: Books, Reports, Papers, and Research Articles
Topics: Lane Closure; Merging Control; Traffic Flow