Estimation of the capacity of work zones is vital to manage the possibility of traffic flows exceeding capacity and resulting in unbearable queues during work zone lane closures. A plethora of research papers have studied several ways to estimate work zone capacity, with the Highway Capacity Manual (HCM) having its own methodology to estimate capacity based on various site characteristics. However, HCM always recommends validating its model with local data to reflect the actual driving behavior of the region. This study considered work zone capacity as a function of queue discharge rate (QDR), defined as the 15-min average flow rate immediately after breakdown, also known as postbreakdown flow rate. By collecting data from 10 different work zones within the state of Louisiana, the study estimated QDR and its corresponding duration at breakdowns. An average QDR of 1,664 pcphpl and an associated queue of 120 min average duration was found. Analysis of variance showed that average QDRs across all sites were not significantly different. The QDR prediction model revealed that a closed right lane and a work zone on linear roadways significantly increased the discharge rate. However, the presence of nearby exit ramps, daytime scenarios, and an increase in the speed ratio and truck percentages were found to decrease the discharge rate. A separate model for the duration of queue or breakdown found the time of day, change in the speed ratio, presence of entry ramp, location of work zones, and annual average daily traffic of the roadway to be significant variables.
Publisher: Transportation Research Board
Publication Date: July 16, 2021
Source URL: Link to URL
Publication Types: Books, Reports, Papers, and Research Articles
Topics: Data Collection; Impact Analysis; Lane Closure; Traffic Data; Traffic Queuing; Traffic Speed; Work Zone Capacity; Work Zones