A simulation analysis of traffic flow elements for restricted truck lanes on interstate highways in Virginia.
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A simulation analysis of traffic flow elements for restricted truck lanes on interstate highways in Virginia.

Filetype[PDF-292.74 KB]


  • English

  • Details:

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    • TRIS Online Accession Number:
      762999
    • OCLC Number:
      40827494
    • Edition:
      Final report
    • NTL Classification:
      NTL-OPERATIONS AND TRAFFIC CONTROLS-OPERATIONS AND TRAFFIC CONTROLS ; NTL-OPERATIONS AND TRAFFIC CONTROLS-Traffic Control Devices ; NTL-OPERATIONS AND TRAFFIC CONTROLS-Traffic Flow ;
    • Abstract:
      In recent years, increases in truck traffic on Virginia's highways have raised issues concerning safety and capacity on interstates such as I-81 and I-95. Lane restrictions represent a strategy that is intended to reduce conflicts between trucks and cars and facilitate traffic flow. Field experiments to determine the effects on existing traffic under lane restrictions for an interstate freeway segment are usually not feasible, and an alternative approach was selected. In this study, the simulation model FRESIM was used to estimate various traffic flow elements. The purpose of this study was to analyze changes in traffic flow elements (density, lane changes per vehicle, and speed differential) under conditions of restricted and unrestricted truck lane configurations. Prior to applying the simulation model to actual sites in Virginia, the researchers completed a scenario analysis. The scenario analysis tested the variability of each traffic flow element considering the following variables: traffic volume, percentage of trucks, percentage of total volume by lane, presence or absence of lane restrictions, and grade. A statistical paired-sample t test was used to determine significant differences in the values of the three traffic flow elements when lane restrictions were applied. An analysis was also completed for three sites in Virginia on I-81 near Buchanan, Christiansburg, and Wytheville. Two types of restrictions were tested: restricting trucks from the left lane and restricting trucks from the right lane. From the results obtained in this study, several conclusions were drawn: (1) restricting trucks from the left lane with steep grades causes an increase in speed differential and may decrease density and the number of lane changes, (2) restricting trucks from the right lane causes an increase in the number of lane changes, and (3) site characteristics dictate the effects of truck lane restrictions. Based on the results of this study, it is recommended that (1) trucks be restricted from the left lane when grades are 4% or greater and (2) trucks not be restricted from the right lane. The study results did not support removing truck lane restrictions in Virginia.
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