Preferential lane use for heavy trucks : final report.
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Preferential lane use for heavy trucks : final report.

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    • Abstract:
      Freight movement is vital to the state of Texas and the nation. With several major ports, through-truck routes, and distribution centers, Texas roadways carry millions of tons of freight each year. However, congestion on Texas roadways creates delay for commercial freight vehicles, leading to increases in transportation costs for shippers, which may in turn drive up costs to consumers. In fact, the American Trucking Research Institute (ATRI) ranked Texas second in the nation for the cost of congestion to the freight industry in terms of operating costs and lost productivity (1). One potential method for reducing the cost of congestion for freight vehicles, and possibly reducing congestion for all vehicles, is to provide trucks with alternate routes or separate (preferential) lanes that allow them to bypass congestion. This can be accomplished by developing new facilities or converting lanes and/or whole facilities for exclusive use by trucks. However, these options would require the development of new infrastructure, which could require significant funding, or the conversion of general purpose lanes to truck-only lanes, which could be problematic from a public acceptance standpoint and may affect the operations of the other lanes. There are currently very few truck-only lanes or facilities in the United States, and in most cases, these facilities were developed in very specific conditions with exceptionally high freight volumes, such as roadways serving ports. As such, existing freight volumes might not warrant consideration of truck-only lanes or facilities in many areas. One idea that is being explored in some urban areas is to allow trucks access to managed lane facilities. Managed lane facilities typically involve general purpose lanes that are open to all vehicles but have separate (managed) lanes for special classes of vehicles. In most cases, these special classes include high-occupancy vehicles (HOVs) or transit vehicles. Furthermore, some facilities may allow a vehicle that is not considered a special class to access the managed lanes with the payment of a toll. This report examines the issues associated with truck use of managed lane facilities. It discusses current managed lane facilities that allow for truck access and presents some findings and lessons learned from these experiments. This report also discusses some of the safety, operational, and infrastructure issues that should be considered when allowing trucks to access managed lanes.
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