Analysis of Driver Behavior and Operations at Intersection Short Lanes
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Analysis of Driver Behavior and Operations at Intersection Short Lanes

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  • Abstract:
    With the ever-increasing demand to add roadway capacity in a safe and efficient manner, the application of auxiliary through lanes (ATLs) at intersections has increased in recent years. ATL intersections exist when there is an added through lane introduced upstream of a traffic signal and removed downstream of the intersection via a gradually tapered merge. In theory, these lanes increase the capacity of signalized intersections with minimal, if any, impact on safety; however, the intersection geometry presents several unique challenges for drivers. Furthermore, the benefits of increased capacity are only realized when drivers are making decisions that maximize the utilization of the introduced ATL and safety is not compromised. The current research effort employed driving simulation, microsimulation, and field study to evaluate the operational efficiency of ATLs and driver performance elements related to their operation. The initial hypothesis evaluated the extent to which current field operations are reflective of modeled or predicted operations. This was evaluated in microsimulation and considers traditional intersection performance measures amongst others. Subsequent to that initial analysis, the remaining hypotheses evaluated are primarily related to ATL utilization. More specifically, the focus is on which factors contribute to drivers’ decision making regarding use in these intersections. The driving simulation portion of this research investigates human decision making at ATL intersections. These behavioral data were evaluated against the authors' previous findings in microsimulation and in the field. The results provide evidence to suggest optimal ATL design for maximizing driver performance and, subsequently, intersection capacity and safety.
  • Content Notes:
    This research was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program.
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