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Ramp Meters on Trial: Evidence from the Twin Cities Metering Holiday


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  • David Levinson

    (Nexus (Networks, Economics, and Urban Systems) Research Group, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota)

  • Lei Zhang


Ramp meters in the Twin Cities have been the subject of a recent test of their effectiveness, involving turning them off for 8 weeks. This paper analyzes the resultswith and without ramp metering for several representative freeways during the afternoon peak period. Seven performance measures: mobility, equity, productivity, consumers' surplus, accessibility, travel time variation and travel demand responses are compared. It is found that ramp meters are particularly helpful for long trips relative to short trips.Ramp metering, while generally beneficial to freeway segments, may not improve trip travel times (including ramp delays). The reduction in travel time variation comprisesanother benefit from ramp meters. Non-work trips and work trips respond differently to ramp meters. The results are mixed, suggesting a more refined ramp control algorithm,which explicitly considers ramp delay, is in order.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group in its series Working Papers with number 200604.

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Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Transportation Research: A Policy and Practice Volume 40, Issue 10 , December 2006, Pages 810-828.
Handle: RePEc:nex:wpaper:rampmetersontrial

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Postal: Dept. of Civil Engineering, 500 Pillsbury Drive SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455
Phone: +01 (612) 625-6354
Fax: +01 (612) 626-7750
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Keywords: Ramp Meters; Evaluation; Equity; Mobility; Accessibility; Productivity; Consumers' Surplus; Travel Time Variation; Travel Demand;

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  1. David Levinson & Ajay Kumar, 1997. "Density and the Journey to Work," Working Papers 199701, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
  2. Small, K. & Noland, R. & Koskenoja, P., 1995. "Socio-economic Attributes And Impacts Of Travel Reliability: A Stated Preference Approach," Institute of Transportation Studies, Research Reports, Working Papers, Proceedings qt82n2w53k, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Berkeley.
  3. David Levinson & Ajay Kumar, 1994. "Operational Evidence of Changing Travel Patterns," Working Papers 199403, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
  4. J W Weibull, 1980. "On the numerical measurement of accessibility," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 12(1), pages 53-67, January.
  5. David Levinson & Ajay Kumar, 1995. "A Multi-modal Trip Distribution Model," Working Papers 199503, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
  6. Zhang, Lei & Levinson, David, 2004. "Optimal freeway ramp control without origin-destination information," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 38(10), pages 869-887, December.
  7. David Levinson, 2003. "Perspectives on Efficiency in Transportation," Working Papers 200303, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
  8. Lei Zhang & David Levinson, 2005. "Balancing Efficiency and Equity of Ramp Meters," Working Papers 200508, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
  9. Haj-Salem, Habib & Papageorgiou, Marcos, 1995. "Ramp metering impact on urban corridor traffic: Field results," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 303-319, July.
  10. Bogenberger, Klaus & May, Adolf D., 1999. "Advanced Coordinated Traffic Responsive Ramp Metering Strategies," Institute of Transportation Studies, Research Reports, Working Papers, Proceedings qt3pq977ts, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Berkeley.
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Cited by:
  1. Lei Zhang & David Levinson, 2003. "Ramp metering and freeway bottleneck capacity," Working Papers 201002, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
  2. Coifman, Benjamin A. & Mallika, Ramachandran, 2007. "Distributed surveillance on freeways emphasizing incident detection and verification," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 41(8), pages 750-767, October.
  3. Shen, Wei & Zhang, H.M., 2010. "Pareto-improving ramp metering strategies for reducing congestion in the morning commute," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 44(9), pages 676-696, November.
  4. Lei Zhang & Feng xie & David Levinson, 2007. "Illusion of Motion: Variation of Subjective Value of Travel Time on Freeways and Ramp Meters," Working Papers 200903, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
  5. Wei Chen & David Levinson, 2004. "Traffic Management Systems," Working Papers 200411, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
  6. Satya Muthuswamy & Gary Davis & David Levinson & Panos Michalopoulos, 2004. "Freeway Origin Destination Matrices: Not as Simple as They Seem," Working Papers 000031, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.


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