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Tradeoffs among free-flow speed, capacity, cost, and environmental footprint in highway design

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  • Chen Ng

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  • Kenneth Small

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Abstract

This paper investigates differentiated design standards as a source of capacity additions that are more affordable and have smaller aesthetic and environmental impacts than modern expressways. We consider several tradeoffs, including narrow versus wide lanes and shoulders on an expressway of a given total width, and high-speed expressway versus lower-speed arterial. We quantify the situations in which off-peak traffic is sufficiently great to make it worthwhile to spend more on construction, or to give up some capacity, in order to provide very high off-peak speeds even if peak speeds are limited by congestion. We also consider the implications of differing accident rates. The results support expanding the range of highway designs that are considered when adding capacity to ameliorate urban road congestion. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Chen Ng & Kenneth Small, 2012. "Tradeoffs among free-flow speed, capacity, cost, and environmental footprint in highway design," Transportation, Springer, vol. 39(6), pages 1259-1280, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:transp:v:39:y:2012:i:6:p:1259-1280 DOI: 10.1007/s11116-012-9395-8
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cassidy, Michael J. & Bertini, Robert L., 1999. "Some traffic features at freeway bottlenecks," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 25-42, February.
    2. Ronghui Liu & James Tate, 2004. "Network effects of intelligent speed adaptation systems," Transportation, Springer, pages 297-325.
    3. Cassidy, Michael J. & Rudjanakanoknad, Jittichai, 2005. "Increasing the capacity of an isolated merge by metering its on-ramp," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 39(10), pages 896-913, December.
    4. Peltzman, Sam, 1975. "The Effects of Automobile Safety Regulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(4), pages 677-725, August.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gilles Duranton & Matthew A. Turner, 2011. "The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion: Evidence from US Cities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2616-2652, October.
    2. DeCorla-Souza, Patrick, 2010. "Creating a Financially Feasible, Sustainable, High Performance Metropolitan Transportation System," 51st Annual Transportation Research Forum, Arlington, Virginia, March 11-13, 2010 207241, Transportation Research Forum.
    3. Clifford Winston, 2013. "On the Performance of the U.S. Transportation System: Caution Ahead," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 773-824.
    4. Small, Kenneth A. & Ng, Chen Feng, 2014. "Optimizing road capacity and type," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, pages 145-157.
    5. Lindsey, Robin & de Palma, André, 2014. "Cost recovery from congestion tolls with long-run uncertainty," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, pages 119-132.
    6. Winston, Clifford & Mannering, Fred, 2014. "Implementing technology to improve public highway performance: A leapfrog technology from the private sector is going to be necessary," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, pages 158-165.
    7. Castillo-Manzano, José I. & Castro-Nuño, Mercedes & Pedregal-Tercero, Diego J., 2014. "Temporary speed limit changes: An econometric estimation of the effects of the Spanish Energy Efficiency and Saving Plan," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 44(S1), pages 68-76.
    8. Kenneth Small & Chen Feng Ng, 2013. "Optimizing Road Capacity and Type," Working Papers 121309, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
    9. Victor Couture & Gilles Duranton & Matthew A. Turner, 2016. "Speed," Sciences Po publications 51, Sciences Po.
    10. Lindsey, Robin, 2012. "Road pricing and investment," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, pages 49-63.
    11. DeCorla‐Souza, Patrick, 2010. "Creating a Financially Feasible High‐Performance Metropolitan Transportation System," Journal of the Transportation Research Forum, Transportation Research Forum, vol. 49(3).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Highway design; Capacity; Free-flow speed; Parkway;

    JEL classification:

    • L91 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Transportation: General
    • R42 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government and Private Investment Analysis; Road Maintenance; Transportation Planning

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