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Increasing Freeway Merge Capacity Through On-Ramp Metering

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  • Rudjanakanoknad, Jittichai

Abstract

This research describes field studies of how on-ramp metering can increase the capacity of freeway merges. Some effects of on-ramp metering have been known for a long time. We have known that on-ramp metering can 1) increase freeway flow and speed upstream of a merge; and 2) reduce system-wide delay by alleviating gridlock-causing queues that have blocked off-ramps. However, past studies have not conclusively shown that on-ramp metering can increase the maximum outflow (capacity) of freeway merges. The experiments conducted in the present study verify that on-ramp metering can increase freeway merge capacities. Detailed traffic data collected from videos for more than 30 rush periods at two merge bottlenecks unveil six major research findings: 1) merge capacity diminishes after merges became active bottlenecks; 2) the mechanism of "capacity drop" has been identified and was found to be reproducible across all days and it both sites. By metering the on-ramp in certain strategic ways, the capacity drop mechanism can be 3) reversed; and 4) even averted; 5) such metering strategies can be fully automated using loop detector measurements; and 6) control strategies other than ramp metering also hold promise for increasing merge capacities. These findings provide much-needed information concerning how to control freeway traffic. They also offer basis for more realistic theories of merging traffic flow.

Suggested Citation

  • Rudjanakanoknad, Jittichai, 2005. "Increasing Freeway Merge Capacity Through On-Ramp Metering," Institute of Transportation Studies, Research Reports, Working Papers, Proceedings qt3js9x18d, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:itsrrp:qt3js9x18d
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Munoz, Juan Carlos & Daganzo, Carlos F, 2002. "Fingerprinting Traffic From Static Freeway Sensors," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt1mf4n2w8, University of California Transportation Center.
    4. Muñoz, Juan Carlos & Daganzo, Carlos F., 2002. "The bottleneck mechanism of a freeway diverge," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 483-505, July.
    5. Cassidy, Michael J. & Anani, Shadi B. & Haigwood, John M., 2002. "Study of freeway traffic near an off-ramp," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 563-572, July.
    6. Daganzo, Carlos F. & Laval, Jorge & Munoz, Juan Carlos, 2002. "Ten Strategies for Freeway Congestion Mitigation with Advanced Technologies," Institute of Transportation Studies, Research Reports, Working Papers, Proceedings qt4kd6v6qf, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Berkeley.
    7. Smaragdis, Emmanouil & Papageorgiou, Markos & Kosmatopoulos, Elias, 2004. "A flow-maximizing adaptive local ramp metering strategy," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 251-270, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:pubeco:v:158:y:2018:i:c:p:113-125 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Kim, Kwangho & Cassidy, Michael J., 2012. "A capacity-increasing mechanism in freeway traffic," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 46(9), pages 1260-1272.
    3. Hall, Jonathan D., 2018. "Pareto improvements from Lexus Lanes: The effects of pricing a portion of the lanes on congested highways," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 113-125.

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