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Tradeoffs among Free-flow Speed, Capacity, Cost, and Environmental Footprint in Highway Design

  • Ng, Chen Feng
  • Small, Kenneth

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.

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Paper provided by University of California Transportation Center in its series University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers with number qt1nz5904j.

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Date of creation: 17 May 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:uctcwp:qt1nz5904j
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  1. Peltzman, Sam, 1975. "The Effects of Automobile Safety Regulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(4), pages 677-725, August.
  2. Ronghui Liu & James Tate, 2004. "Network effects of intelligent speed adaptation systems," Transportation, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 297-325, August.
  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. 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.
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