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Ramp metering and freeway bottleneck capacity

Author

Listed:
  • Lei Zhang
  • David Levinson

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

Abstract

The objective of this study is to determine whether ramp meters increase the capacity of active freeway bottlenecks, and if they do, how. The traffic flow characteristics at twenty-seven active bottlenecks in the Twin Cities have been studied for seven weeks without ramp metering and seven weeks with ramp metering. A series of hypotheses regarding the relationships between ramp metering and the capacity of active bottlenecks are developed and tested against empirical traffic data. It is found that meters increase the bottleneck capacity by postponing and sometimes eliminating bottleneck activations (a 73 percent increase in the duration of the pre-queue transition period), accommodating higher (2 percent) flows during the pre-queue transition period, and increasing queue discharge flow rates after breakdown (3 percent). The two-capacity hypothesis about flow drops after breakdown was also examined and results strongly suggest the percentage flow drops at various bottlenecks follow a normal distribution (mean 5.5 percent, standard deviation 2.3 percent). The implications of these findings on the design of efficient ramp control strategies are discussed, as well as future research directions.

Suggested Citation

  • Lei Zhang & David Levinson, 2003. "Ramp metering and freeway bottleneck capacity," Working Papers 201002, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:nex:wpaper:bottleneckcapacity
    as

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/11299/179995
    File Function: First version, 2007
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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. Cassidy, Michael J. & Rudjanakanoknad, Jittichai, 2002. "Study of Traffic at a Freeway Merge and Roles for Ramp Metering," Institute of Transportation Studies, Research Reports, Working Papers, Proceedings qt744926sv, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Berkeley.
    3. Lei Zhang & David Levinson, 2002. "Estimation of Demand Response to Ramp Metering," Working Papers 200207, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
    4. Windover, John R. & Cassidy, Michael J., 2001. "Some observed details of freeway traffic evolution," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 881-894, December.
    5. David Levinson & Atif Sheikh, 2002. "Traffic Equilibration: The Case of the Twin Cities Ramp Meter Shut Off," Working Papers 200206, 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. Levinson, David & Zhang, Lei, 2006. "Ramp meters on trial: Evidence from the Twin Cities metering holiday," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 40(10), pages 810-828, December.
    8. 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.
    9. Cassidy, M. J. & Mauch, Michael, 2001. "An observed traffic pattern in long freeway queues," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 143-156, February.
    10. Lei Zhang & David Levinson, 2004. "Some Properties of Flows at Freeway Bottlenecks," Working Papers 200403, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Lei Zhang & David Levinson, 2004. "Some Properties of Flows at Freeway Bottlenecks," Working Papers 200403, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
    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. Xiqun (Michael) Chen & Zhiheng Li & Li Li & Qixin Shi, 2014. "A Traffic Breakdown Model Based on Queueing Theory," Networks and Spatial Economics, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 485-504, December.
    4. Li, Xiang & Sun, Jian-Qiao, 2017. "Studies of vehicle lane-changing dynamics and its effect on traffic efficiency, safety and environmental impact," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 467(C), pages 41-58.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    transportation; travel behavior; congestion; ramp meters;

    JEL classification:

    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise
    • R48 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government Pricing and Policy

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