Safety and Lane Configuration at Toll Plazas

Toll plazas are one of the critical components of a roadway system for capital financing, infrastructure maintenance revenue, and traffic maintenance and congestion control strategies. At the same time, they are amongst the most complex road structures because drivers are exposed to a large amount of information and have a short amount of time in which to make a decision. Since the advent of electronic toll collection (ETC) technology, the complexity of toll plazas has greatly increased. The objective of this study is to investigate the effect of toll plaza design and traffic conditions on drivers’ behavior and level of safety. This study contains two approaches: (1) a microsimulation study through VISSIM and Surrogate Safety Assessment Model (SSAM), and (2) a driving simulation study. The microsimulation model was calibrated and validated using traffic data from recorded video at the West Springfield toll plaza in Massachusetts, which connects Interstate 90 to Interstate 91 and Route 5. Distribution of traffic volumes, stop delays at cash lanes, and reduced speed distribution at ETC lanes were used as calibration variables, and number of conflicts was used as the validation parameter. Results identified that the safest lane configuration was the one consisting of only ETC lanes and that the second safest configurations were the ones that grouped ETC lanes and separated them from cash lanes. In the second part of the study, a simulation model of the same toll plaza was created to be used in the SimCreator driving simulator. The objective of this part of the study was to investigate drivers’ behavior when they were exposed to different lane configurations and traffic conditions at toll plazas. Independent variables of this study were lane configuration (i.e., which lanes were signed as EZPass and Cash), origin/destination of the subject vehicle (i.e., right or left origin ramp, right or left destination ramp), traffic queue (i.e., having a queue or not), traffic composition (i.e., having a leading heavy vehicle or not), and customer type (i.e., cash or EZPass). The result of this simulation study was expected to give a better understanding of drivers’ behavior at toll plazas, which might lead to safer toll plaza designs.

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  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This document was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program.
  • Corporate Authors:

    University of Massachusetts, Amherst

    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    130 Natural Resources Road
    Amherst, MA  United States  01003

    Safety Research Using Simulation University Transportation Center (SaferSim)

    University of Iowa
    Iowa City, IA  United States  52242

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Knodler, Michael
    • Hajiseyedjavadi, Foroogh
    • Fisher, Donald
  • Publication Date: 2016-9


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 39p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01677562
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Created Date: Jul 27 2018 8:13AM