Field Evaluation of Late Merge Traffic Control in Work Zones

The traffic control strategy of the late merge in work zones was devised to improve flow and safety at work zone lane closures. Although some states have put the strategy into practice, only a handful of short-term field studies have formally evaluated its effectiveness. Additional field studies were necessary to assess the efficacy of the strategy and its proper deployment. This paper documents the results of a field test of the late merge traffic control conducted over several months. The late merge strategy was evaluated by comparing its effectiveness with that of traditional plans for work zone lane closures. The field test was conducted on a primary route in Tappahannock, Virginia, at a two-to-one lane closure. Results showed that throughput increased, but the increase was not statistically significant. Likewise, time in queue decreased, but the decrease was not statistically significant. These results were much less dramatic than those of other studies. Possible reasons for this disparity include different driver populations, road types, vehicle mixes, and site-specific characteristics. Despite limited improvements in throughput and time in queue, more drivers were in the closed lane, a positive response to the late merge signs.


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  • Accession Number: 01011171
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309093848
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Dec 12 2005 3:53PM