Reducing Recurrent Congestion in Atlanta

Like many other large urban areas, Atlanta’s long-range transportation plan focuses on reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT), by stressing expansion of transit, addition of car-pool lanes, and land-use changes. Yet under the current plan, the travel-time index (a basic congestion measure) will increase from 1.46 in 2003 to 1.67 by 2030. And car-pooling’s mode share is projected to decline, despite a major expansion of car-pool lanes. The Governor’s Congestion Mitigation Task Force has called for a dramatic change in transportation policy, to put top priority on reducing the travel-time index from 1.46 to 1.35 by 2030. This paper suggests that one major component of a plan for achieving this goal should be the addition of a large amount of priced highway capacity, especially on the freeway system. This approach is intended to address recurrent congestion, which accounts for about 40 percent of Atlanta’s congestion. (A companion paper suggests an aggressive approach toward incident-related congestion.) A traffic-assignment modeling exercise identified which segments of the freeway system have capacity shortfalls, if the goal is to eliminate all Level of Service F conditions by 2030. Those data were used to develop proposed additions of priced lanes, in four groups: 1) A network of value-priced lanes, instead of the planned HOV system; 2) A north-south toll tunnel to relieve congestion on downtown’s Central Connector; 3) A new east-west tollway, partly as a tunnel; 4) A separate toll truckway system, part of it as a tunnel beneath downtown. The modeling results suggest that this program, along with additions to the arterial system, would slightly reduce overall VMT, while significantly reducing vehicle hours of travel (VHT) and achieving the reduced-travel-time index goal. An estimate of the economic benefits over the next 25 years found benefits of $175 billion compared with a one-time investment of $25 billion, most of which could be financed based on projected toll revenues.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: CD-ROM
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 20p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 86th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers CD-ROM

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01055824
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 07-1435
  • Files: BTRIS, TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Feb 8 2007 6:02PM