Mitigation of Recurring Congestion on Freeways

Persistent daily congestion, which has been increasing in recent years, is commonly experienced for several hours or more during the morning and evening on urban freeways. Many of these roadways are at or near capacity, which causes severe delays and backups. One solution to reducing recurring congestion is to add capacity by building more lanes; however, this is usually the last resort as it is an expensive and time-consuming approach. Another strategy proposed to combat recurring congestion is to manage the current freeways so that they operate more efficiently. Reducing congestion through better managed freeways has numerous documented benefits, including reducing travel times, smoothed traffic flow, increased average fuel economy, shortened rush hour period, and reduced vehicle queuing. To demonstrate the ability of a better managed freeway in mitigating recurring congestion, this study tested the effectiveness of an active traffic management system on a simulated model of I-66 and I-95 in Northern Virginia. Hard shoulders, variable speed limits, and ramp metering were several active traffic management systems simulated in this study. The simulation model was based on the geometric characteristics, ramp volumes, vehicle flows, and speeds of actual recorded conditions. Compared with the simulated control conditions, the results of the study indicated improvements in average fuel economy, travel delay, delay of the onset of congestion and reduced queues. The two active traffic management systems, i.e., variable speed limits and hard shoulders, showed the highest potential for reducing recurring congestion and should be considered as potential countermeasures in congested corridors.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: DVD
  • Features: Figures; Maps; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 16p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 89th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers DVD

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01152500
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 10-1162
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Jan 25 2010 10:31AM