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Traffic Bottleneck Identification and Diagnosis, Countermeasure Prioritization, and Innovative Solutions to Local/Systemic Problems

Project Information

Project ID: 
FHWA-PROJ-13-0073
Project Status: 
Active
Start Date: 
Thursday, May 23, 2013
End Date: 
Saturday, February 27, 2016
FHWA Program: 
Operations
FHWA Topics: 
Research/Technologies--Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC)
TRT Terms: 
Bottlenecks; Traffic Congestion; Traffic Simulation; Highway Operations; Research; Operations
FHWA Discipline: 
Operations
TRB Subject Area: 
Operations and Traffic Management, Research, Transportation (General)

Contact Information

First Name: 
HRDO
Telephone: 
(202) 493-3045
Email Address: 

Project Details

Project Description: 

In addition to Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) applications mostly with connected vehicle technologies (e.g., ramp metering, active travel demand management, improved signal coordination), it is our finding that short-term, relatively simple geometric and traffic control innovations continue to relieve bottlenecks significantly in cost-effective ways. However, there is little research that separates systemic causes from operational/localized ones, as they both fall under the umbrella of 'recurring' congestion. The scope of proposed activities is to confirm and/or categorize the approximate percentages or all congestion sources (in rounded numbers). It also includes the development of a new pie chart that identifies proportionate congestion as either 'freeway' or 'surface streets'. Mostly, however, the scope is specifically defined to develop guidance solely for recurring congestion identification, vis-à-vis separating systemic and localized causes. The third step is to recommend how to focus on existing but cost-effective treatments to alleviate these two bottleneck categories and develop corresponding improvement recommendations based on land requirements and benefit/cost analysis. The fourth step is to develop or promote any innovative treatments, or conduct research using traffic simulation and driving simulator studies, and to evaluate performance improvements, feasibility, human factors adjustments, and benefit/cost analysis. Finally, the last step is to develop guidelines that provide design and operational recommendations for low-cost or cost-effective innovative treatments.

Goals:

The objectives are to develop guidance solely for recurring congestion identification by separating systemic and localized causes; to recommend using existing but cost-effective treatments to alleviate these two bottleneck categories and develop corresponding improvement recommendations based on land requirements and benefit/cost analysis; to develop or promote more innovative treatments, and conduct research using traffic simulation and driving simulator studies; to evaluate performance improvements and develop guidelines that provide design and operational recommendations for low-cost or cost-effective innovative treatments.

Partners and Other Sponsor/Managing/Performing Organizations: 
Organization Role: 
Partner: Advisory
Organization Role: 
Partner: Advisory

Deliverables

Deliverable Name: 
Draft guidelines for congestion problem identification.
Deliverable Type: 
Research report or guidelines
Deliverable Description: 
Prepare a work plan describing the methodology to analyze historical and real-time data, and define bottlenecks or congestion performance. Congestion problems should meet definition requirements. The work plan shall describe how the data will be collected and analyzed to identify congestion conditions. Develop recommendations or guidelines to conduct such problem identification, investigation, diagnosis, and prioritization for local agencies or Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs).