Year of Publication

2017

Season of Publication

Summer

Paper Type

Master's Thesis

College

College of Computing, Engineering & Construction

Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)

Department

Engineering

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. School of Engineering

First Advisor

Thobias Sando

Second Advisor

Brian Kopp

Third Advisor

Christopher Brown

Department Chair

Murat Tirlakioglu

College Dean

Mark Tumeo

Abstract

The implementation of managed lanes (MLs), also known as dynamically priced express lanes, to improve freeway traffic flow and personal throughput is on the rise. Congestion pricing is increasingly becoming a common strategy for congestion management, often requiring microscopic simulation during both planning and operational stages. VISSIM is a recognized microscopic simulation software used for analyzing the performance of managed lanes (MLs). This thesis addressed two important microscopic simulation issues that affect the evaluation results of MLs.

One of the microscopic simulation issues that has not yet been addressed by previous studies is the required minimum managed lane routing decision (MLRD) distance upstream of the ingress point of MLs. Decision distance is an optimal upstream distance prior to the ingress at which drivers decide to use MLs and change lanes to orient on a side of MLs ingress. To answer this question, this study used a VISSIM model simulating I-295 proposed MLs in Jacksonville, Florida, United States (U.S), varying the MLRD point at regular intervals from 500 feet to 7,000 feet for different levels of service (LOS) input. Three measures of effectiveness (MOEs) - speed, the number of vehicles changing lanes, and following distance - were used for the analysis. These MOEs were measured in the 500 feet zone prior to the ingress. The results indicate that as the LOS deteriorates, speed decreases, the number of vehicles changing lanes increases, and the following distance decreases. When the LOS is constant, the increase in the MLRD distance from the ingress point was associated with the increase in the speed at the 500 feet zone prior to the ingress, less number of lane changes, and the increase in following vehicle gap. However, the MOEs approached constant values after reaching a certain MLRD distance. LOS D was used to determine the minimum MLRD distance to the ingress of the MLs. The determined minimum MLRD distances were 4,000 and 3,000 feet for 6 and 3 lane segments prior to the ingress point, respectively.

Another issue addressed in this thesis is the managed lane evaluation (MLE) outputs, which include speed, travel time, density, and tolls. In computing the performance measures, the existing VISSIM managed lane evaluation (EVMLE) tool is designed to use the section starting at the point when vehicles are assigned to use MLs, also known as the MLRD point, which is located upstream of the ingress. The longer the MLRD distance from the ingress, the more the EVMLE tool uses the traffic conditions of the MLs traffic before entering the ML in its computations. This study evaluates the impact of the MLRD distance on the EVMLE outputs and presents a proposed algorithm that addresses the EVMLE shortcomings. In order to examine the influence of the MLRD distance on the outputs of the above-mentioned two algorithms, simulation scenarios of varying MLRD distances from 500 ft to 7,000 feet from the ingress were created. For demonstration purposes, only the speed was used to represent other performance measures. The analysis of variance (ANOVA) test was performed to determine whether there was a significant difference in the speed results with the change in the MLRD distance. According to the ANOVA results, the EVMLE tool produced ML speeds that are MLRD dependent, yielding lower speeds with an increased MLRD distance. On the other hand, the ML speed results from the proposed algorithm were fairly constant, regardless of the MLRD distance.

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