Traffic congestion and its impacts significantly affect the nation's economic performance and the public's quality of life. In most urban areas, travel demand routinely exceeds highway capacity during peak periods. In addition, events such as crashes, vehicle breakdowns, work zones, adverse weather, and suboptimal signal timing cause temporary capacity losses, often worsening the conditions on already congested highway networks. The impacts of these temporary capacity losses include delay, reduced mobility, and reduced reliability of the highway system. They can also cause drivers to re-route or reschedule trips. Prior to this study, no nationwide estimates of temporary losses of highway capacity had been made by type of capacity-reducing event. Such information is vital to formulating sound public policies for the highway infrastructure and its operation. This study is an initial attempt to provide nationwide estimates of the capacity losses and delay caused by temporary capacity-reducing events. The objective of this study was to develop and implement methods for producing national-level estimates of the loss of capacity on the nation's highway facilities due to temporary phenomena as well as estimates of the impacts of such losses. The estimates produced by this study roughly indicate the magnitude of problems that are likely be addressed by the Congress during the next re-authorization of the Surface Transportation Programs. The scope of the study includes all urban and rural freeways and principal arterials in the nation's highway system for 1999. Specifically, this study attempts to quantify the extent of temporary capacity losses due to crashes, breakdowns, work zones, weather, and sub-optimal signal timing. These events can cause impacts such as capacity reduction, delays, trip rescheduling, rerouting, reduced mobility, and reduced reliability. This study focuses on the reduction of capacity and resulting delays caused by the temporary events mentioned above. Impacts other than capacity losses and delay, such as re-routing, rescheduling, reduced mobility, and reduced reliability, are not covered in this phase of research.

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Published on 01/01/2002

Volume 2002, 2002
DOI: 10.2172/814401
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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