Temporary Losses of Highway Capacity and Impacts on Performance: Phase 2

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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, railroad crossings, large trucks loading/unloading in urban areas, and other factors such as toll collection facilities and sub-optimal 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 ... continued below

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Chin, S.M. November 10, 2004.

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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, railroad crossings, large trucks loading/unloading in urban areas, and other factors such as toll collection facilities and sub-optimal 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. Such information is vital to formulating sound public policies for the highway infrastructure and its operation. In response to this need, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), made an initial attempt to provide nationwide estimates of the capacity losses and delay caused by temporary capacity-reducing events (Chin et al. 2002). This study, called the Temporary Loss of Capacity (TLC) study, estimated capacity loss and delay on freeways and principal arterials resulting from fatal and non-fatal crashes, vehicle breakdowns, and adverse weather, including snow, ice, and fog. In addition, it estimated capacity loss and delay caused by sub-optimal signal timing at intersections on principal arterials. It also included rough estimates of capacity loss and delay on Interstates due to highway construction and maintenance work zones. Capacity loss and delay were estimated for calendar year 1999, except for work zone estimates, which were estimated for May 2001 to May 2002 due to data availability limitations. Prior to the first phase of this study, which was completed in May of 2002, no nationwide estimates of temporary losses of highway capacity by type of capacity-reducing event had been made. This report describes the second phase of the TLC study (TLC2). TLC2 improves upon the first study by expanding the scope to include delays from rain, toll collection facilities, railroad crossings, and commercial truck pickup and delivery (PUD) activities in urban areas. It includes estimates of work zone capacity loss and delay for all freeways and principal arterials, rather than for Interstates only. It also includes improved estimates of delays caused by fog, snow, and ice, which are based on data not available during the initial phase of the study. Finally, computational errors involving crash and breakdown delay in the original TLC report are corrected.

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  • Report No.: ORNL/TM-2004/209
  • Grant Number: DE-AC05-00OR22725
  • DOI: 10.2172/885576 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 885576
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc875834

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  • November 10, 2004

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Dec. 2, 2016, 3:15 p.m.

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Chin, S.M. Temporary Losses of Highway Capacity and Impacts on Performance: Phase 2, report, November 10, 2004; [Tennessee]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc875834/: accessed August 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.