Feasibility and Guidelines for Applying Managed Lane Strategies to Ramps
College Station, TX: Texas Transportation Institute
The project applied managed lanes operational strategies to ramp locations to optimize the use of the overall freeway facility. The goal of this research was to help the Texas Department of Transportation assess the impacts and benefits of managed ramps, and to develop general guidelines and best practices for operating managed ramps. Researchers identified strategies, reviewed current practice, analyzed strategies, conducted focus group sessions, developed a decision matrix to identify the most appropriate strategies for particular corridors, identified issues that might impact implementation of these strategies, and developed guidelines to assess and identify appropriate strategies for ramp applications. The research showed that managing ramps under certain conditions using different operational scenarios has the potential to improve freeway operations. Metering the demand on higher-volume ramps allows operators to maintain a higher level of operating speed and throughput on freeways, indicating that limiting ramp access to select user groups to enhance flow balance is a feasible ramp management strategy. Also, venue-destined vehicle restrictions and total ramp closure are two managed ramp strategies for special event management that have the most potential to improve freeway operations. In terms of providing managed ramp preference for vehicles destined for a managed lanes facility, only those conditions with speed differentials of less than 10 mph are considered desirable and viable. Finally, automobile restrictions and total ramp closure are two managed ramp strategies for ramp safety that have the most potential to improve freeway operations.