Modeling Merging Behavior at Lane Drops
In work-zone configurations where lane drops are present, merging of traffic at the taper presents an operational concern. In addition, as flow through the work zone is reduced, the relative traffic safety of the work zone is also reduced. Improving work-zone flow-through merge points depends on the behavior of individual drivers. By better understanding driver behavior, traffic control plans, work zone policies, and countermeasures can be better targeted to reinforce desirable lane closure merging behavior, leading to both improved safety and work-zone capacity. The researchers collected data for two work-zone scenarios that included lane drops with one scenario on the Interstate and the other on an urban arterial roadway. The researchers then modeled and calibrated these scenarios in VISSIM using real-world speeds, travel times, queue lengths, and merging behaviors (percentage of vehicles merging upstream and near the merge point). Once built and calibrated, the researchers modeled strategies for various countermeasures in the two work zones. The models were then used to test and evaluate how various merging strategies affect safety and operations at the merge areas in these two work zones.
For the related 51-page full report, please see http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/intrans_reports/