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Effects of Road Construction Intensity and Operations on Rural Freeway Work Zone Capacity

Status: Complete

Description: Capacity is affected by construction type and its intensity on adjacent open traffic lanes. The effect on capacity is a function of vehicles moving in and out of the closed lanes of the work zone, and the presence of heavy construction vehicles. Construction activity and its intensity, however, are not commonly considered in estimating capacity of a highway lane. The main purpose of this project was to attempt to quantify the effects of construction type and intensity (e.g. maintenance, rehabilitation, reconstruction, and milling) on work zone capacity. The objective of this project is to quantify the effects of construction type and its intensity on work zone capacity and to develop guidelines for MoDOT to estimate the specific operation type and intensity that will improve the traffic flow by reducing the traffic flow and queue length commonly associated with work zones. Despite the effort put into field data collection, the data collected did not show a full speed-flow chart therefore extracting a reliable capacity value was difficult. A statistical comparison between the capacity values found in this study using either methodologies indicates that there is an effect of construction activity on the values work zone capacity. It was found that the heavy construction activity reduces the capacity. It is very beneficial to conduct similar studies on the capacity of work zone with different lane closure barriers, which is also directly related to the type of work zone being short-term or long-term work zones. Also, the effect of different geometric and environmental characteristics of the roadway should be considered in future studies.

Report: 2014-construction_effects_on_rural_capacity.pdf 3.54 mb (published 2014)

State conducting research: Missouri


  • Luna, Ronaldo (Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla)
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