Estimating System and Traveler Costs Due to Lane Closures During Construction and Maintenance OperationsAuthor/Presenter: Tufuor, Ernest; Zhao, Li; Haque, Mm; Rilett, Laurence R.; Anderson, John E.; Thompson, Eric C.
Lane closures are used to facilitate activities related to road construction and maintenance or operations. However, there are economic costs associated with lane closures and these may accrue to both the traveling public as well as to traffic agencies. The Nebraska Governor’s office has identified maximizing the effectiveness of lane closures as a priority for the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT). The goal of this project is to assist NDOT in effectively managing the operations of work zones to maximize the effectiveness of lane closures under Nebraska conditions. This report summarizes the findings of the current state of the practice in work zone traffic control techniques, work zone traffic operation models and tools, and the value of travel time economic analysis. It was found that the latest and 6th edition of the Highway Capacity Manual (HCM6) has developed a traffic microsimulation methodology for modeling work zones on multilane highways and two-lane highways. It was, therefore, important to calibrate the model under Nebraska conditions. The report presents a calibration methodology for both multilane highways and two-lane highway lane closure cases. The calibration model was tested to determine the sensitivity of the increase in traffic volume, percent of heavy vehicles, work zone lengths, and posted speeds for over 1460 different scenarios. In addition, a state-of-the-science emission modeling software, recommended by the US EPA, was used to model the sensitivity of the vehicle emission performance using the outcome of the calibrated work zone models as a key input. The outcome of the sensitivity analysis is used to develop a lane closure cost simulation model that examines the cost of changes in road user time, emissions, and fuel cost under all of the lane closure scenarios. The economic analysis develops estimates of time, emissions and fuel use costs to simulate the increase in hourly road user costs associated with a lane closure. A working spreadsheet has been developed to assist NDOT engineers to estimate the cost of lane closures for hundreds of closure scenarios.