Evaluation of Merge Control Strategies at Interstate Work Zones Under Peak and Off-Peak Traffic ConditionsAuthor/Presenter: Ramadan, Ossama E.; Sisiopiku, Virginia P.
Maintenance and rehabilitation projects of interstate facilities typically mandate lane closures. Lane closures require merging maneuvers that often result in reduced speeds and traffic bottlenecks. Work zone impacts on traffic operations are magnified when project durations are extended. Conventionally, work zone traffic control plans are developed to address work zone impacts. This study evaluated various merge control strategies at interstate work zones peak and off-peak traffic conditions and summarized related impacts. A comprehensive microscopic simulation model was developed in full consideration of driver/vehicle behavior at work zones. The analysis of simulation results revealed that merge control strategies, when implemented during peak and off-peak conditions, can preserve the level of service and provide favorable mobility, safety, and environmental impacts. In addition, results indicate that transportation agencies’ practice of scheduling work zone activities during the off-peak may not be the most optimum approach. Overall, the findings of this study highlight the need for evaluation of work zone scheduling practices in full consideration of agency, user, and project costs.