OJCE  Vol.5 No.4 , December 2015
Bottleneck Merge Control Strategies for Work Zones: Available Options and Current Practices
Abstract: 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. Conventionally, bottleneck merge control plans are developed to address bottlenecks impacts. However, there is a need to better understand the various merge control options and their potential impacts on traffic operations and safety. This study reviewed available options and current practices of bottleneck merge control strategies at work zones, and summarized transportation agencies’ considerations to mitigate adverse impacts. An extensive literature review was performed and a questionnaire survey was developed and used to gather relevant information. Input was solicited from all US State Departments of Transportation. Responses from 27 States revealed that transportation agencies currently rely on experience when selecting a bottleneck merge control strategy and often do not consider influence on construction activities. Thus, a gap was identified between bottleneck merge control and construction plans. Another gap was identified regarding the lack of formal criteria or guidelines for selecting a bottleneck merge control strategy. These gaps need to be addressed through investigating the influence of bottleneck merge control strategies on construction activities, and the development of formal criteria for effective selection of such strategies.
Cite this paper: Ramadan, O. and Sisiopiku, V. (2015) Bottleneck Merge Control Strategies for Work Zones: Available Options and Current Practices. Open Journal of Civil Engineering, 5, 428-436. doi: 10.4236/ojce.2015.54043.

[1]   Chien, S., Tang, Y. and Schonfeld, P. (2002) Optimizing Work Zones for Two-Lane Highway Maintenance Projects. Journal of Transportation Engineering, 128, 145-155.

[2]   Chitturi, M.V., Benekohal, R.F. and Kaja-Mohideen, A.-Z. (2008) Methodology for Computing Delay and User Costs in Work Zones. Transportation Research Record, 2055, 31-38.

[3]   Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) (2009) Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). Federal Highway Administration, Washington DC.

[4]   Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) (2013) Work Zone Operations Best Practices Guidebook (Third Edition). Report № FHWA-HOP-13-012. Federal Highway Administration, Washington DC.

[5]   Hardy, M. and Wunderlich, K.E. (2008) Traffic Analysis Toolbox Volume VIII: Work Zone Modeling and Simulation—A Guide for Decision-Makers. Report № FHWA-HOP-08-029. Federal Highway Administration, Washington DC.

[6]   Jacobson, L., Stribiak, J., Nelson, L. and Sallman, D. (2006) Ramp Management and Control Handbook. Report № FHWA-HOP-06-001. Federal Highway Administration, Washington DC.

[7]   Kurker, M., Fournier, C., Zhao, Q., Hakimi, S., Qi, Y., Tang, S., Liu, R., Ruiz Juri, N., Duthie, J. and Machemehl, R. (2014) Minimizing User Delay and Crash Potential through Highway Work Zone Planning. Report № FHWA/TX-13/0-6704-1. Texas Department of Transportation, Austin.

[8]   Lentzakis, A.F., Spiliopoulou, A.D., Papamichail, I., Papageorgiou, M. and Wang, Y. (2008) Real-Time Work Zone Management for Throughput Maximization. Transportation Research Board 87th Annual Meeting, Washington DC, 13-17 January 2008, Paper No. 08-0772.

[9]   McCoy, P.T. and Pesti, G. (2001) Dynamic Late Merge-Control Concept for Work Zones on Rural Interstate Highways. Transportation Research Record, 1745, 20-26.

[10]   Morgado, J. and Neves, J. (2014) Work Zone Planning in Pavement Rehabilitation: Integrating Cost, Duration, and User Effects. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 140, Article ID: 04014050.

[11]   Oner, E. (2008) An Evaluation of Entrance Ramp Metering for Freeway Work Zones Using Digital Simulation. Doctor of Philosophy Dissertation, Ohio University, Athens.

[12]   Pesti, G., Wiles, P., Cheu, R.L., Songchitruksa, P., Shelton, J. and Cooner, S.A. (2008) Traffic Control Strategies for Congested Freeways and Work Zones. Report № FHWA/TX-08/0-5326-2. Texas Department of Transportation, Austin.

[13]   Sankar, P., Jeannotte, K., Arch, J.P., Romero, M. and Bryden, J.E. (2006) Work Zone Impacts Assessment: An Approach to Assess and Manage Work Zone Safety and Mobility Impacts of Road Projects. Report № FHWA-HOP-05-068. Federal Highway Administration, Washington DC.

[14]   Schroeder, B.J., Cunningham, C.M., Findley, D.J., Hummer, J.E. and Foyle, R.S. (2010) Manual of Transportation Engineering Studies. 2nd Edition, Institute of Transportation Engineers, Washington DC.

[15]   Sun, C., Edara, P. and Zhu, Z. (2013) Evaluation of Temporary Ramp Metering for Work Zones. Transportation Research Record, 2337, 17-24.

[16]   Tympakianaki, A., Spiliopoulou, A.D., Kouvelas, A. and Papageorgiou, M. (2012) Real-Time Merging Traffic Control for Throughput Maximization at Motorway Work Zones. Proceedings of Transport Research Arena, Athens, 23-26 April 2012, 1545-1556.

[17]   Wei, H., Pavithran, M., Yi, P., Yang, Q. and Zeng, Q.-A. (2010) Synthesis of Unconventional Dynamic Merge Metering Traffic Control for Work Zones. Open Transportation Journal, 4, 52-60.