Consider road geometry carefully before implementing part-time shoulder use lanes.

PTSU's effects are strongest along congested segments of road, but can be severely impacted by placement and positioning of ramps or merging lanes.


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Lesson Learned

The researchers' literature review revealed that the benefits of PTSU can vary dramatically. In one implementation, travel time was reduced to 16 percent of what it had been previously, while others more consistently found reductions of around 30 percent. The study's own simulation found travel time reductions greater than the general range of values given in the literature, further indicating that the method's effectiveness can be somewhat unpredictable.

The simulation further offered several key points for suggested implementation of PTSU:
  • If possible, PTSU should be implemented in the left shoulder, as it is generally found to be more effective. One study found that left-lane PTSU was ten times more effective at reducing travel time than right-lane PTSU.
  • The vehicle composition of the roadway should be taken into consideration, as heavy vehicles can negatively impact the effectiveness of PTSU lanes.
  • The extent of a PTSU zone should be carefully considered: Extending it too far can cause it to lose its cost-effective advantage; however, if it is not wide enough, its operational benefits can be impacted by congestion in other areas of the road.

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Operational Evaluation of Part-Time Shoulder Use for Interstate 476 in the State of Pennsylvania

Author: Coffey, Sean and Seri Park

Published By: Advances in Civil Engineering

Source Date: 11/21/18

Other Reference Number: Volume 2018, Article ID 1724646

URL: https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/1724646

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Lesson ID: 2018-00851