The National Academies

NCHRP 03-92 [Final]

Production of the Year 2010 Highway Capacity Manual

  Project Data
Research Agency: Kittelson & Associates
Principal Investigator: Mark Vandehey
Effective Date: 9/24/2007
Completion Date: 9/23/2011


The objective of this research was to develop an up-to-date HCM that is directly relevant to the facility planning and design needs of engineers and planners in 2010. The manual will provide a comprehensive set of methodologies for quantifying congestion and overall facility performance and an integrated systems analysis approach for sizing facilities and for determining geometric design parameters. The approach will be applicable to automobile, truck, bus, bicycle, and pedestrian travel on a highway, street facility, sidewalk, or shared-use path in the public street or highway right-of-way.


The HCM 2010 has been published. 


The current Highway Capacity Manual (HCM) has been a great success with over 16,000 copies distributed since 2000. The HCM has become the model for similar capacity manuals in many other countries. However, since its publication, great strides have been made in microscopic traffic simulation, operations analysis, and the management and control of traffic facilities. In addition, better tools are needed for evaluating context-sensitive solutions, travel-time reliability, and over-capacity conditions so that cost-effective capital and operations decisions can be made. These tools must also include non-motorized and transit modes.

Recognizing the continuing need to update the current Year 2000 HCM, NCHRP has funded 8 projects for $4.5 million over the last 6 years: NCHRP Project 03-60, “Capacity and Quality of Service of Interchange Ramp Terminals"; NCHRP Project 03-64, “Highway Capacity Manual Applications Guide”; NCHRP Project 03-65, “Applying Roundabouts in the United States"; NCHRP Project 03-70, “Multimodal Level of Service Analysis for Urban Streets"; NCHRP Project 03-75, “Analysis of Freeway Weaving Sections"; NCHRP Project 03-79, “Measuring and Predicting the Performance of Automobile Traffic on Urban Streets"; NCHRP Project 03-82, “Default Values for Capacity and Quality of Service Analyses"; and NCHRP Project 03-85, “Guidance for the Use of Alternative Traffic Analysis Tools in Highway Capacity Analyses.”  In addition, the second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2) is developing new tools that could be beneficially included in the HCM, particularly in projects L03, “Analytic Procedures for Determining the Impacts of Reliability Improvement Strategies,” and L07, “Evaluation of Costs and Effectiveness of Highway Design Features to Improve Travel Time Reliability.”  An overall HCM production research project is needed to pull this information together and update the HCM so that it continues to be a consistent and coherent guide to the latest accepted capacity and operations analysis practice for the United States.


Task 1.  Conduct a state-of-the-art review to inventory and summarize domestic and international research and experience on the analysis of capacity and quality of service since 1998. Interview key researchers for relevant research projects (NCHRP, FHWA, TCRP, SHRP2, Airport Cooperative Research Program, state-sponsored, and international) to identify issues that will need to be addressed during the development of the year 2010 HCM.

Task 2.
  Design, test, and conduct focus groups of HCM users to identify their concerns with the current HCM methodologies, organization, and format. The focus groups should target practitioners using the HCM or HCM-based software for planning and design, HCM-based software developers, and academics and students using the HCM as an educational tool.

Task 3.
 Explore alternative methods of delivering and maintaining the HCM that address the needs of users and those of the TRB Committee on Highway Capacity and Quality of Service (HCQS) and TRB staff. This exploration should include related products such as the HCM Applications Guide. 

Task 4.
 Develop recommendations on the purpose, objectives, target users, and target usage for the 2010 HCM. The recommendations should address multimodal analysis needs and the need for a comprehensive set of methodologies for planning a facility, its segments, and its intersections. Describe gaps in knowledge that could realistically be addressed in Task 6 to achieve a better HCM.

Task 5. 
Submit an interim report, within 4 months, presenting the results of Tasks 1 through 4 and an annotated outline for the 2010 HCM, clearly identifying sections that will undergo significant changes.  The report should include a revised work plan and a revised budget for the remaining tasks.  The report should specify the schedule and format of the Task 9 deliverables. NCHRP review and approval of the interim report will be required before proceeding with work on the remaining tasks. The contractor should anticipate meeting with the NCHRP project panel to discuss the interim report.

Task 6.
 Conduct supplemental research to fill the gaps within the HCM as identified in the Task 5 report’s revised work plan and approved by the NCHRP project panel.

Task 7.  
Prepare sample problems for the HCM 2010 that illustrate use of the methodologies. Develop software as needed to prepare sample problems and make it available to the NCHRP and the TRB HCQS Committee.

Task 8.  
Prepare draft HCM chapters and present them to the TRB HCQS Committee as they are ready, using web conferencing services provided by the TRB. All draft chapters should be presented prior to the Committee’s summer 2009 meeting.  The chapters should be submitted in the format of the most current version of the Microsoft Office Suite that is in widespread use in the user community. Revise the draft chapters based on comments from the NCHRP project panel and the TRB HCQS Committee.

Task 9.
 Submit the draft HCM 2010 using customary U.S. units with text, graphics, and sample problems in electronic format.  A metric conversion guide should be included. Present the draft HCM 2010 to the TRB HCQS Committee for approval at the January 2010 TRB Annual Meeting. If necessary, revise the draft HCM 2010 based on the Committee’s actions and resubmit it.

Task 10.
 Assist TRB staff during the editing and production of the HCM 2010. 

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