The National Academies

NCHRP 03-81 [Completed]

Strategies for Integrated Operation of Freeway and Arterial Corridors

  Project Data
Funds: $497,751
Principal Investigator: Jeffrey E. Randall
Effective Date: 10/7/2005
Completion Date: 10/7/2007


Conditions on one road can affect the operation of nearby roads. Congestion, particularly unexpected congestion, can cause some travelers to shift to another route. In a freeway corridor, this often results in freeway traffic diverting to a parallel arterial street. If this additional traffic is not anticipated, the traffic signal timing will not be optimal.

In many regions of the United States, freeways and arterial streets are operated by different agencies that lack clear strategies for coordinated operation of the corridor. Without these strategies, the agencies lack a compelling reason to enhance their traffic management systems to allow data sharing and coordinated response.


The objective of this project was to develop a manual of recommended strategies for integrating the operation of a freeway and arterial corridor, including their benefits and methods of implementing them.


The Phase I  interim report was received and reviewed by the panel.  At that time, it was felt that the work being done in the FHWA's Integrated Corridor Management Initiative would provide a better way to address the project objective.


PHASE I (1.) Review domestic and international literature to update the Synthesis of Practice and Annotated Bibliography developed in the Transportation Management Center Pooled Fund Study Project "Coordinated Freeway and Surface Street Operational Plans and Procedures." (2.) Review performance measures suitable for assessing the operation of a freeway and arterial corridor and identify those that are particularly relevant for integrated operation. (3.) Characterize existing and promising technologies for freeway and arterial management systems. Identify interface points between the two systems and technologies for communicating at these interfaces. (4.) Define operational strategies for integrated operation of a freeway and arterial corridor (e.g., predefined response plans for nonrecurrent congestion, shared traffic signal control between agencies, integrated ramp meter/traffic signal control, transit priority, data integration) and discuss their impacts on various system users (e.g., commuter, freight hauler, tourist). Identify the information that should be shared between freeway and arterial management systems. Select strategies to explore in Tasks 7 and 8, commensurate with project resources, that offer clear benefits to transportation agencies and can be implemented in many regions in the near future. (5.) Identify and review tools for analyzing the strategies selected in Task 4, highlighting any shortcomings in the tools. These tools are for use in Task 7. (6.) Submit an interim report within 6 months that documents the work done in Phase I and includes an updated work plan for Phase II and an annotated outline of the manual that will be developed in Task 11. Following review of the interim report by the NCHRP, the research team will be required to make a presentation to the project panel. Work on Phase II will not begin until the interim report is approved and the Phase II work plan is authorized by the NCHRP.

PHASE II (7.) Evaluate the selected strategies using appropriate analysis tools for the various system users. Determine the benefits of the strategies using the performance measures identified in Task 2. (8.) Describe typical system designs to implement the selected operational strategies. (9.) Conduct four to six on-site interviews with transportation and other agencies to define successful and promising organizational and collaborative structures for corridor operation. Describe methods that can facilitate the implementation of operational strategies (e.g., champions, metropolitan planning organizations practices, funding processes, legislation). Identify strategies for resolving conflicts between organizations (e.g., establishing corridor performance measures). (10.) Develop marketing materials that practitioners can customize to justify implementation of the operational strategies in their regions. (11.) Develop a practical manual that assists practitioners in identifying strategies that will be beneficial in their regions, explaining the benefits of those strategies to decisionmakers and the public, identifying needed data and communication links to other agencies' traffic management systems, and working with those agencies to develop an implementation plan. (12.) Submit a final report documenting the entire research effort and including the Task 11 manual as a stand-alone document.

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