All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Virginia P Sisiopiku

Advisory Committee Members

Andrew Sullivan

Wesley C Zech

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE) School of Engineering


The presence of work zones due to pavement repair and rehabilitation is very common in highway facilities. Lane closures associated with work zones result in capacity reduction, which in turn often leads to increased congestion at such locations. Properly set work zones can minimize the adverse operational impacts. This thesis documents part of a study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham that investigated and compared the performance of freeway facilities in the presence of work zones under various Temporary Traffic Control (TTC) and lane closure scenarios while taking under consideration traffic composition and driving behaviors. The study site was an approximately 10-mile freeway segment of Interstate 65 (I-65) located in Birmingham, AL. The testbed was coded in PTV VISSIM, a microscopic simulation analysis platform, for: (a) baseline conditions (i.e., no work zone presence) and (b) work zone conditions with single lane closure (i.e., 3-to-2 lane closure). Work zone scenarios were coded for two TTC strategies, namely, early merge and late merge control and for three different positions of the lane closure (i.e., left, right, and center lane closures). The length of the work zones was varied for 1000ft, 2000 ft and 3000 ft. Sensitivity analysis was performed to document the operational impacts of varying heavy vehicle percentages, changes in drivers’ aggressiveness, and projected traffic demand changes. Moreover, consideration of the presence of autonomous vehicles into the traffic mix took place. The impacts were quantified using linked-based measures of effectiveness (MOEs) obtained from PVT VISSIM such as delay per vehicle, travel time, and travel time index. These are key performance measures for demonstrating mobility and user satisfaction. The study results show that there is no significant change in travel time index due to variation of work zone length across the study corridor. Under the early merge strategy, left lane closure creates 15% more travel time index during morning peak (8am) and 18% more travel time index during evening peak (6pm) compared to right lane closure, and the difference is statistically significant. Under similar traffic control and demand conditions, a center lane closure consistently results in significantly higher travel time index than a left or right lane closure and it is recommended that center lane closures be avoided. Consideration of operational impacts of changes in truck percentage indicates that the corridor can absorb an increase in truck percentage from 10% to 15%, while performance rapidly deteriorates when a higher percentage of trucks is present in the traffic stream. The thesis report discusses the study approach, experimental design, model development, model calibration and validation, results, and main findings and conclusions. The results of the analysis help identify conditions and options that have a minimal impact on traffic operations in the presence of work zones. The study findings can be used to guide transportation agencies in their future efforts to develop strategic lane closure plans that minimize congestion. Effective work zone planning, and design can greatly benefit the traveling public, as improved work zone operations have a positive impact on user satisfaction, mobility, and traffic safety.

Included in

Engineering Commons



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