All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Virginia P Sisiopiku

Advisory Committee Members

Michael D Anderson

Nabil H Elashkar

Akhlaque Haque

Wilbur A Hitchcock

Wael A Kamel

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2016

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Engineering

Abstract

Maintenance and rehabilitation projects of interstate facilities typically mandate lane closures which often result in bottlenecks. Merging maneuvers at these bottlenecks have adverse impacts on traffic operations. Conventionally, transportation management plans are developed to address such impacts; however, such plans rely on conventional bottleneck merge control as stipulated in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices and overlook the relevant impacts on construction plans and schedules. Accordingly, agencies opt to schedule work zones during off-peak (nighttime) periods, which adversely impacts safety and productivity of workers. The issue persists because little is known about the performance of alternative bottleneck merge control strategies and their potential impacts on construction plans and schedules. The purpose of this study is to identify alternative bottleneck merge control strategies with a potential to minimize congestion at interstates work zones and improve relevant construction practices. This study first did a comprehensive literature and state-of-practice review to identify promising alternative merge control strategies and document current practices. Then, the study employed microscopic simulation to assess the impacts of identified strategies on operations, environment, safety, and construction planning and scheduling decisions. Key findings include that work zone length is insignificant with respect to facility level of service, environmental impacts, and delays. Additionally, the study concluded that mainline merge metering holds great promise and should be subject to large scale field operational test. This will allow added flexibility for scheduling construction activities around the clock without compromising traffic flow quality. The study is significant for its contribution to bridge an existing gap between work zone traffic control research and practice, and another existing gap between transportation and construction engineering research. Additionally, this study contributes to the traffic microscopic simulation body of knowledge by providing practical provisions and creative approaches to simulate bottleneck merge control strategies in the popular microscopic simulation platform CORSIM, thus addressing an existing limitation of the software. Overall, it is expected that the findings from this study will motivate agencies to stir away from the practice of nighttime scheduling and adopt one of the promising strategies presented in this research to improve efficiency, safety, and cost.

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Engineering Commons

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