Evaluation andImplementation of Traffic Simulation Models for Work Zones

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New England Transportation Consortium Project

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As the National Highway System reaches the end of its serviceable life, transportation agencies increasingly need to focus on the preservation, rehabilitation, and maintenance of these roads. In light of significant increases in the amount of work zone activity, transportation officials and contractors are challenged with finding ways to reduce the negative impacts on driver mobility. The key to addressing this challenge is to recognize potential impacts well in advance. One major tool used for this purpose is computer simulation. There are many simulation models in existence, some of which are designed specifically for work zone analysis. Examples of these models include QUEWZ, QuickZone, CORSIM, and CA4PRS. This purpose of this paper is to present case studies that illustrate and evaluate these models in terms of their ease of use, data requirements, and ability to simulate and assess work zone strategies, shedding light on the relative reliability and accuracy of these simulation models as well as their user-friendliness and data requirements. This paper compares simulation results to actual work zones conditions in eight locations across New England. The results of this evaluation will be of interest to state and local transportation engineers responsible for planning and designing work zone strategies. This research has shown that some simulation models provide a low-risk, low-cost environment in which to test and analyze a variety of work zone alternatives. For example, QUEWZ and QuickZone were able to provide reasonable order of magnitude queue length estimates on interstate highways comparable to observations made in the field. In addition, such estimates required little data including hourly volume and roadway geometry information.

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