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Basic Freeway Section and Ideal Freeway Conditions A basic freeway section is a segment where there are no interruptions

to the flow of traffic. Interruptions to traffic flow occur when vehicles enter or leave the freeway. Therefore, a basic freeway section is one where on or off ramps are not present for at least 1500 feet upstream and downstream of the section. In addition to uninterrupted conditions, the "ideal" basic freeway section is defined as having the following characteristics:
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Each lane is 12 feet wide. There is 6 feet of clearance between the outside and the inside edges of the freeway and the nearest obstruction that would distract or influence a motorist. All vehicles are passenger cars (no trucks, buses, or recreational vehicles). Ten or more lanes (in urban areas only). Interchanges are spaced every 2 miles or more. The drivers are regular and familiar users of the freeway section. The terrain is level, with grades no greater than 2%.

Together, these conditions represent the "highest" (ideal) type of freeway section, which is one with a free-flow speed of 70 mph or higher and a capacity of 2400 passenger cars per hour per lane (pcphpl). Basic Freeway Section and Ideal Freeway Conditions The following excerpt was taken from Chapter 3, page 3-1, of the 1997 revision of the Highway Capacity Manual published by the Transportation Research Board. A freeway may be defined as a divided highway with full control of access and two or more lanes for the exclusive use of traffic in each direction. Freeways provide uninterrupted flow. There are no signalized or stop-controlled at-grade intersections, and direct access to and from adjacent property is not permitted. Access to and from the freeway is limited to ramp locations. Opposing directions of flow are continuously separated by a raised barrier, an at-grade median, or a raised traffic island. Operating conditions on a freeway primarily result from interactions among vehicles and drivers in the traffic stream and between vehicles and their drivers and the geometric characteristics of the freeway. Operations can also be affected by environmental conditions, such as weather or lighting conditions, by pavement conditions, and by the occurrence of traffic incidents. Freeway vs Highway All freeways are highways but not every highway is a freeway. A freeway is a "controlled-access" highway that's designed exclusively for high-speed vehicular traffic. Traffic flow on a freeway is unhindered because there are no traffic signals, intersections or any at-grade crossings with other roads, railways, or pedestrian paths. The main difference between freeways and multilane highways is that in the case of freeways, these roads are separated from the rest of the traffic and can only be accessed by ramps. These ramps (slip roads) allow for speed changes between the freeway and arterial thoroughfares and collector roads. Opposing directions of traffic on a freeway are physically separated by a central reservation (median), such as a strip of grass or boulders, or by a traffic barrier. Traffic across a freeway is carried by overpasses and underpasses.