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Active Traffic Management (ATM) Feasibility Study

Submitted to: Washington State Department of Transportation Urban Corridors Office 401 Second Avenue S., Suite 560 Seattle, WA 98104-3850

Submitted by: PB Americas, Inc. Carter + Burgess EarthTech, Inc. Telvent Farradyne

November 2007

Active Traffic Management (ATM) Feasibility Study


November 2007

Table of Contents
Executive Summary ........................................................................................................................ 1 1.0 Introduction......................................................................................................................... 5 2.0 The Puget Sound Experience .............................................................................................. 7 3.0 Active Traffic Management Techniques .......................................................................... 11 4.0 Study Process and Methodology....................................................................................... 13 4.1 Phase 1 .......................................................................................................................... 13 4.2 Phase 2 .......................................................................................................................... 17 5.0 Speed Harmonization........................................................................................................ 20 5.1 Design Concepts ........................................................................................................... 20 5.2 Capital, Operations and Maintenance Costs ................................................................. 21 5.3 Benefits Assessment ..................................................................................................... 22 5.4 Operations Assessment ................................................................................................. 22 5.4.1 Operations ............................................................................................................. 22 5.4.2 Operator Workload ............................................................................................... 23 5.4.3 Compatibility with High Occupancy Toll or Managed Lanes.............................. 23 5.4.4 Maintenance.......................................................................................................... 24 5.4.5 Compliance and Enforcement............................................................................... 24 5.4.6 Signing .................................................................................................................. 25 5.4.7 Overhead Sign Bridge Spacing............................................................................. 25 6.0 Queue Warning ................................................................................................................. 26 6.1 Design Concepts ........................................................................................................... 26 6.2 Capital, Operations and Maintenance Costs ................................................................. 27 6.3 Benefits Assessment ..................................................................................................... 28 6.4 Operations Assessment ................................................................................................. 28 6.4.1 Operations ............................................................................................................. 28 6.4.2 Operator Workload ............................................................................................... 28 6.4.3 Compatibility with High Occupancy Toll or Managed Lanes.............................. 28 6.4.4 Maintenance.......................................................................................................... 29 6.4.5 Compliance and Enforcement............................................................................... 29 6.4.6 Signing .................................................................................................................. 29 7.0 Junction Control................................................................................................................ 30 7.1 Design Concepts ........................................................................................................... 30 7.2 Capital, Operations and Maintenance Costs ................................................................. 32 7.3 Benefits Assessment ..................................................................................................... 32 7.4 Operations Assessment ................................................................................................. 32 7.4.1 Operations ............................................................................................................. 33 7.4.2 Operator Workload ............................................................................................... 33 7.4.3 Compatibility with High Occupancy Toll or Managed Lanes.............................. 33 7.4.4 Maintenance.......................................................................................................... 33 7.4.5 Compliance and Enforcement............................................................................... 33 7.4.6 Signing .................................................................................................................. 34 i

8.0 Hard Shoulder Running .................................................................................................... 35 8.1 Design Concept............................................................................................................. 35 8.2 Capital, Operations and Maintenance Costs ................................................................. 36 8.3 Benefits Assessment ..................................................................................................... 37 8.4 Operations Assessment ................................................................................................. 37 8.4.1 Operations ............................................................................................................. 37 8.4.2 Operator Workload ............................................................................................... 38 8.4.3 Compatibility with High Occupancy Toll or Managed Lanes.............................. 38 8.4.4 Maintenance.......................................................................................................... 38 8.4.5 Compliance and Enforcement............................................................................... 38 8.4.6 Safety .................................................................................................................... 38 8.4.7 Signing .................................................................................................................. 39 8.4.8 Design Elements ................................................................................................... 39 8.4.9 Other Considerations ............................................................................................ 40 9.0 Dynamic Re-Routing ........................................................................................................ 41 9.1 Design Concept............................................................................................................. 41 9.2 Capital, Operations and Maintenance Costs ................................................................. 41 9.3 Benefits Assessment ..................................................................................................... 42 9.4 Operations Assessment ................................................................................................. 42 9.4.1 Operations ............................................................................................................. 42 10.0 Traveler Information......................................................................................................... 43 10.1 Design Concepts and Costs........................................................................................... 43 10.2 Capital, Operations and Maintenance Costs ................................................................. 44 10.3 Benefits Assessment ..................................................................................................... 44 10.4 Operations Assessment ................................................................................................. 44 10.4.1 Operations ............................................................................................................. 44 11.0 Integration with Current ITS Infrastructure...................................................................... 45 12.0 Institutional Issues ............................................................................................................ 46 13.0 Recommendations............................................................................................................. 48 13.1 Recommendations for the I-405 Study Area ................................................................ 48 13.2 Recommendations for the Freeway System Beyond the Study Area ........................... 49 13.3 Recommendations to Address Institutional and Organizational Issues........................ 53 Appendices.................................................................................................................................... 55

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List of Figures
Figure 1 - Lost Throughput on Puget Sound Freeways .................................................................. 7 Figure 2 - Lost Throughput on I-405 in Renton ............................................................................. 8 Figure 3 - Causes of Congestion in the United States .................................................................... 8 Figure 4 - Speed-Flow Curve for I-405 .......................................................................................... 9 Figure 5 - Rear-end Collisions, Congestion and Hours of Delay (Northbound I-5)..................... 10 Figure 6 - Phase 1 Corridors for Consideration ............................................................................ 14 Figure 7 - Speed Harmonization: Speed, Lane Control & Icons ................................................. 20 Figure 8 Speed Harmonization: Speed, Lane Control and VMS.............................................. 21 Figure 9 Speed Harmonization: Post-mounted Variable Speed Limit Signs............................ 21 Figure 10 Queue Warning VMS Sign..................................................................................... 27 Figure 11 Queue Warning Static Sign with Flasher ............................................................... 27 Figure 12 Junction Control Upstream Entry Point (Active & Inactive) ................................. 31 Figure 13 Junction Control Advance of Exit Ramp (Active & Inactive) ............................... 31 Figure 14 Junction Control Beyond Exit Ramp (Active) ....................................................... 32 Figure 15 Hard Shoulder Running: Lane Use Mast Arm (Active & Inactive)......................... 35 Figure 16 Hard Shoulder Running Mile Advance (Active & Inactive).............................. 36 Figure 17 Hard Shoulder Running: Upstream Entrance CMS (Active & Inactive) .............. 36 Figure 18 - Junction Control at an Exit with Hard Shoulder Running ......................................... 40 Figure 19 Dynamic Rerouting: Hybrid DMS Supplemental Destination Signing Normal Condition............................................................................................................................... 41 Figure 20 Dynamic Rerouting: Hybrid DMS Supplemental Destination Signing Congested Condition............................................................................................................................... 41 Figure 21 Traveler Information: Hybrid DMS Travel Time Sign Normal Condition........... 43 Figure 22 Traveler Information: Hybrid DMS Travel Time Sign Congested Condition ...... 43 Figure 23 Traveler Information: Double Condition VMS........................................................ 44

List of Tables
Table 1 - ATM Technique Cost Summary ..................................................................................... 2 Table 2 - ATM Technique Implementation Potential................................................................... 50

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List of Abbreviations and Acronyms


ATM CCTV DMS FHWA FTE GP HOT HOV IRT ITS LCD LED MUTCD NTCIP NWR O&M PM PS&E PSRC SOP SOV TMC TMS TMC UPS US VMS VSL WSDOT WSP Active Traffic Management Closed Circuit Television Dynamic Message Sign Federal Highway Administration Full-Time Employee General Purpose High Occupancy Toll High Occupancy Vehicle Incident Response Team Intelligent Transportation System Lane Control Display Light Emitting Diode Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices National Transportation Communications for ITS Protocol Northwest Region Operations and Maintenance Preventive Maintenance Plans, Specifications and Estimate Puget Sound Regional Council Standard Operating Procedure Single-Occupant Vehicle Traffic Management Center Transportation Management System Traffic Management Center Uninterruptible Power Supply United States Variable Message Sign Variable Speed Limit Washington State Department of Transportation Washington State Patrol

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Executive Summary
It is estimated that 1.7 million new people will locate in the central Puget Sound region over the next 30 years and 1.1 million new jobs will be created. This growth has been projected to translate into 1.5 million new vehicles, but our freeway system is already significantly congested for many hours of the day. In addition, the Puget Sound region has a limited number of freeway facilities only two major north-south and two east-west interstates/state routes and the opportunities to expand these facilities are limited. To help address this increasing congestion, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has drawn upon the European experience (Denmark, England, Germany and the Netherlands) for innovative techniques to manage the regions roadway capacity. Coupled with their experience as a national leader in managing freeway facilities through ramp metering, HOV lanes and incident management, WSDOT hopes to use active traffic management (ATM) strategies to improve traffic flow and safety using integrated systems and coordinated responses. ATM is a tool that can maximize safety and traffic flow by dynamically managing and controlling traffic based on the prevailing traffic conditions. These strategies include speed harmonization, queue warning, junction control, hard shoulder running, dynamic re-routing, and traveler information. Speed harmonization involves reducing speed limits in areas of congestion to maintain better traffic flow and reduce the risk of collisions. Queue warning warns motorists of downstream queues and directs traffic to alternate lanes, thereby reducing the likelihood of speed differentials and collisions due to queuing. Junction control directs traffic to specific lanes based on the traffic demand (e.g. utilizes mainline capacity by giving priority to higher ramp volumes). Hard shoulder running utilizes the shoulder as a travel lane to allow traffic to move around an incident, which helps to minimize recurrent congestion and manage traffic during incidents. Dynamic rerouting involves changing the destination signing to account for current traffic conditions in order to redirect traffic to less congested facilities. Traveler information or providing travel times is already being provided by WSDOT in the Puget Sound region and allows motorists to make more informed pre-trip and en-route decisions. This feasibility study was conducted in two phases: a qualitative screening and a phase that incorporated both qualitative and quantitative assessments and analysis. The first phase qualitatively evaluated three major transportation corridors in the Puget Sound region to determine which corridor presented the best opportunity to test ATM techniques. The evaluation process used screening criteria such as data availability, infrastructure, traffic conditions, implementation potential, implementation feasibility, near- and long-term construction activities to evaluate the corridors. The southern section of I-405 (Tukwila to Factoria) was selected as the corridor most suited for further quantitative analysis, although I-5 was very close as the next highest rated corridor. There was not a wide variation in the corridor rankings which indicates that all corridors would be suitable for implementing ATM strategies. The second phase qualitatively and quantitatively assessed the six ATM techniques for application within the selected corridor. In addition, this phase explored the operational, policy and institutional issues for implementation as well as developed conceptual cost estimates (capital, operations and maintenance) and conducted microsimulation modeling to assess the benefits.

Active Traffic Management Feasibility Study November 2007

A range of design concepts were developed for each of the ATM techniques, based on both European and US models. Capital and operations and maintenance costs are summarized in Table 1 for the various conceptual designs developed for the ATM techniques. Table 1 - ATM Technique Cost Summary ATM Technique Speed Harmonization (12 miles) Queue Warning Capital Cost $56 million Annual O&M Cost $464,000 Estimated Benefit $13.6 million per year

$1.5 million per location

Junction Control

Hard Shoulder Running Dynamic Rerouting Traveler Information

$1.6 to $1.8 million per location $2.7 million per mile $1.7 million per mile $0.7 million to $1.2 million per location

Recommended to implement as part of speed harmonization, which would be inclusive of operations and maintenance costs for queue warning Varies based on location and implementation with other ATM techniques Varies based on location and implementation with other ATM techniques Removed from consideration $43,000 (for four location)

$0.78 million per year

Up to $0.25 million per year N/A please see Section 8.3 N/A please see Section 9.3 N/A please see Section 10.3

For speed harmonization, there is a potential cost savings of $13.6 million per year due to the reduction in collisions and reduced delay. This benefit translates into a system recovery cost in just over four years. The benefits of queue warning reveal that the system costs could be recovered in a little over three years. It was more difficult to fully assess the benefits of junction control (see Appendix C for more details). Using the SR 518 installation, it would take between six and eleven years to recover the system costs. Operational and policy issues were explored for each of the ATM techniques. They included an operations assessment which focused on topics such as operator workload, compatibility with HOT or managed lanes, maintenance, compliance and enforcement, safety, design elements, signing, and sign bridge spacing. Each technique provided unique considerations, for example operator workload for junction control at SeaTac Airport, which has mid-day and late evening peaks, would require TMC staffing and monitoring of the control systems outside of the current hours of operation. Therefore, there would be incremental workload increases if junction control were to be implemented independently in a number of locations. Another example pertains to compliance for hard shoulder running. Strict enforcement is paramount to safe operations and to maximize operational compliance. In addition, discussions, agreements, and standard operating procedures (SOPs) would be needed to ensure an orderly and safe operation of this ATM technique. Active Traffic Management Feasibility Study November 2007 2

Institutional issues were identified as well and were related to the areas of regulatory and legal issues, finance, organization and management issues, and human and facilities resources. For example, ATM must be a priority in programming and funding. Without it, techniques will be installed piecemeal and the benefits will not live up to the promise of the technology. Another issue was weekly staffing for TMC operations. In order to effectively manage the ATM techniques, the TMC will need to be staffed with operators 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The application of ATM techniques in the Puget Sound is consistent with WSDOTs traffic management philosophy and would provide them with another set of tools to manage traffic conditions. Much of the hardware required for speed harmonization fits well with the existing ITS infrastructure. In fact, the existing detector stations may be able to be used to provide the data needed for the speed harmonization system. The VMS used to support the various techniques are similar to the signs used throughout the region by WSDOT. Integration will take some effort, but WSDOT can continue to maintain its own ITS central software, as the source code is owned and new versions of the software can be built. A number of recommendations were developed by the study team for the I-405 study area, the freeway system outside of the study area, and to address the various institutional and organizational issues that were identified. They are summarized as follows: I-405 Study Area Implement speed harmonization throughout the study area, in both directions. Incorporate queue warning in the southbound direction at the SR 167 interchange. Study junction control in more depth on eastbound SR 518 in the vicinity of the North Airport Access Road and at the SR 167/I-405 interchange. Further investigate hard shoulder running by extending the limits on southbound SR 167. Drop dynamic re-routing from further consideration in favor of implementing travel time information signing. Implement specialty travel time signs at four locations. Use ATM techniques during construction for the maintenance of traffic. Combine ATM implementation with existing projects in the corridor for a potential two percent cost savings in the total project cost. Outside the I-405 Study Area Further investigate the ATM techniques that were identified as having potential benefits at locations outside of the study area. Focus region-wide implementation of travel time signing at locations that do not currently have VMS. Institutional and Organizational Issues Commitment to 24/7 operations. Commitment to required maintenance and replacement of ATM systems. Providing outreach to the public and stakeholder organizations to provide information on and education about the ATM techniques will be key to building trust. Outreach to elected and appointed officials and other decision-makers is critical. Coordination with local partners, particularly enforcement, will be needed. Active Traffic Management Feasibility Study November 2007 3

When speed harmonization is first implemented, provide information to the public and stakeholders as to why there are three different approaches to variable speed limits in Washington. Need improved analysis tools so benefits can be estimated more accurately. Get experimental use approval for several signing and/or control techniques that are not currently in compliance with the MUTCD. WSDOT should continue to participate in the national dialog on ATM techniques for the mutual benefit of all agencies involved.

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1.0 Introduction
Congestion is a persistent problem for the Puget Sound regions freeway system, and our region is projected to continue growing in terms of total population and employment. It is estimated that 1.7 million new people will locate in the central Puget Sound region over the next 30 years and 1.1 million new jobs will be created. This growth has been projected to translate into 1.5 million new vehicles. Lined up at 15 feet each, 1.5 million vehicles would stretch for nearly 4,260 miles the distance from Seattle to New York City and then to Miami. When parked, bumper-to-bumper, the same 1.5 million additional vehicles would require a roadway 142 lanes wide and 30 miles long, the same length as I-405. The Puget Sound region has a limited number of freeway facilities only two major north-south and two east-west interstates/state routes and the opportunities to expand these facilities are limited. For this reason, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has elected to look to the European experience (Denmark, England, Germany and the Netherlands) for innovative and forward thinking techniques to manage the regions roadway capacity. The European experience includes active traffic management (ATM) strategies that improve traffic flow and safety using integrated systems and coordinated responses. In June 2006, a group of eleven transportation professionals, representing planning, design, and operations visited five European countries to study how these nations were addressing freeway congestion using ATM techniques. The trip was sponsored by the International Technology Scanning Program, a partnership of AASHTO, FHWA and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program of TRB. The trip purpose was to examine European congestion management programs, polices and experiences.
International Technology Scanning Tour Key Findings: ATM is a tool to maximize both flow and safety. Active management strategies can help optimize the existing infrastructure during recurrent/ non-recurrent congestion. ATM may be used as an interim strategy to maximize the efficiency of corridors that may receive major capital investments. Operations must be a priority in planning, programming, and funding processes. Focus on trip reliability and customer orientation.

Active traffic management can be defined as dynamically managing and controlling traffic based on prevailing conditions for recurrent and non-recurrent congestion. With travel demand on the rise and increasing congestion, coupled with the reality of todays financial constraints, congestion management can be a primary operational strategy for transportation agencies. ATM is a tool that can maximize safety and throughput and may be used as an interim strategy to maximize the efficiency of corridors that may ultimately receive major capital investments. The WSDOT is already a national leader in managing freeway facilities efficiently using ramp metering, HOV lanes, providing traveler information, and managing incidents. By taking advantage of the knowledgeable and dedicated operations staff who work with WSDOTs highActive Traffic Management Feasibility Study November 2007 5

functioning traffic management system, these innovative ATM techniques would serve as additional tools to manage and utilize the regions freeway capacity effectively, efficiently, and safely. This report will discuss findings on ATM from the European experience, the study purpose and methodology, the ATM techniques assessed, costs and benefits at a conceptual level, and operational and policy issues associated with implementing these ATM strategies in the Puget Sound region. It will also identify recommended ATM techniques for implementation within the identified study area, as well as other locations within the region.

Active Traffic Management Feasibility Study November 2007

2.0 The Puget Sound Experience


The Central Puget Sound area experienced 520,000 person hours (370,000 vehicle hours) of daily delay in 2004. Congestion on our roadway facilities not only contributes to daily delay hours, it also means that our system is functioning with significant capacity reductions (Figure 1). In some cases, as on I-405 in Renton and downtown Bellevue, half of the capacity is lost due to recurrent and non-recurrent congestion during the peak travel period meaning our freeway system provides the least performance when it is needed the most.

Figure 1 - Lost Throughput on Puget Sound Freeways As shown in Figure 2, the morning peak on I-405 in Renton operates at approximately 50 to 60 percent of its capacity, and operates at approximately 65 percent of its capacity from about 2 PM to 8 PM on the weekdays.

Active Traffic Management Feasibility Study November 2007

Figure 2 - Lost Throughput on I-405 in Renton Figure 3 illustrates the typical sources of congestion in two categories: non-recurrent and recurrent. Non-recurrent congestion, which comprises 55 percent of all congestion, is the result of traffic incidents, inclement weather, construction work zones and special events. The other 45 percent is from recurrent congestion which is mostly attributed to bottlenecks and some lack of signal optimization.

Figure 3 - Causes of Congestion in the United States The situation in the Puget Sound region is no different than that found for the US as a whole. Recognizing that constructing additional freeway lanes is costly and is not a sustainable strategy, managing the Puget Sounds current roadway capacity takes on a greater significance. Effectively managing roadway capacity can take two forms, one is to manage recurrent Active Traffic Management Feasibility Study November 2007 8

congestion and the other is to affect and then manage the non-recurrent sources of congestion, such as collisions. Maximizing the efficiency of the existing system to move people and goods is more reliably achieved when freeway speeds are dependably maintained between 41 mph and 52 mph. Figure 4 represents the speed flow curve and depicts the relationship between vehicle speeds and vehicle flow in the I-405 corridor. Managing speeds on roadway facilities in a range that maximizes flow can help manage recurrent congestion.

Figure 4 - Speed-Flow Curve for I-405 The effect of collisions and congestion on roadway facilities results in a reduction of roadway capacity. Congestion contributes to the incidence of collisions (rear ends, sideswipes) and collisions compound and contribute to congestion. Figure 5 shows the relationship between rear end collisions, congestion occurrences, and the hours of delay on I-5 between Vancouver, Washington and the Canadian border. As can be seen, congestion and rear end collisions are highly correlated and focused in the Puget Sound region. Not surprisingly, the Puget Sound region also has the greatest hours of delay and traffic volumes. Again, where we most need freeway facilities to function at their highest potential, they experience the greatest degradation in capacity. Reducing collisions and related congestion can also improve our ability to manage non-recurrent congestion and improve the efficiency of our existing roadways. This study will assess active traffic management strategies for their ability to address congestion and collisions and the feasibility of implementing these strategies in the Puget Sound region.

Active Traffic Management Feasibility Study November 2007

Figure 5 - Rear-end Collisions, Congestion and Hours of Delay (Northbound I-5)

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3.0 Active Traffic Management Techniques


The Washington State Department of Transportation has actively managed the state and interstate roadways and HOV system in the Puget Sound region for approximately 20 years, by providing real-time information, metering ramps, and managing incidents, among other activities. However, there are a number of techniques being used in Europe that could complement and extend WSDOTs capabilities to maximize roadway capacity and increase safety. The following is a brief description of each of the ATM techniques assessed as part of this feasibility study. Speed Harmonization to dynamically and automatically reduce speed limits approaching areas of congestion, accidents, or special events. Benefit to maintain flow and reduce risk of collisions.
Speed harmonization signing in the Netherlands (Dutch Department of Transportation).

Queue Warning to warn motorists of downstream queues and direct through-traffic to alternate lanes. Benefit to effectively utilize available roadway capacity and reduce the likelihood of speed differentials and collisions related to queuing. Junction Control to use variable traffic signs, dynamic pavement markings, and lane use control to direct traffic to specific lanes (mainline or ramp) based on varying traffic demand. Benefit to effectively utilize available roadway capacity and manage traffic flows to reduce congestion.
Junction control in the Netherlands. (Managed Lanes in the Netherlands, AVV Transport Research Center, Ministry of Transport)

Hard Shoulder Running to use the shoulder as a travel lane during congested periods or to allow traffic to move around an incident. Benefit to minimize recurrent congestion and manage traffic during incidents.

Hard shoulder lane in England. (UK Highways Agency)

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Dynamic Rerouting to change destination signs to account for current traffic conditions. Benefit to effectively utilize available roadway capacity by redirecting traffic to less congested facilities.
Dynamic route information displayed on VMS in the Netherlands. (Active Traffic Management: The Next Step in Congestion Management, FHWA-PL-07-012, March 2007)

Traveler Information to provide estimated travel time and other condition reports to communicate travel and traffic conditions. Benefit to allow for better pre-trip and en-route decisions by travelers.
Travel time signs in Germany. (State of Hessen Germany)

The following section discusses the study process and methodology in greater detail.

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4.0 Study Process and Methodology


This feasibility study was completed in two phases. Phase 1 qualitatively evaluated three major transportation corridors in the Puget Sound region to determine which corridor presented the best opportunity to test ATM techniques. The second phase of the feasibility study quantitatively assessed six ATM techniques as they could be applied within the selected Phase 1 corridor and explored operational, policy and institutional issues for implementation. Additional detail on the study process and methodology is presented below.

4.1 Phase 1
As discussed previously, Phase 1 qualitatively evaluated three major transportation corridors in the Puget Sound region for their suitability to test the European ATM techniques. The following corridors were screened based on a number of criteria to determine which provided the best opportunity for further evaluation and consideration: a. Interstate 405 and State Route 167 Corridor This 40-mile route includes the 9-mile SR 167 HOT lane pilot project, managed lane data and analysis of the 30-mile I-405 segment, as well as $1.7 billion of funded improvements that will include ITS elements complementary to an ATM system. b. Interstate 90 and State Route 520 Corridors These two cross Lake Washington routes have recent data and analysis for traffic and transit investment alternatives associated with two recent environmental impact statements, as well as plans for extensive ITS elements and probable tolling (SR 520). c. Interstate 5 The replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct (parallel to I-5 in downtown Seattle) with a $3 billion design may require up to a 5 year closure resulting in significant redirection of 110,000 daily trips in the downtown Seattle area. Active management on I-5 as a means of coping with construction impacts may be effective. A graphic depiction of these corridors and the Central Puget Sound region is shown in Figure 6.

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Figure 6 - Phase 1 Corridors for Consideration The first task for Phase 1 was to develop the qualitative factors that would be used to evaluate the corridors for further quantitative analysis. In order to quantitatively assess or test various ATM techniques, the corridor chosen would need to have certain data available, as well as specific characteristics. The project team, in conjunction with WSDOT, developed the following screening criteria: 1. Data availability: Certain data are required in order to quantitatively assess the applicability and benefits of various ATM techniques. The ability to obtain traffic data for each of the corridors was assessed as part of the initial screening. Active Traffic Management Feasibility Study November 2007 14

2. Infrastructure: As with data availability, the existence of basic infrastructure needed to implement some of the various ATM strategies is important to consider when screening a corridor for future implementation. 3. Traffic conditions: The assessment of various ATM techniques should be done under a wide range of traffic conditions. In other words, the ATM algorithms and parameters should be robust enough to produce positive results (or non-negative results under very light traffic conditions) under almost any traffic condition. Thus, for a realistic evaluation of the impact of ATM, the selected corridor will need a wide range of traffic conditions. 4. Implementation potential: The team qualitatively reviewed each corridor for its ability to test a wide range of ATM strategies: speed harmonization, queue warning, junction control, hard shoulder running, traveler information and dynamic re-routing. In many respects, this was a culmination of all of the above listed criteria. Assessment of implementation potential involved reviewing speed, congestion, and collision patterns in each corridor for roadway segments that are most likely to benefit from potential ATM strategies. Collective judgment was used to determine if any ATM techniques could feasibly be applied to a particular segment to maximize efficiency, improve throughput (both increased corridor operational capacity and during incidents) or minimize collisions. In addition, the roadway geometry was qualitatively assessed to determine if any physical restrictions would preclude the application of the identified ATM strategy. 5. Implementation feasibility: Implementing ATM strategies may require more coordination with outside agencies, such as the Washington State Patrol (WSP), local jurisdictions, transit agencies and the Federal Highway Administration. Some ATM strategies may also require additional staffing and coordination within the WSDOT, as well as potential policy modifications. 6. Near-term construction activities: The most efficient and expedient way to implement any selected ATM strategy is to include the ATM techniques as an integrated part of not only the design of the project, but also as part of the construction activities. To increase both the likelihood of near-term implementation of ATM strategies and potential benefits from ATM, it would be beneficial if the corridor contained near-term construction activities. 7. Impact of long-term construction: Expected (qualitative) impact of planned construction on a parallel/alternate corridor: An important criterion to consider in the corridor selection is additional traffic on the selected corridor due to planned construction on alternate routes, as it presents an opportunity to take full advantage of the various ATM techniques benefits. Once the screening criteria were defined, the project team qualitatively assessed each of the corridors based on the criteria described above and a comparison matrix was completed to aid in the screening process. In addition to the screening process, each corridor was reviewed to identify areas of opportunity to implement the various ATM techniques. A brief listing of the potential applications per corridor found as part of the Phase 1 qualitative review is provided below. I-5 I-5 has perhaps the best opportunities for speed harmonization and queue warning, southbound from South Everett to downtown Seattle, the express lanes, southbound from Boeing Field to South Center Hill, and northbound from the 15

Active Traffic Management Feasibility Study November 2007

Corson/Michigan interchange to downtown Seattle. The possibility also exists to implement hard-shoulder running through downtown Seattle, which is being studied as part of the I-5 Pavement Reconstruction and Bottleneck Improvement Projects. The greatest number of opportunities for Traveler Information and Dynamic Re-Routing, a total of six locations throughout the central Puget Sound area, were identified on I-5. I-405/SR518 The project team identified five opportunities for speed harmonization and queue warning in both the north and south ends of the corridor and an independent queue warning location at the SR 167 interchange. Three opportunities for hard shoulder running were noted in the north end of the corridor, two in the southbound direction and one in the northbound direction. Opportunities for junction control were found between the SR 518/North Airport Access ramp and the I-405/SR 167 interchange, while traveler information and dynamic re-routing opportunities were found at the major roadway interchanges of I-5, I-90, SR 520 and SR 522. SR 167 Three locations for hard-shoulder running were identified by the project team, all of which were in the central portion between SE 180th Street and S 277th Street. The project team identified fewer locations for speed harmonization, queue warning and junction control, but did identify four locations for traveler information and dynamic re-routing, two of which were at the outer edges of the greater Puget Sound region at SR 18 and I-90 and SR 512 and I-5. I-90 The project team identified most ATM opportunities on I-90 in either the Issaquah or Mercer Island areas. I-90 presented fewer speed harmonization opportunities than I-5 or I-405, but slightly more than SR 167, with both east and westbound opportunities in Issaquah and east and westbound opportunities approaching Mercer Island. Hard shoulder running opportunities were identified in the Issaquah and Mercer Island areas as well. I-90 presented two traveler information and dynamic re-routing opportunities and a possible junction control opportunity at SR 519/I-5. SR 520 The project team identified the most junction control opportunities on SR 520 with a total of three: the I-5 ramps to eastbound SR 520, the eastbound Montlake on-ramp, and the eastbound West Lake Sammamish Parkway on-ramp. Two locations for speed harmonization and traveler information and dynamic rerouting were identified, the least of all corridors reviewed, and no hard shoulder running opportunities were identified.

Based on the screening process and the identification of potential opportunities, I-405 appeared to be the corridor most suited for further quantitative analysis of ATM techniques, with I-5 being the next highest rated corridor. However, there was not a wide variation in rating between the corridors, revealing that all corridors had locations and conditions that would be conducive to implementing ATM strategies. For example, I-5 presented the largest number of locations for implementing speed harmonization; SR 520 had a number of locations for junction control, I-90 and SR 167 both presented interesting possibilities for hard-shoulder running. The study team then presented the screening results to representatives from WSDOT, FHWA, team members from the I-405 and SR 520 project offices, the WSP, FHWA, PSRC and others. The workshop participants also rated I-405 as first and I-5 as second in providing opportunities Active Traffic Management Feasibility Study 16 November 2007

to test and implement ATM techniques. The group then discussed the rating results and noted that I-405 may present the best short-term opportunities, but the largest benefit of ATM implementation may ultimately be realized on I-5. The group also reiterated that implementation of ATM techniques at the system-wide level would lead to greater efficiency and safety improvements in the Puget Sound region.

4.2 Phase 2
Phase 2 of this project undertook a quantitative evaluation of the various techniques on I-405, particularly between I-5 in the Southcenter area and I-90 at Factoria. While the quantitative evaluation will be specific to I-405, the merits and quantitative benefits of each ATM strategy can be qualitatively applied to other corridors. The quantitative analysis for Phase 2 included the development of: concept level design, signing and operating plans for each ATM technique; micro-simulation of the ATM techniques as appropriate; conceptual benefits estimation; conceptual cost estimates, and conceptual operations and maintenance costs. The study team based the concept level design and operations on European approaches and an understanding of the local roadway and traffic conditions within the study area. Design and operations strategies were developed for each ATM technique, tailored to each locations unique roadway, traffic and known operational factors or issues. In most instances a variety of designs were developed to account for the European approach and for a more traditional US-based approach. Micro-Simulation and conceptual benefits estimation Micro-simulation modeling was undertaken to estimate the conceptual benefits of the various ATM techniques. The study team used a VISSIM model developed as part of the I-405 Corridor Program, which included the entire I-405 corridor (general purpose lanes, HOV lanes and ramps), from the northern boundary at I-5 to southern boundary at I-5. The basic model parameters were not changed for the purpose of this study, but the model was coded to reflect the various ATM strategies. Not all of the ATM strategies could be modeled, such as dynamic rerouting, traveler information and hard shoulder running. However, algorithms and modifications for speed harmonization, queue warning and junction control were coded into the model and run for results. The initial modeling results were reviewed and the algorithms and coding refined to obtain conceptual level results. To better quantify the accident reduction benefits realized in Europe, a series of blocking incidents were coded into the VISSIM model to determine the amount of delay reduced by the avoidance of collisions. For the purposes of this study only the reduction in primary collisions was considered. The European experience has shown that a reduction in collisions to fall anywhere between 15 and 40 percent of total collisions. After consideration of the European experience, the project team applied injury reduction rates between 15 and 30 percent for injury and property damage only collisions based on the ATM strategy under consideration. The estimated collision avoidance percentage rates were then applied to the total number of collisions within the study corridor to determine the number of collisions estimated to be avoided as a result of the ATM technique. The value of avoiding these collisions was calculated in monetary Active Traffic Management Feasibility Study 17 November 2007

terms by multiplying the number of collisions avoided (and the type) with the National Safety Council value for collision avoidance. The National Safety Council estimates that avoiding one property-damage-only collision saves $8,200 and avoiding one injury collision saves $119,650. Additionally, the VISSIM model was used to estimate the reduction in traffic delay as a result of the various ATM strategies (where applicable and possible) and as a result of collision avoidance. Delay cost savings were developed using 2005 Washington State Employment Security Department annual employment and wage averages for King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties to calculate value of time estimates. Value of time estimates are approximately half of the hourly average wage rate. The delay reduction estimates obtained from the VISSIM model were then multiplied by the calculated value of time estimates (estimated at $11.66 per hour). Capital cost estimates Conceptual capital cost estimates were developed using a variety of sources including FHWAs ITS Unit Costs Database, historical ITS estimate data from WSDOT Northwest Region, and product manufacturers and distributors including: Lighting Group Northwest (sign structures); Smart Stud Systems (in ground flashers); Skyline Electronics (variable and dynamic signs); and Daktronics (variable and dynamic signs). The costs cover two main categories: materials purchase and installation; and software purchasing and implementation. Construction and design factors were added to the estimates to create a cost estimate for each prototypical technique. These factors include: traffic control; mobilization; construction contingency; construction engineering; sales tax; and preliminary (design) engineering. The conceptual cost estimates for the selected I-405 corridor study, while representative of general cost estimates, cannot be directly applied to other corridors without consideration of roadway factors, such as the number of lanes, the presence and condition of shoulders, the presence of existing electricity/fiber, the presence of structure, walls, or soil conditions, etc. Additionally, including ATM techniques with a planned construction project could reduce the amount of up-front costs (advertising process, plan review, etc.), as well as cost savings with a single mobilization and combined construction management efforts. These estimated savings do not include general economies of scale type savings when several projects are combined, nor the savings from shared per mile costs for items like trenching. Operations and maintenance cost estimates Conceptual operations and maintenance costs were based on WSDOTs ITS Maintenance database of estimated annual costs for the various systems including variable message signs, changeable message signs, communication hubs, and closed circuit television cameras. The estimated maintenance costs are based on information received from WSDOTs Northwest Region Maintenance personnel. Pay scale and equipment costs have been roughly adjusted to year 2007 rates. In addition, the operations and maintenance costs included staffing costs for expanding the TMC operations to 24 hours a day, seven days per week. Finally, a qualitative assessment of the operational, policy and institutional issues surrounding implementation of the six assessed ATM techniques was also undertaken by the study team. After the initial assessment was complete, the study team presented the results in a workshop format to representatives from WSDOT, FHWA, the I-405 project office, the WSP, FHWA, and PSRC. This workshop served to validate the concept level design and operations plans, conceptual cost estimates, and implementation issues, as well as identify other considerations, costs and issues not considered by the study team. Active Traffic Management Feasibility Study November 2007 18

The following sections discuss each ATM technique in greater detail, providing background information; detail the concept level design; signing and operation plans; the estimated capital, operating and maintenance costs; and the anticipated benefits for each ATM technique as it applies to the selected study area. Each ATM section also includes an assessment of the potential operational and policy level implementation issues. The institutional issues span all ATM techniques and are discussed separately in Section 12.

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5.0 Speed Harmonization


Germany has used speed harmonization since the 1970s with the focus on improving traffic flow based on the prevailing conditions. It is typically deployed on roadways with high traffic volumes. In Denmark, speed harmonization is referred to as variable speed limits, and it is used to manage congestion during construction projects. Used for many years in the Netherlands, some deployments have been implemented during adverse weather conditions (e.g. fog), while others have been used to create more uniform travel speeds. The lane control displays are used for incidents, maintenance and construction. In 2001, England introduced a pilot in response to motorists demands for better service within the realistic limitations of widening and expanding the roadway network.
Variable Speed Limits on I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass Since 1997, WSDOT has implemented and managed variable speed limits to account for changing and severe weather conditions, one of the few variable speed limits (VSL) in the entire nation. WSDOT has found the VSL to be very effective in creating a uniform traffic speed that increases the safety of travelers going across the pass.

5.1 Design Concepts


The application for I-405 would be to install the system from I-90 south to I-5 (in the northbound and southbound directions). Sign spacing (either overhead or groundmounted signs) would be approximately every one-half mile. This translates into a total of 50 sign bridges/ground-mount signs for the 12-mile section of roadway. Providing this spacing allows the motorist to see a consistent message because there is always an overhead sign bridge in view. The message is reinforced because it is posted in constant intervals. Figure 7 shows the German approach with speed and lane control displays mounted overhead and side-mounted iconic signs and is characterized as Design Concept 1. The lane control displays would provide the additional functionality to use this to manage incidents or address maintenance during nighttime hours. In the Netherlands, lane control displays are used for incidents, maintenance, and construction. In advance of an incident (perhaps two gantries upstream), they use a cocked arrow to move traffic out of the lane.

Figure 7 - Speed Harmonization: Speed, Lane Control & Icons Active Traffic Management Feasibility Study November 2007

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Figure 8 shows an alternative overhead sign bridge design with more traditional speed limit signs and lane control displays coupled with a VMS to provide traffic condition information (Design Concept 2).

Figure 8 Speed Harmonization: Speed, Lane Control and VMS Figure 9 illustrates a low-cost alternative for speed harmonization. This is Design Concept 3, and entails post-mounted variable speed limit (VSL) signs on each side of the roadway.

Figure 9 Speed Harmonization: Post-mounted Variable Speed Limit Signs

5.2 Capital, Operations and Maintenance Costs


Design Concept 1 is the most expensive and is estimated to cost $4.7 million per mile for a corridor total of $56 million (I-405 from SR 518/North Airport Access to I-405/I-90 interchanges). Design Concept 2 is projected to cost $3.5 million per mile or $42 million for the corridor. Careful consideration should be given to the sign bridge design as it is a key element in the system cost; monotube gantries tend to be expensive, while slimmer designs may be more cost effective. However, slimmer sign bridge designs may limit sign maintenance options, with a corresponding increase in maintenance costs due to lane closures and traffic control needs. Design Concept 3 is the least expensive concept and is estimated to cost $1 million per mile or $12 million for the entire corridor. Speed harmonization is expected to require 24 hours a day, 7 days per week operation. The WSDOT currently operates its Traffic Systems Management Center 24/7, but only has traffic system operator staffing approximately 13 hours per day during the weekdays and eight hours per day on the weekends. Operation of a pilot system in the study corridor (I-405 from Factoria/I-90 to Tukwila/I-5), if operated 24/7 is expected to require an additional 11 hours of operator coverage per day on the weekdays and two additional 8-hour shifts per day on the weekends. Active Traffic Management Feasibility Study November 2007 21

Conceptual level costs for the maintenance and operation of the speed harmonization system designed for this study is estimated at $464,000 per year for Design Concepts 1 and 2.

5.3 Benefits Assessment


The European experience has revealed a potential to decrease injury collisions by 30 percent and other collisions by 16 percent1, resulting in 586 fewer collisions during a three-year period. Potential Savings in Delay = Potential Savings in Avoidance = Potential Total Cost Savings = $275,000/yr $13,335,000/yr $13,610,000/yr

Preliminary cost estimates for the speed harmonization design concepts ranged from $1.1 million per mile to $4.7 million per mile. Comparing the most expensive design concept of $56 million with the potential cost savings of $40.8 million (in three years) shows that the system capital cost can be recovered in a little over four years.

5.4 Operations Assessment


Having originated in Europe, the application of using these new ATM techniques in the Puget Sound region poses a number of operational, and policy issues that will require further consideration. In order to fully assess the feasibility of implementing the ATM techniques discussed above, the operational and policy issues were discussed in greater detail in two workshops. During the workshops, the ATM techniques were presented to groups of individuals well versed in transportation policy and the operational aspects of managing the Puget Sound regions roadway facilities. Attendees of the workshop included representatives from WSDOT traffic and design, FHWA, Puget Sound Regional Council, I-405 project team, and the WSP. Discussion of the most relevant operational issues for speed harmonization is presented below.

5.4.1 Operations
The study recommends that the implementation of a speed harmonization system should have the flexibility to be either advisory or regulatory, allowing for the use of the system of signs for many different conditions (congestion, maintenance, weather-related, etc). Currently, the variable speed limit on Snoqualmie Pass is regulatory. If speed harmonization is to be used all the time, the post-mounted regulatory speed limit signs would need to be removed or replaced with a variable speed limit sign that will reflect the speed indicated on the gantries. Speed reductions could be discrete, like 60 mph, 45 mph, and 35 mph, or could be reduced dynamically based on the system algorithm. The recommendation of this study would be to reduce speeds using discrete speeds that drivers will be familiar with to improve driver compliance and avoid confusion. Consideration should also be given to when the speed limit is displayed by defining upper and lower speed thresholds. If the overhead speed limit signs are illuminated at all times, motorists may tend to ignore them, reducing the systems effectiveness. Therefore, the recommendation of this study would be to illuminate the overhead speed limit displays only when conditions warrant. While the system would primarily be used for recurrent congestion during the day and for maintenance and construction at night, the system could be used at all times for collisions, incidents, inclement weather and events. Signing the HOV or HOT lane at a different speed than the adjacent general purpose lanes should be carefully considered prior to implementation. There are inherent safety issues with Active Traffic Management Feasibility Study November 2007 22

having two adjacent lanes of traffic operating at significantly different speeds. Research suggests that more collisions occur when there are greater differentials in speed (e.g. between HOV and general purpose lanes).2 If the HOV or HOT lanes are signed for different speed limits, a maximum speed differential should be set (e.g. 15 mph.) Speed differential is less of an issue if the lanes are buffer or barrier separated. Coordinating and integrating this system with HOT and HOV lanes will be a key factor for successful operations. To limit WSDOTs exposure to tort liability, it would be best to operate the system whenever the need arises; in other words to monitor and utilize the system 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Otherwise, the State may be susceptible to tort liability in cases where the system was available, but not activated.

5.4.2 Operator Workload


As noted above, the system has the capability of addressing a multitude of operational conditions throughout the day. Considering the round-the-clock functionality of the speed harmonization system and all of the ITS systems in the region, it is easy to see that 24 hour per day, seven days per week operation at the Traffic Management Center (TMC) could be warranted. Depending on the size of the speed harmonization system implemented, it will increase the workload of the existing TMC operators, and may require additional staff. However, the system should be largely automated with operators mainly being responsible for monitoring or possible manual override. Regardless, standard operating procedures (SOPs) and guidance would need to be developed to guide TMC operators in monitoring and operating the system.

5.4.3 Compatibility with High Occupancy Toll or Managed Lanes


Implementing speed harmonization on a roadway facility that includes HOT lanes requires the consideration of a number of operational issues to ensure compatibility between the two systems. Dynamically priced HOT lanes sell available lane capacity to SOV drivers . The price for entry is raised as the HOT lane volumes approach the carrying capacity of the lane and lowered when congestion abates. Intentionally reducing speeds in the HOT lane may artificially increase the toll in the HOT lane by indicating to the dynamic pricing algorithm that the lane is falling below its desired service level (e.g., 45 mph). This may have a negative effect on public opinion of the HOT lanes or the Departments intentions. Therefore, the algorithm of the speed harmonization software should be coordinated with the algorithm of HOT lanes software to avoid inadvertent results. In addition, HOT lanes are predicated on the promise of a faster, more reliable trip in exchange for a price. If people experience slowing due to speed harmonization they may think they did not receive the service they paid for and may demand a refund for the toll paid. These kinds of circumstances can be managed with appropriate customer service business rules and public messaging, as well as consideration of these effects during the design of the subsystem. If the HOT lanes are separated from the general purpose lanes by a significant distance (four feet is the standard guidance) or a physical barrier, then it may be possible or even desirable to display a different speed in the HOT lanes. If the displayed speeds are different, then consideration needs to be given to matching the speeds at the ingress/egress points to avoid collisions due to speed differentials. Similarly, slowing speeds in the general purpose lanes only may induce more vehicles to join the HOT lane by increasing the perceived benefit received in comparison to the GP lanes. This may be a desirable effect. Active Traffic Management Feasibility Study November 2007 23

If general purpose lanes are closed via overhead Xs and traffic is forced to move into the HOT lane (via cocked arrows) to get around an incident, then consideration should be given to how tolling will be handled under such circumstances since some drivers may not have a transponder. In addition, crossing the HOT lane buffers is an illegal maneuver and may make it difficult to direct drivers to cross this barrier when necessary, such as when closing lanes for an incident. Finally, placement of the ingress/egress zones of the HOT lane should not be coincident with placement of the overhead speed harmonization signs. Drivers needs to focus on the weave and shouldnt be distracted with regulatory signing that causes them to take their eyes off the road.

5.4.4 Maintenance
Maintenance of the signs and sign bridges will be required and will be beyond that already undertaken, due to the increase in gantries, signs, and loops. However, with advances in technology, signs are now more reliable, require less overall maintenance, and use of the speed harmonization and lane control displays could assist maintenance staff with traffic control activities. Finally, the issue of access to the signs for maintenance over open traffic needs to be considered. A walk-in sign cabinet or access walkway on the overhead sign bridge could be provided for maintenance in order to avoid necessitating lane closures to perform maintenance. In Denmark, they installed a system that would allow the signs to be repositioned. If this system can be adapted to the system in the Puget Sound area, it might be possible to move the signs to the side for maintenance. This approach should be investigated and the cost should be estimated.

5.4.5 Compliance and Enforcement


Considering the typical sign bridge spacing for speed harmonization in the European experience design of the system will need to consider information overload for the driver. Thoughtful design, spacing of the signing, and minimizing the text on the variable message signs is important, given that other regulatory and guide signs will be in place as well. A comprehensive public information campaign is needed to ensure that motorists understand the intent and expected benefits of speed harmonization to foster driver understanding and compliance. Once driver trust in the system has been established, compliance with the posted speeds could be expected at levels found in Europe. Prior to implementation, guidance or regulations regarding when and how to enforce the harmonized speeds should be developed. For example, as speed limits are changed (of primary concern is lowering) with each successive sign bridge in the system, it would be difficult to enforce the speed throughout these transitional segments. Therefore, this study recommends that enforcement should occur when the final lowest speed has been posted. Automated enforcement is also a possibility, but it is also controversial and may introduce an unnecessary negative element to the implementation of a pilot speed harmonization project. With respect to construction work zones, in order to uphold the states policies for work zone safety, speed harmonization speed limits would need to be regulatory. Using the overhead speed signs with reduced speeds would reinforce the concept of lower speeds in construction zones with motorists.

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5.4.6 Signing
There is a variety of signing design concepts for speed harmonization, not all of which are MUTCD-compliant. Figure 8 makes use of the more traditional US signing for speed limits, while Figure 7 shows the European design. Any non-standard signing would require a conditional use approval. Per the MUTCD, the standard lane control displays are: solid green down arrow, solid yellow X, flashing red X, and solid red X. If the cocked arrow is introduced, then an experimental use approval will be required. The method of providing information regarding speed changes can be done with either messages or icons. Figure 7 shows the use of icons which can be helpful for non-English motorists as opposed to a variable message as shown in Figure 8. As noted for lane control displays, some of the iconic signs and the speed displays would also require experimental use approval, as these are not standard signing in the MUTCD. The recommendation of this study is to use full matrix signs that can be used to display speed limits in the European way or using the words Speed Limit in the American way. The full matrix sign would allow the display of speeds or lane control on a single sign. Additionally, the study recommends the use of a full matrix VMS sign on the overhead sign bridge to convey information about the reduced speed rather than the iconstyle signs used in Europe. There are inherent visibility issues for drivers in the center lane if post- or side-mounted signs are used, especially when the roadway has four or more travel lanes. Side-mounted signs, as shown in Figure 7, display the reason for a slowdown and provide further reinforcement of the reduced speed limit. However, speed limits are posted over every lane. Further, German freeways are typically only three lanes wide. Given the width of many Puget Sound freeways, overhead laneby-lane speed and lane use control signing would work best. However, flexibility in moving the lane control displays across the sign bridge to accommodate construction activities or other lane configuration changes should be considered. As mentioned above under maintenance, some of the lane control displays in Europe are mounted on movable brackets that can slide across the sign bridge; a similar design could be developed for use in the Puget Sound so changes in lane configurations could be accommodated. Uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) for the system should be supplied in case of a power outage or communications loss. The UPS could be used to reset signs back to an appropriate default message.

5.4.7 Overhead Sign Bridge Spacing


In general, the European experience has been that at least one lane control display should be visible at all times for maximum effectiveness. In the Netherlands, gantries are typically spaced approximately every 1,600 feet. In Germany, overhead sign bridge spacing is roughly every half mile and can extend farther, depending on sight distance. It may be possible to implement sign bridge spacing every half-mile without compromising the effectiveness of speed harmonization. However, there will be instances where the recommended spacing will be difficult to accommodate. For example, in the Renton S-curves, it may be difficult to have a sign in view at all times, due to limited sight distance. There may need to be some compromise with regard to sign spacing in order to balance costs with operational effectiveness and physical constraints such as space requirements for the sign bridge foundation.

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6.0 Queue Warning


A key component of Germanys speed harmonization system is the addition of queue warning. A congestion pictograph or icon is displayed on both sides of the gantries to alert motorists of congestion ahead. Alternatively, the pictograph may be displayed on an overhead DMS. The value of the system lies in being able to reduce the occurrence of secondary incidents caused by the congestion. The gantries in Germany are typically spaced 0.62 miles (1 km) apart and the system begins reducing speeds between three and four gantries before an incident. In the Netherlands, motorists are alerted of queues with flashing lights and speed signs activated on variable speed limits signs. The gantries are typically spaced every 0.31 miles (500 m). The effectiveness of using this system in Side mount queue warning signs as part of a speed an area where congestion occurs harmonization system - Hessen Germany. consistently during a specific time period on a daily basis may be questionable, as drivers come to expect the queues. However, the end of a queue is not static, so even if daily drivers are accustomed to congestion and queuing, a queue warning system will alert drivers to these dynamic fluctuations. Additionally, I-405 experiences a high number of collisions between 10 AM and 2 PM, which is outside of the peak period; these collisions could be the result of unfamiliar drivers on the facility or familiar drivers not expecting a queue in the off-peak hours. A queue warning system would be an effective means to alert unfamiliar motorists and familiar drivers traveling in the off-peak hours and weekend travelers. Finally, the speed harmonization system may be able to be used for queue warning without requiring special independent queue warning signing.

6.1 Design Concepts


The application for independent queue warning would be at I-405 southbound in the right lane between SR 169 and SR 167. Figure 10 shows two examples of queue warning signing using either one or two variable message signs, which are characterized as Design Concept 1. Figure 11 is a lower cost design concept using a static sign with a flasher (Design Concept 2) and is not a recommended design for ATM. It should be noted that the VMS, although more expensive, provides a higher level of flexibility with regard to providing motorist information and that this would only be an independent system if speed harmonization was not already in place.

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OR

Figure 10 Queue Warning VMS Sign

Figure 11 Queue Warning Static Sign with Flasher

6.2 Capital, Operations and Maintenance Costs


Design Concept 1 is estimated to cost about $1.5 million per location and Design Concept 2 is estimated to cost approximately $0.55 million per location. This cost may seem high for a static sign with a flasher; however it includes the cost of software, integration costs for an automated system, six sets of loops per mile segment, data stations and power. If implemented as part of a comprehensive speed harmonization system, the operation and maintenance of the queue warning signs is negligible and is included in the estimate to operate the speed harmonization system.

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6.3 Benefits Assessment


Using independent queue warning, there is a potential to decrease primary collisions by 15 percent to 25 percent.1 To be conservative, a 15 percent reduction results in the potential for 21 fewer collisions in a three-year period. Potential Savings in Delay = $385,000/yr Potential Savings in Collision Delay = $8,800/yr Potential Savings in Collision Avoidance = $391,000/yr Potential Total Cost Savings = $785,000/yr The system recovery cost for the location identified as part of this study, with a cost of $1.5 million for Design Concept 1, could be recovered in approximately two years. It is important to note that the speed harmonization design would allow for queue warning, which would provide the collision avoidance benefits of queue warning shown above with no additional cost.

6.4 Operations Assessment


As stated earlier, the ATM techniques were presented to a group of individuals well versed in transportation policy and the operational aspects of managing the Puget Sound regions roadway facilities. A discussion of the most relevant operational issues for queue warning is presented below.

6.4.1 Operations
Similar to speed harmonization, when to implement queue warning is an issue to consider prior to implementation. The three implementation scenarios to consider are: time-of-day (e.g. peak period every weekday), prevailing conditions, or at the operators discretion. The implementation could be either be automatic, using an algorithm-based expert system or through operator activation. While the algorithm may be solid and fully functional for use as an automated system, the detectors can fail and it would be advantageous to have TMC operators monitoring the system. Furthermore, if an independent queue warning system were implemented, the scale of implementation may be susceptible to tort liability. For example, if a collision occurs at a location where queue warning was not deployed, WSDOT may face a tort case. Tort liability may also be possible in locations where the system is deployed, but fails to function properly.

6.4.2 Operator Workload


For the initial implementation of independent queue warning at the location recommended on I405, no additional workload is expected. However, TMC operators would experience an additional incremental workload if additional independent queue warning locations were implemented.

6.4.3 Compatibility with High Occupancy Toll or Managed Lanes


Ground-mounted queue warning signs directed at general purpose lanes may unintentionally affect drivers in the HOT lanes due to confusion over which lane is being warned. Using Active Traffic Management Feasibility Study November 2007 28

overhead signs in conjunction with speed harmonization would be expected to reduce confusion. It is important to make it clear (though placement and message content) to drivers in the HOT lanes whether the queue warning signs (as well as speed harmonization signs) apply to the HOT lanes as well as the general purpose lanes. Also, placement of queue warning signs should not be coincident with the ingress/egress zones of the HOT lane for the same weaving considerations mentioned for speed harmonization (Section 5.4.3).

6.4.4 Maintenance
Similar to operator workload, maintenance of the signs would be incremental as additional queue warning locations were implemented.

6.4.5 Compliance and Enforcement


Queue warning is advisory only, compliance would be voluntary by the driver and additional enforcement would not be required.

6.4.6 Signing
The two signing design concept using the VMS as shown in Figure 10 makes use of pedestalmount signs on the shoulder. Overhead signing may be more visible in some circumstances. However, overhead signing may inadvertently affect HOV/HOT lane drivers and operations if the variable message is not clear. Additionally, pedestal-mount signs on the shoulder have less extensive structural cost and are easier to access for maintenance.

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7.0 Junction Control


A method to dynamically change lane allocation at an interchange is called Junction Control. It can be used at freeway on-ramps or off-ramps. The idea is that under some traffic conditions or times of day, it would be more effective to use existing lanes for one type of movement or for traffic coming from one facility while at other times of day it would be more effective to use the lanes in a different way. For example, when ramp volumes are relatively light or mainline volumes are very heavy, it might be most effective to have an entrance ramp merge into the right lane. However, there may be times that the volume on the ramp is extremely high while the mainline volumes are low. In this case, traffic merging from the on-ramp will have to find gaps in the mainline traffic. Even though the mainline traffic is relatively light, the hesitation needed at times to find a gap may be disruptive to ramp flows and may create a situation with higher rear-end collision potential on the ramp. Junction control could be used to close the right lane of the mainline upstream of the ramp through the use of lane control signs in order to give ramp traffic a near free-flow onto the mainline. This use of junction control provides priority to the facility with the higher volume and gives a lane drop to the lesser volume roadway. Junction control can also be used at off ramps, especially when hard shoulder running is used, to dynamically create a two lane off-ramp with a freeway drop lane and an option lane. Junction control can only work at on-ramps when the mainline has spare capacity (giving priority to a higher merge volume). Junction control at an off-ramp can only work if an exit ramp has available width to accommodate an additional exit lane (giving priority to a higher exiting volume and/or downstream merging volume). There were two potential implementation sites for junction control. The first is on eastbound SR 518 at North Airport Access and SR 99 (at various times based on airport peak periods) and the second is on northbound I-405 in the right lane at SR 167 (early morning weekdays).

7.1 Design Concepts


Figure 12 shows an example of junction control signing for SR 518 from the upstream entry point at 24th Avenue South. Figure 13 shows the advance of exit ramp signing for I-405 northbound at SR 167 and Figure 14 shows sample signing beyond the exit ramp for the same location.

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Figure 12 Junction Control Upstream Entry Point (Active & Inactive)

Figure 13 Junction Control Advance of Exit Ramp (Active & Inactive)

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Figure 14 Junction Control Beyond Exit Ramp (Active)

7.2 Capital, Operations and Maintenance Costs


The estimated preliminary capital cost for the junction control design on SR 518 was approximately $1.6 million. Junction control, as designed for the I-405/SR 167 location was estimated to have a preliminary capital cost of $1.8 million. Capital costs include loop detectors, traffic data stations, communication and software, and signage. Maintenance and operations costs were not estimated for junction control, as it would vary based on location and its implementation with other ATM systems. This study found that junction control would be best implemented in conjunction with hard-shoulder running and could be implemented as part of a comprehensive speed harmonization system.

7.3 Benefits Assessment


Junction control is assumed to decrease primary collisions by 15 percent to 25 percent, based on European experience. Using a range of 15 percent to 25 percent results in the potential for nine to 15 fewer collisions on the SR 518 mainline per three-year period. If collisions on the ramp from northbound North Airport Expressway were included, additional collision reduction would be expected. However, the primary benefits at this location are thought to be during the peak traffic demand for the North Airport Expressway, which is during the mid-day (10 AM 2 PM) and late evening (8 PM 11 PM). The model used for this analysis did not fully include the airport peak timeframe. As a result, it was not possible to provide a full accounting of benefits for junction control at this location. The benefits noted below are for the SR 518/North Airport Expressway location only, as the preliminary investigation of junction control at the I-405/SR 167 location yielded very limited benefits. Potential Savings in Collision Avoidance = $136,000 $227,000/yr For SR 518, the preliminary cost estimate is approximately $1.5 million. In terms of system cost recovery, it would take just under seven to eleven years to recover costs for the SR 518 installation.

7.4 Operations Assessment


As stated earlier, the ATM techniques were presented to a group of individuals well versed in transportation policy and the operational aspects of managing the Puget Sound regions roadway facilities. A discussion of the most relevant operational issues for junction control is presented below. Active Traffic Management Feasibility Study 32 November 2007

7.4.1 Operations
Activating junction control could either be based on a pre-determined time-of-day or at the operators discretion based on traffic conditions. Activation could also be automatic, based on an algorithm or expert system. Based on this study, junction control would best be implemented with hard-shoulder running and could work well within the existing ramp metering system given the appropriate mainline and ramp volumes. Similar to queue warning, signing directing drivers to an alternate lane may inadvertently affect HOV/HOT lane drivers and operations if the variable message is not clear or appropriate driver education is not provided. Lastly, because junction control involves a change in lane allocation that varies throughout the day, an increase in tort liability is possible.

7.4.2 Operator Workload


Implemented independently, junction control at a single location would be expected to marginally increase TMC flow operators workload, as this ATM technique would require monitoring to ensure the algorithm was functioning properly and the overall roadway was experiencing improved operations. The amount of new monitoring would be about equivalent to adding a new ramp meter. However, if junction control was implemented in conjunction with hard shoulder running, the additional workload over and above that needed for monitoring hard shoulder running would be negligible. Specific locations may also affect operator workload based on the mainline and ramp traffic patterns, like SeaTac Airport (SR 518/North Airport Expressway interchange), which has midday and late evening peaks that are outside of the hours that the TMC generally operates control systems. There will also be incremental workload increases if junction control is ultimately implemented independently in a number of locations.

7.4.3 Compatibility with High Occupancy Toll or Managed Lanes


The implementation of junction control at a particular location should take into consideration the impact on the flow of traffic in the general purpose lanes and whether this flow will impact the HOT lanes. As noted in previous sections, placement of junction control signs should not be coincident with the ingress/egress zones of the HOT lane.

7.4.4 Maintenance
The added signing and monitoring equipment (to determine traffic volumes) will increase maintenance workload. Additionally, lighted pavement markers may also be needed at exit ramps to make a single lane exit into a two-lane exit. Lighted pavement markers have not been used on freeways in the Seattle area and these would likely increase maintenance costs somewhat.

7.4.5 Compliance and Enforcement


Proper enforcement will be needed to ensure that motorists comply with use of the lane control signals (red X versus green arrow). A comprehensive driver education program is a key factor for safe operations. Active Traffic Management Feasibility Study November 2007 33

Collisions at locations where junction control is implemented should be monitored to ensure that a reduction in collisions is experienced and that collisions dont simply shift from the mainline to the ramp, from the ramp to the mainline or to other locations within the interchange.

7.4.6 Signing
This study recommends that junction control utilize overhead lane control signals across all travel lanes to avoid confusion. This recommendation leads to the conclusion that implementing junction control in conjunction with a comprehensive speed harmonization system would be advantageous, as opposed to installing lane control displays solely for junction control. Ending the lane restriction(s) by using a green arrow or leaving the control display blank requires further discussion and design consideration. Furthermore, the use of a cocked arrow (if desired by WSDOT) to move traffic out of a lane that will be closed downstream would require experimental usage approval by FHWA, as this symbol is not currently MUTCD-compliant.

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8.0 Hard Shoulder Running


In Germany, hard shoulder running is used with speed harmonization to address freeway capacity bottlenecks. It allows for additional capacity during congestion and has been in use since the 1990s. The Netherlands started using this strategy in 2003 as part of a larger program to improve use of the existing infrastructure. Englands system utilizes the availability of the shoulder for travel rather than for emergency refuge only. To ensure its safe operation, emergency refuge areas are spaced every 0.31 miles (500 m intervals) with emergency call boxes.

8.1 Design Concept


Hard shoulder running has applicability on southbound SR 167 from SW 43rd Street/SE 180th Street to Central Avenue N/84th Avenue South. Figure 15 shows lane control displays with the German approach for the side-mounted regulatory signs. These would be mounted on a typical mast arm pole. Figure 16 shows an example of the -mile advance guide signing modified with a VMS at the bottom. The side-mounted sign would be a CMS or blank-out sign. At the upstream entrance, CMS could be used to alert motorists whether or not the shoulder was open for use as shown in Figure 17.

Figure 15 Hard Shoulder Running: Lane Use Mast Arm (Active & Inactive)

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Figure 16 Hard Shoulder Running Mile Advance (Active & Inactive)

Figure 17 Hard Shoulder Running: Upstream Entrance CMS (Active & Inactive)

8.2 Capital, Operations and Maintenance Costs


A preliminary capital cost estimate for hard shoulder running is $2.7 million per mile and includes rebuilding the shoulder for sustained traffic use, signing, striping, communication and data systems, and in-ground flashers. Maintenance and operations costs were not estimated for hard shoulder running, as it would vary based on location and its implementation with other ATM systems. This study found that hard shoulder running should be implemented in conjunction with speed harmonization to maximize the operational safety of this technique. In Germany, the hard shoulder is never open to traffic Active Traffic Management Feasibility Study November 2007 36

unless speed harmonization is active (part of the reason for this is the higher speed limits or no speed limits on Germanys autobahn).

8.3 Benefits Assessment


Micro-simulation modeling was not completed for hard-shoulder running as the benefits of opening the shoulder to traffic are apparent. Even at a reduced speed, it would increase capacity of the roadway and decrease congestion greatly. However, the key to hard shoulder running is that the segment must extend through the roadway bottleneck. If it does not extend beyond the bottleneck, traffic is simply fed at a greater rate into the segment that is already over capacity compounding the congestion.

8.4 Operations Assessment


As stated earlier, the ATM techniques were presented to a group of individuals well versed in transportation policy and the operational aspects of managing the Puget Sound regions roadway facilities. A discussion of the most relevant operational issues for hard shoulder running is presented below.

8.4.1 Operations
System activation could be at the TMC operators discretion or via a monitoring system that requires operator confirmation. In addition, a set of procedures on how to open and close the shoulder to traffic would be needed. A freeway service patrol vehicle and driver would be required to sweep the shoulder prior to opening the lane to ensure that no disabled vehicles or large debris are on the shoulder. The hard shoulder could then be opened to traffic at the furthest point upstream after the sweep has been completed. Closed circuit television (CCTV) coverage should be used to ensure that the shoulder has remained clear after the sweep and prior to opening. The service patrol would continue throughout the time the shoulder was open to traffic in order to quickly clear disabled vehicles anywhere on the roadway. The issue of when the hard shoulder would be open for operation also requires consideration based on the location in question. A decision will need to be made to allow operation only during daylight hours or during dusk or hours of darkness if there is continuous lighting or lighted pavement markers to delineate the roadway. Another facet for operating the hard shoulder involves whether it is operational the same time every day or only based on traffic conditions. Operation of the hard shoulder during core hours would alleviate congestion at key time periods, but allow for additional usage as needed as well. It may also be necessary to restrict use of the hard shoulder to only specific vehicle types; for example, it could be for transit, heavy trucks or passenger vehicles only. Based on the results of this study, operation of the hard shoulder should be flexible, but also needs to account for relatively predictable and understandable operational parameters. In England, they currently activate their speed harmonization system whenever hard shoulder running is in effect. They limit the speeds on the main line to 50 mph, but are now considering increasing that speed to 60 mph. The implication in the Puget Sound area where urban speed limits are 60 mph already is that it may not be necessary to activate speed harmonization when hard shoulder running is active. Hard shoulder running will only be activated when speeds drop. The addition of the shoulder as a travel lane will increase speeds. The question is whether or not there needs to be a limit on the speeds. The experience in England suggests that it might not be necessary. However, it would be wise to initially operate the system conservatively, as they did in England, and use speed harmonization to limit speeds to 50 mph when hard shoulders are Active Traffic Management Feasibility Study 37 November 2007

open to traffic. After there is some experience with the system here and after seeing the experience in England with raising the speed to 60 mph during hard shoulder running, consideration should be given to increase the speed or turning off speed harmonization until speeds traffic flow starts to breakdown again. Hard shoulder running through an interchange is likely to affect entrance and exit ramp tapers and should be considered for use with ramp meters to account for the change in acceleration and deceleration lengths. For the above noted reasons, it is recommended that hard shoulder running only be implemented in areas with speed harmonization so travel speeds can be lowered to maximize safe operations of the facility.

8.4.2 Operator Workload


This implementation approach will increase TMC operator workload if implemented, as hard shoulder running involves the greatest operator monitoring of the ATM techniques considered, at least during transition times. Hard shoulder running would also require a freeway service patrol specifically for the roadway segment when in operation, in order to respond immediately to disabled vehicles or an incident. The freeway service patrol would also be required to sweep the shoulder for disabled vehicles prior to opening the shoulder for traffic safely. The lack of a shoulder and provision of freeway service patrols are not currently linked by transportation policy. If, as this study recommends, freeway service patrols will be required for hard shoulder running, then funding will need to be identified and allotted for this activity. There will also be incremental workload increases if hard shoulder running is ultimately implemented in a number of locations.

8.4.3 Compatibility with High Occupancy Toll or Managed Lanes


Placement of the ingress/egress zones for the HOT lane should not coincide with the movements near the start or end of the area of hard shoulder running for the same weaving and distraction considerations mentioned previously.

8.4.4 Maintenance
In general, with the additional signing, dynamic lane markings, and detectors, the maintenance workload will increase. There would also be increased maintenance costs for additional traffic control because workers would need to treat working on the shoulder similarly to working in a travel lane to insure their safety and protect themselves from a driver mistakenly driving on the shoulder when the system is not activated. However, the lane control displays would assist with traffic control on the shoulder.

8.4.5 Compliance and Enforcement


Strict enforcement of the hard shoulder running segment is paramount in order to prevent collisions and maximize operational compliance. Discussions, agreements and SOPs with the WSP would be required prior to implementation to ensure orderly and safe operation of this ATM technique.

8.4.6 Safety
Using the roadway shoulder as a travel lane results in the loss of the emergency refuge area for disabled vehicles and during incidents. Therefore, when hard shoulder running is operational, Active Traffic Management Feasibility Study November 2007 38

TMC operators will need to continually monitor the roadway segment. CCTV cameras and detection systems are essential for hard shoulder running. Depending on the length of the hard shoulder running section, the provision of alternative emergency refuge areas should be considered during analysis and design of the segment. Alternative refuge areas would be outside of the shoulder area and would provide refuge for stalled or disabled vehicles and still allow continued use of the hard shoulder as a travel lane. In England, the alternative refuge areas are spaced every 1/3 or mile. Germany does not generally include refuge areas, however. Very short segments may not require an alternative refuge area in any case.

8.4.7 Signing
The use of lane control displays would either be over each lane or just the shoulder to indicate whether or not the shoulder was open to traffic. The recommendation of this study is for lane control displays over each lane, including the shoulder. As stated earlier, it is recommended that hard shoulder running be implemented in conjunction with speed harmonization. In addition, specific signing for when travel on the shoulder is not permitted will also need to be developed. One challenge with hard shoulder running lies in how the interchange is signed, particularly if hard shoulder running is carried through an interchange, and would vary by location and interchange design.

8.4.8 Design Elements


The shoulder in question would need to be assessed for its ability to sustain traffic loads and determine if modifications would be necessary to correct for ponding (shoulders are typically designed to hold water). In addition, utility vaults would need to be assessed to determine if they could be moved outside of the shoulder area or if they could be fitted with traffic-bearing lids. Striping of the hard shoulder should also be considered and a determination made based on the overall roadway design and configuration. In Germany, the outside edge is not striped which makes the lane appear more like a shoulder. However, in the Netherlands, the outside edge has a solid stripe, except in the emergency refuge area locations where it is dashed. This makes the shoulder appear more like a travel lane. Striping of the outside edge may also depend on the presence of a guard rail and lighting; for example, if the outside edge has guard rail, it may not be necessary to stripe the outside edge. In general, if the outside edge is not striped, additional lighting is recommended so that drivers can see the roadway edge and beyond. Striping and pavement marker use through an interchange is also an important issue. Dynamic lane markings such as lighted pavement markers could be used to assist in delineating the travel lanes for motorists, especially at ramp exits as shown in Figure 18.

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Figure 18 - Junction Control at an Exit with Hard Shoulder Running

8.4.9 Other Considerations


National Environmental Policy Act and State Environmental Policy Act regulations should also be reviewed and considered prior to implementing hard shoulder running. If, in order to implement hard-shoulder running, the shoulder must be widened and rebuilt, it may necessitate revisiting previously completed environmental work or a new environmental documentation process.

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9.0 Dynamic Re-Routing


Dynamic rerouting typically works best in a ring road situation and allows traffic flow operators to better direct traffic under heavily congested conditions or during events or incidents. In Germany, the use of dynamic rerouting information is a critical component of their ability to meet their national goal which is to serve 80 percent of all trips on the motorway network using real-time traffic and traveler information by 2010. They use rotational prism guide signs that change with traffic conditions as well as full-matrix DMS. The Dutch first used dynamic route information in 1990. They use DMS or rotational prism signs to provide en route information on queues, major incidents and appropriate routes.

9.1 Design Concept


Figure 19 and Figure 20 shows examples of dynamic rerouting signing using hybrid DMS during normal and congested conditions. If there is congestion on I-5 north of downtown, then motorists traveling to Everett would be redirected to take I-405. Dynamic rerouting signing typically works well with ring roads and while the freeway network in the Puget Sound is more linear, the signing concepts help to illustrate how this ATM technique would work.

Figure 19 Dynamic Rerouting: Hybrid DMS Supplemental Destination Signing Normal Condition

Figure 20 Dynamic Rerouting: Hybrid DMS Supplemental Destination Signing Congested Condition

9.2 Capital, Operations and Maintenance Costs


A preliminary cost is estimated at $1.7 million per location for the three signs, as shown above. Maintenance and operations costs were not developed for dynamic re-routing as this technique was dropped from further consideration for the reasons noted in Section 9.4.1. Active Traffic Management Feasibility Study November 2007 41

9.3 Benefits Assessment


Micro-simulation modeling of dynamic re-routing was not undertaken as part of this analysis, as the model used included only the I-405 corridor and not other major routes within the Puget Sound region. To accurately model dynamic re-routing with meaningful results, all of the freeways, highways and major arterials in the region would need to be included to accurately capture the effects of dynamic re-routing on the system as a whole.

9.4 Operations Assessment


As stated earlier, the ATM techniques were presented to a group of individuals well versed in transportation policy and the operational aspects of managing the Puget Sound regions roadway facilities. A discussion of the most relevant operational issues for dynamic re-routing are presented below.

9.4.1 Operations
Dynamic rerouting typically works best in a ring road configuration, but use in the Puget Sound is possible. However, traffic would need to be carefully monitored if dynamic re-routing were implemented. As stated previously, there are only two major north-south and two major eastwest freeways in the Puget Sound region and given the congestion levels currently experienced on these roadways, shifting a large amount of traffic from one to the other may only be beneficial in cases of extreme congestion. Based on the results of this study and discussions at the Operations and Policy and Institutional workshops, this technique was not recommended for further study. Participants thought that displaying travel times for the alternate routes would provide more information and provide a better fit with the Puget Sound freeway network.

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10.0 Traveler Information


The WSDOT has a long history of providing traveler information. This technique would supplement the existing WSDOT tools by installing signs that are designed specifically to display travel times. The Germans and the Danes successfully use this approach in Europe.

10.1 Design Concepts and Costs


Three potential sites would work well using this ATM technique: (1) southbound I-405 at I-90, (2) westbound I-90 at I-405, (3) southbound I-405 at SR 167, and (4) northbound I-5 at I-405. Figure 21 shows travel time information during typical operations. Figure 22 shows examples of what the signs might display for I-405 congestion in the Renton/Factoria corridor and I-5 congestion through Seattle. The first two graphics show dedicated hybrid DMS signing for travel times to Bellevue or Everett using the various corridors (Design Concept 1). Figure 23 shows travel time signing using variable message signs (Design Concept 2). The WSDOT currently provides travel time information using VMS, which also has the flexibility to be used for other messages.

Figure 21 Traveler Information: Hybrid DMS Travel Time Sign Normal Condition

Figure 22 Traveler Information: Hybrid DMS Travel Time Sign Congested Condition

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Figure 23 Traveler Information: Double Condition VMS

10.2 Capital, Operations and Maintenance Costs


Signing design concepts shown in Figure 21 and Figure 22 (Design Concept 1) are estimated to cost $0.7 million per location (two signs) and $1.15 million per location as shown in Figure 23 (Design Concept 2) also for two signs. Providing travel time information would be completed through an automated process and would not require any additional TMC operator staffing. Maintenance of the traveler information signs (either design located over the roadway) is estimated to cost approximately $43,000 per year (for a total of four locations or eight signs). It was noted, however, that the special purpose signs (Figure 21 and Figure 22) may be more cost effective than the variable message signs (Figure 23).

10.3 Benefits Assessment


Micro-simulation modeling of provision of traveler information was not undertaken as part of this analysis, as the model used included only the I-405 corridor and not other major routes within the Puget Sound region. To feasibly model the provision of traveler information and achieve meaningful results, all of the freeways, highways and major arterials in the region would need to be included to accurately capture the effects of traveler information on the system as a whole.

10.4 Operations Assessment


As stated earlier, the ATM techniques were presented to a group of individuals well versed in transportation policy and the operational aspects of managing the Puget Sound regions roadway facilities. A discussion of the most relevant operational issues for traveler information is presented below.

10.4.1 Operations
No operations issues were identified. WSDOT already provides travel time information and additional locations would be beneficial. It was noted that the traveler information signs should provide travel times for HOV, HOT and general purpose traffic, as appropriate to the location.

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11.0 Integration with Current ITS Infrastructure


The ATM techniques discussed in this document are consistent with WSDOT traffic management philosophy. They provide WSDOT with another set of tools to help them actively manage traffic conditions. Operators will be able to easily comprehend the goals of the techniques and how they operate. Further, the hardware required for speed harmonization fits in well with the existing ITS infrastructure. Communication will be needed to the controller equipment on the roadside. There is existing fiber optic communication cable throughout most of the Seattle area freeways, and specifically in the I-405 study area. Current traffic management systems require detectors and the same technology can be used for the detectors needed for speed harmonization. In some locations, designers may find that existing detector stations can be used to provide the data needed for the speed harmonization system. The variable message signs used to support these techniques are similar to signs used elsewhere by WSDOT. The new signs should be specified to be NTCIP compliant. The WSDOT TMS software can communicate with NTCIP signs, making integration much easier than if WSDOT only used proprietary communication protocols. Finally, WSDOT manages and maintains its own ITS central software. WSDOT software engineers will be able to integrate the software needed for speed harmonization onto existing computing platforms, especially considering WSDOT is working on migrating their current software from a mini-computer environment to a server-based platform. The integration will take some effort and WSDOT may choose to hire contract software developers or even contract out the work. However, this should not pose a particular problem because WSDOT owns the source code and can build new versions of software.

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12.0 Institutional Issues


Institutional issues can be defined as the challenges or obstacles that are not directly related to the technology or the project equipment. These types of issues are much more complicated and difficult to address because, unlike technological issues, there is no set of rules to handle them. In fact, it can vary from agency to agency or even within the same agency if there is a change in the governing body (e.g. appointment of a new administrator). These issues can be related to regulatory and legal issues, finance, organization and management issues, or human and facilities resources3. With respect to ATM, many of the identified institutional issues applied across the board to all of the techniques. The following is a list of general institutional issues: Priorities in Programming and Funding. ATM must be a priority in programming and funding. If it is not, the techniques will be installed in a piecemeal fashion and benefits will not live up to the promise of the technology. Sustainable Funding for Operations, Maintenance and Expansion. A successful system needs the proper funding to be able to operate and maintain it. If the system is not maintained, it will not be able to be operated effectively and full benefits will not be realized. As mentioned above, operators are required to monitor, activate, and adjust these systems. Without sufficient operations staff, the system will not meet its potential. It is unlikely that enough funding will be available to build the systems everywhere they are needed at the same time. Therefore, sustainable funding is needed for phased expansion of the system. The reality is that there isnt a funding mechanism to maintain the ATM infrastructure under the current revenue stream. Continued Commitment to Electronic Infrastructure. When installing electronic equipment, an agency must be aware of the obsolescence issue and recognize that there is a life cycle with this type of equipment. The funding must cover not only the initial capital investment, but also replacement and preservation. 24/7 Traffic System Management Center and Staff for Efficient Operation. In order to effectively manage the ATM techniques, the TMC will need to be staffed with traffic system operators 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Tools to Support ATM Analysis and Investment Decisions. A foundation layer of technology for monitoring is required in order to determine how to improve the system. Performance data and evaluation programs are needed to ensure that our investments are being made wisely and that we are getting the most value from our funds. Gather and Disseminate Accurate and Reliable Information. It is paramount to deliver accurate and reliable information to motorists. The focus must be on customer orientation and trip reliability in order for ATM techniques to be successful. Without public trust and compliance, these techniques will not be effective. Public Education. Because these techniques are new in the United States, there must be an extensive public information campaign to educate motorists about ATM techniques, speed management, and the relationship between congestion and safety.

Other institutional issues are technique-specific. There are two additional institutional issues for speed harmonization and hard shoulder running. Coordinate/Collaborate with Enforcement, Emergency Response, and Local Agencies. It is essential that the ATM techniques are discussed with the state patrol and other key stakeholders. These agencies must also understand the ATM techniques and be able to 46

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show a united front when it comes to enforcement. For example, with speed harmonization, enforcement should focus on the flagrant speed violators. For hard shoulder running, enforcement must be vigilant due to the safety issues and emergency responders must understand how using the shoulder as a travel lane will affect their response times. Develop a Targeted Enforcement Activity. Without enforcement, the ATM techniques will not be successful. It is vital that appropriate warnings and actions are taken for motorists who choose to disregard the regulatory signing, which will be an added cost consideration. Public outreach efforts must work to reinforce the strategies and help foster public trust in the system. As an example, motorists need to learn that when the signs show a reduced speed limit that there is a good reason to slow down. With hard shoulder running, it is vital that motorists understand when this ATM technique is operational. As such, appropriate warnings and actions must be taken for those who are not compliant.

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13.0 Recommendations
Based on all aspects of this project, the study team has developed the following recommendations for the I-405 study area, the freeway system beyond the study area, and to address the institutional issues presented above.

13.1 Recommendations for the I-405 Study Area


It is recommended that work commence with the existing design teams in the I-405 study area to implement the following ATM techniques: Implement speed harmonization throughout the study area, in both directions. This will cover approximately 24 directional miles of freeway (12 miles in each direction). Incorporate queue warning in the southbound direction at the SR 167 interchange. Study junction control in more depth on eastbound SR 518 in the vicinity of the North Airport Access Road. In particular, look into modeling conditions from 10 AM to 2 PM and from 7 PM to 11 PM. Additionally, investigate junction control for northbound and southbound SR 167 at the 405 interchange. Drop the northbound I-405 at SR 167 interchange from further consideration. Investigate hard shoulder running by extending the limits on southbound SR 167. The current study limits are from 180th Street to 84th Avenue. However, this did not extend the shoulder operation through the bottleneck area. Further study is needed by extending the limits to the vicinity of SR 18. However, concerns over the cost of fill, structures, and interchanges may make the hard shoulder running option in this section too expensive. Drop dynamic re-routing from further consideration in favor of implementing travel time information signing. Implement specialty travel time signs at the following locations: o Southbound I-405 at I-90 o Westbound I-90 at I-405 o Southbound I-405 at SR 167 o Northbound I-5 at I-405 Further investigate the ability to implement ATM techniques prior to the planned construction activities to manage work zone traffic. Combine ATM implementation with existing projects in the corridor. The cost savings for including ATM techniques with a planned construction project could reduce the amount of up-front costs (advertising process, plan review, etc.), as well as cost savings with a single mobilization and combined construction management efforts. Research shows that the primary cost savings can be found in design (PS&E), yielding an approximate 25 percent savings in design costs, representing about a two percent savings in the total project cost. These estimated savings do not include general economies of scale type savings when several projects are combined, nor the savings from shared per mile costs for items like trenching. Other cost savings could include combining lane closures and other similar activities. Combining the capital and O&M costs for 12 miles of speed harmonization, four locations of traveler information signing and queue warning yields a total cost of $62.1 million in capital costs plus approximately $510,000 in annual operations and maintenance. For speed harmonization alone, the cost savings potential from decreased incidents and delay shows that Active Traffic Management Feasibility Study November 2007 48

the system costs could be recovered in just over four years. The queue warning system could be recovered in just over three years.

13.2 Recommendations for the Freeway System Beyond the Study Area
During Phase 1 of this study, ATM techniques were identified as having potential benefits at many locations outside the I-405 study area. These locations should be studied further. Where appropriate, ATM techniques in these areas should be proposed to be added to the program, primarily as part of planned construction projects or as mitigation for planned construction projects. A region-wide study of ATM techniques could begin with the preliminary findings from Phase 1. These findings are presented in Table 2. For region-wide implementation of travel time signs, the initial focus should be on locations that do not currently have VMS that are used for travel times. Eventually, travel time signs should be placed at these locations as well so the VMS can be used for incident and event messages. This will also allow for travel times to be displayed when the VMS are needed for other purposes. As was recommended in the I-405 corridor, dynamic rerouting should be dropped from further region-wide consideration.

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Table 2 - ATM Technique Implementation Potential

I-5
Implementation Potential Items for consideration: Traffic conditions support strategy? Collision statistics support strategy? Roadway geometrics support strategy?

Speed Harmonization & Queue Warning 1) SB from 128th to Northgate (all times) 2) Northgate to Ship Canal (all times) 3) SB from Boeing Field to South Center Hill (PM peak) 4) NB from Corson/Michigan to downtown (all times) 5) SB express lanes(?) 6) NB express lanes

Traveler Info & Dynamic Re-routing 1) SB & NB off-ramp to SR 1) SB from 85th St to Lake All signs have changeable destinations and travel time info 520 - dynamically modify the City Way off-ramp merge point of the two onconsidered, but geometrics 1) SB at I-405/Lynnwood preclude. ramps for either merge or 2) SB at SR 520 add based on traffic 3) SB & NB at express lane entrances volumes. 4) NB at I-405/South Center 5) NB at SR 599 6) NB at I-90 Junction Control Hard Shoulder Running 2) NB on-ramp from Mercer Street - move mainline traffic out of left-hand lane prior to Mercer on-ramp. 2) SB from I-90 through Spokane Street I/C - traffic conditions warrant, but no shoulder.

**Speed differentials between HOV and mainline lanes is an issue. Between Northgate and the Ship Canal Bridge (no. 2 above), there are no HOV lanes on the mainline, which is a positive as far as implementation feasiblity.

3) Southbound CD - traffic conditions warrant junction control consideration, but geometrics preclude.

3) NB from Olive Way onramp to SR 520 off-ramp traffic conditions warrant, but may have geometric and sight distance issues at SR 520 off. 4) NB from Corson to Spokane Street I/C - traffic conditions warrant, but not sure if O/D patterns would support.

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I-405
Implementation Potential Items for consideration: Traffic conditions support strategy? Collision statistics support strategy? Roadway geometrics support strategy?

Speed Harmonization & Queue Warning 1) SB from north of SR 169 through SR 167 (primarily off-peak) 2) SB from SR 527 to NE 160th St 3) SB from NE 85th St to SR 520 4) NB from N Airport Access through SR 167 5) NB from NE 160th St to SR 527 Independent Queue Warning 1) NB and SB to southbound SR 167 (SB from SR 169, thru traffic move left)

Junction Control

Hard Shoulder Running

1) NB from SR 518 -- modify 1) SB from I-5 to SR 522 incoming SR 518 lanes from 1 to 2 (and change northbound I-5 add to a merge) to accommodate SeaTac surges.

Traveler Info & Dynamic Re-routing All signs have changeable destinations and travel time info 1) SB I-5 at I-405 2) SB at SR 520 3) NB I-5 at I-405 4) NB at I-90 5) WB SR 522 at I-405

**Speed differentials between HOV and mainline lanes is an issue.

2) NB 405 at SR 167 interchange -- move rightlane traffic left to improve merge from NB SR 167.

1) SB from SR 522 to NE 124th St

3) NB from NE 195th Street to SR 527

SR 167
Implementation Potential Items for consideration: Traffic conditions support strategy? Collision statistics support strategy? Roadway geometrics support strategy?

Speed Harmonization & Queue Warning 1) NB 84th/Central Ave S to I-405 (all times) 2) NB south of 15th St SW through 15th St NW (morning peak)

Junction Control

Hard Shoulder Running

1) SB Rainier Avenue 1) SB from NB I-405 offdynamically move traffic to ramp to E Valley/43rd (Ileft lane to improve SB I-405 lane). merge to 167.

Traveler Info & Dynamic Re-routing All signs have changeable destinations and travel time info, unless otherwise noted. 1) SB at SR 18 2) NB I-5 at SR 512 (Destination only) 3) NB at SR 516 4) NB at I-405

2) SB from SR 516 to S 277th St (evening peak) 3) NB from S 277th St to SR 516 (morning peak)

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I-90
Implementation Potential Items for consideration: Traffic conditions support strategy? Collision statistics support strategy? Roadway geometrics support strategy?

Speed Harmonization & Queue Warning 1) WB east of Sunset I/C through Issaquah (all times) 2) WB I-405 to W. Mercer Way 3) EB Rainier Ave to E. Mercer Way 4) EB West Lake Sammamish Pkwy through Front St. I/C (?)

SR 520
Implementation Potential Items for consideration: Traffic conditions support strategy? Collision statistics support strategy? Roadway geometrics support strategy?

**Speed differentials between HOV and mainline lanes is an issue. There are no HOV lanes on mainline I-90 (numbers 2 and 3 above), which is a positive as far as implementation feasiblity. Speed Harmonization Junction Control Hard Shoulder Running & Queue Warning 1) WB from 148th Ave NE to the bridge 1) EB 520 from NB & SB I-5 No Opportunities 2) EB from NE 51st Street to Redmond/SR on-ramps - dynamically 202 modify the merge point of the two on-ramps for either merge or add based on traffic volumes. 2) EB West Lake Sammamish Parkway onramp - dynamically close right lane of EB SR 520 to improve merge (off-peak only) 3) EB Montlake on-ramp dynamically close right lane to improve merge (off-peak only)

Traveler Info & Dynamic Re-routing 1) EB I-90 Lane Allocation - 1) Westbound Front Street All signs have changeable destinations to 148th Ave SE (includes and travel time info, unless otherwise Signing and striping to change EB 90 after I-5 off- changes to the HOV lane noted. ramps to a single lane, start and right-lane merge 1) WB at I-405 at Front St I/C). allowing SB I-5 to EB I-90 2) SB & NB I-5 at I-90 (travel times only) come on as 2 lanes. This is not junction control as described, however, lane control changes could be employed on I-90 for stadium events. 2) Eastbound from E. Mercer Way on-ramp to S. Bellevue off-ramp OR Island Crest Way on-ramp to S. Bellevue on-ramp. Junction Control Hard Shoulder Running Traveler Info & Dynamic Re-routing All signs have changeable destinations and travel time info 1) WB at I-405 2) SB I-5 at SR 520

**Speed differentials between HOV and mainline lanes is an issue.

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13.3 Recommendations to Address Institutional and Organizational Issues


There are several institutional or organizational issues that need to be addressed in order to successfully implement and sustain these ATM techniques. Commitment to 24/7 operations. As mentioned in the discussion of several of the ATM techniques, operation may be needed at any time of day or night. This is especially true of speed harmonization and queue warning. Any time there is an incident or traffic slowdown, these systems should be activated. Monitoring these systems will be required, especially to make sure the system is operating as it should. At the time that the first speed harmonization system is implemented, presumably in the I-405 study area, traffic operations staffing at the TMC should be expanded to 24/7 operations in order to monitor and operate this system around the clock. It is critical to ensure proper system operation any time it is needed. This will help build public and stakeholder trust in the system. Related to the recommendation above, in order to build trust in the system, the public and stakeholders will have to know what the system is intended to do, what the benefits will be, and how it will be operated. Outreach to the public and stakeholder organizations to provide information on and education about the techniques will be key to building the needed trust. Outreach to elected and appointed officials and other decision-makers will also be critical. It will be necessary to present these concepts to them, especially key legislators, before proposing budgets that include ATM techniques or before adding these techniques to contracts for construction mitigation. The decision-makers should be part of the process and brought into the discussion early. This will build support for a sustained program. Coordination with local partners, particularly enforcement, will also be needed. Enforcement agencies, particularly WSP, will need to understand the system in order to enforce it. They should also be brought in during the design phase to provide input on how to design the systems to best accommodate effective enforcement. Local agencies will also need to be included in outreach efforts so they will know how the system will work and to voice concerns they may have over any impact they may see on their parts of the transportation network. In order to fully execute the above four items, a concept of operations must be completed for the most promising ATM techniques. A concept of operations will help clarify how the ATM techniques will be operated and implemented, how they will fit into the overall freeway and ITS system, and who will be responsible for operating the techniques. Integrate proposed ATM techniques into the Regional ITS Architecture. This step is similar to completing a concept of operations in that it will clarify how ATM techniques will be integrated into the regional ITS system at the state, regional and local levels. When speed harmonization is first implemented, there will likely be three separate variable speed limit approaches in Northwest Washington the variable speed limit systems on Snoqualmie and Stevens Passes, the variable speed limit system being designed for the I-90 corridor from Seattle to Bellevue, and the speed harmonization concept presented here. It will be important to provide a message to the public and to stakeholders about how and why the three different approaches are used. This message should be carefully thought out and presented to avoid confusion. Active Traffic Management Feasibility Study November 2007 53

As consideration for these techniques expand, there will need to be improved analysis tools so benefits can be better estimated. There are models in place on most of the corridors currently. It would be beneficial for analyzing ATM techniques, as well as many other transportation improvements, if these models were linked and expanded to cover the entire freeway network and to cover times outside the peak periods. This would have been particularly beneficial in the I-405 study so the team could have better analyzed junction control on SR 518. As mentioned in the sections on speed harmonization and junction control, there are several signing or control techniques that will require experimental use of traffic control devices that are not in compliance with the MUTCD. The effort to get approval for these experimental uses should get underway as soon as specific timelines are known for implementation. If this is done, the approvals will be in place when the systems are ready to be activated for the first time. Finally, WSDOT should continue to participate in the national dialog on ATM techniques. Several other states are interested in these techniques and some are also moving ahead with implementation. By continuing to be involved with these states, WSDOT can learn from their efforts and shared lessons learned. This will benefit all of the participating agencies.

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Appendices
The following appendices are included in a separate CD.

A. B. C. D. E. F.

WSDOT Active Traffic Management Folio WSDOT/PSRC Congestion Forum Proceedings Estimated Benefit Calculations Micro-simulation Modeling Results Capital Costs Operations and Maintenance Costs

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End Notes
Active Traffic Management: The Next Step in Congestion Management, International Technology Scanning Program, FHWA, Report #FHWA-PL-07-012, March 2007. HOV Lane Configurations and Collision Distribution on Freeway Lanes An Investigation of Historical Collision Data in California, Koohong Chung, Ching-Yao Chan, Kitae Jang, David Ragland, and Yong-Hee Kim, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Berkeley Traffic Safety Center, Paper UCB-TSC-TR-007-9, 2007. URL http://repositories.cdlib.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1033&context=its/tsc IVHS Institutional Issues and Case Studies - Final Report, US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, FHWA-SA-94-061, April 1994. URL http://www.itsdocs.fhwa.dot.gov/jpodocs/rept_mis/6683.pdf
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