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Old 05-20-2008, 03:36 PM   #41
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Old 05-20-2008, 03:36 PM   #42
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Old 05-20-2008, 04:51 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
Same here for Texas.... cutting is not good...


And if I see someone who bypassed all the considerate people to try and cut... I will block him off myself...
DOT studies show that the most efficient way to get the traffic through the lane closure is to use all available pavement, meaning use the closed lane. DFW has more people taking the closed lane all the way and I see fewer drivers who would try the "cutoff" manuever. In Houston, they say if it's all veteran Houstonites, it's like a symphony as they alternate right at the merger, smooth as silk.
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Old 05-20-2008, 05:10 PM   #44
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DOT studies show that the most efficient way to get the traffic through the lane closure is to use all available pavement, meaning use the closed lane. DFW has more people taking the closed lane all the way and I see fewer drivers who would try the "cutoff" manuever. In Houston, they say if it's all veteran Houstonites, it's like a symphony as they alternate right at the merger, smooth as silk.
Yup. The worst situation is when the merge lane is clear for a thousand yards but some "considerate" early merger decides to slow down and try to merge with the clogged "open" lane. A "merge earlier still" believer in the open lane then starts fighting with early merger and prevents him from getting in. He zooms ahead 50 yards and repeats. Again and again. Now the rest of us in the merge lane are steaming and reaching for our side-arms.

I really need to work on this. I am a totally laid back type in virtually every situation except traffic where I turn type A. Something about being a former cabbie, or just incipient psychosis?
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Old 05-20-2008, 06:36 PM   #45
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Vigilantism, two wrongs do not make a right.
This coming from the person who thinks the speed limit should be increased to 110 mph in construction zones!
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Old 05-20-2008, 09:41 PM   #46
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Harry the traffic engineer comes to the rescue...

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I bet there's a traffic engineer out there right now laughing at all you laymen trying to decipher this problem!
According to a transportation research paper published in January:

"The late merge traffic control strategy has been proposed as a way to improve flow at work zone lane closures by maximizing queue storage space and creating more orderly merging. The late merge instructs drivers to use all lanes to the work zone taper and then take turns proceeding through the work zone. There is little information available on when the late merge should be used, however, and a limited understanding of the factors that influence its performance.

"This paper discusses the results of a simulation study of the late merge concept using microscopic traffic simulation. The late merge concept was evaluated by comparing it to traditional traffic control using a full factorial analysis. Results of the computer simulations showed that the late merge produced a statistically significant increase in throughput volume versus the traditional merge for the 3-to-1 lane closure configuration across all combinations of analysis factors. Although the 2-to-1 and 3-to-2 configurations did not show significant improvement in throughput overall, it was found that as the percentage of heavy vehicles increased, the late merge did foster higher throughput volumes than traditional traffic control.

"The results of the simulations indicate that the late merge may not provide as much of a benefit as previous studies had indicated and that the area of application for the late merge may be limited to situations where heavy vehicles comprise more than 20 percent of the traffic stream."


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Old 05-20-2008, 09:49 PM   #47
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MODERATOR!! Harry introduced actual modeling results into our hitherto unpolluted stream of random conjecture!

Thanks for the information. Still, I wonder if the model accounted for traffic slowdown as rubberneckers watch the guy who zoomed to the end of the closing lane get beat with a tire iron.
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Old 05-20-2008, 09:50 PM   #48
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This still bugs me but I'm working on letting it go.
As I drive to my favorite surf break, others buzz by at 15-20 mph above the speed limit. I let it go because they must be rushing to get to work...
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Old 05-20-2008, 10:02 PM   #49
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I got swept up in some fast traffic going opposite rush hour today, and backed off about 1/2 mile before I saw a motorcycle cop merge on and almost immediately flipped his lights on to pull over the pickup I'd been following.
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Old 05-20-2008, 10:43 PM   #50
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I used to be a type a road-rager. Then I realized that, if someone felt the need to drive like an idiot, then they probably had to get to something that they at least felt was more important than my safety. Since I'm generally just on my way to work or running errands, I'm in no hurry. Turns out there's just as much work to do at 8:30 versus 8:00.
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Old 05-20-2008, 11:14 PM   #51
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I used to be a type a road-rager. Then I realized that, if someone felt the need to drive like an idiot, then they probably had to get to something that they at least felt was more important than my safety. Since I'm generally just on my way to work or running errands, I'm in no hurry. Turns out there's just as much work to do at 8:30 versus 8:00.
I'm not advocating excessive speeding or other overly aggressive driving but some people don't have the luxury of coming into work 30 minutes late. 20% of my department was fired last year because of attendance including coming in as little as one minute late. People just need to leave earlier so they don't need to be in such a hurry. Wow, what a concept! It takes me 20 minutes to drive to work with the cruise set at 63-64 in a 65 zone(mileage improved 15% since I reduced my speed 10 mph). I need to be punched in and at a designated place by 4:54pm. I leave my front door at 4:05 a full half hour more than the travel time just in case of bad traffic. I have no sympathy for those who, in my position, would leave at 4:30.
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Old 05-21-2008, 09:05 AM   #52
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Harry, thanks for chiming in--here's my question: The spot here that "sticks" is a two to one lane coming off a bridge that backs up every day, usually about a mile long line of cars in the "non-merge" left lane, and then handfuls of zippsters coming up on the right lane that ends. This is not construction traffic, or merging onto highway traffic, just a choke point onto an island with (seemingly) no good traffic engineers in the planning department.
What is the "best solution" to something like this situation? Obviously, extending the two traveling lanes would be great, but there are some 100 year old oak trees in the way of that. From a traffic moving standpoint, is the late merge less effective than the early merge? I think I read your paper excerpt to say...it depends.
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Old 05-21-2008, 09:25 AM   #53
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I was having trouble understanding why this was a popular thread, and why it was brought up at all. It wasn't until today that I remembered about traffic congestion. For me, the merge lane means: If there's a slow dude in an old RV ahead, better speed up to 65 now so you can pass while there's a chance.

But I paid my dues with daily commutes across the Bay Bridge. I remember one time in which a woman cut in unfairly. Once we both got on the bridge, I came up beside her, pointed to her tire and mouthed "Flat tire!" She got off at Yerba Buena island. I know, I was mean back then.
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Old 05-21-2008, 10:23 AM   #54
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Harry, thanks for chiming in--here's my question: The spot here that "sticks" is a two to one lane coming off a bridge that backs up every day, usually about a mile long line of cars in the "non-merge" left lane, and then handfuls of zippsters coming up on the right lane that ends. This is not construction traffic, or merging onto highway traffic, just a choke point onto an island with (seemingly) no good traffic engineers in the planning department.
What is the "best solution" to something like this situation? Obviously, extending the two traveling lanes would be great, but there are some 100 year old oak trees in the way of that. From a traffic moving standpoint, is the late merge less effective than the early merge? I think I read your paper excerpt to say...it depends.
A late merge is most effective, and it's fair if both lanes are filled evenly and an alternate merge is done. That way there is no place for "zippsters" to unfairly jump ahead of people.

How to train people to use both lanes until the end is another question.
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Old 05-21-2008, 10:27 AM   #55
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A late merge is most effective, and it's fair if both lanes are filled evenly and an alternate merge is done. That way there is no place for "zippsters" to unfairly jump ahead of people.

How to train people to use both lanes until the end is another question.
But, according to the post Harry just made, a late merge is not that much more effective if it's a 2-1 or 3-2 merge without many heavy vehicles present:

"The results of the simulations indicate that the late merge may not provide as much of a benefit as previous studies had indicated and that the area of application for the late merge may be limited to situations where heavy vehicles comprise more than 20 percent of the traffic stream."
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Old 05-21-2008, 10:41 AM   #56
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What is the "best solution" to something like this situation? Obviously, extending the two traveling lanes would be great, but there are some 100 year old oak trees in the way of that. From a traffic moving standpoint, is the late merge less effective than the early merge? I think I read your paper excerpt to say...it depends.
Accept the delay and move on. Or as you have done, select an alternative route that maximizes your utility (ie - one that minimizes your travel time and other travel costs).

From a traffic engineering standpoint, there are some things that could be done to help w/ the bridge problem. One is called "travel demand management" - encouraging smart commuting (carpooling/vanpooling, mass transit ridership, off-peak commuting, flexible schedules, telecommuting, internalizing transportation costs/parking costs, etc).

Another solution is generally called "congestion pricing". I believe the USA has a few examples of this (in California I believe). Basically, charge a toll at the bridge. Make it very low or non-existent during non-rush hour. Then, during the peak periods when congestion is an issue, dynamically set the toll price so that enough people don't want to pay the toll and will take an alternate route or choose to travel at a cheaper time period. For example, if the existing peak hour, peak direction travel demand is, say, 2,600 vehicles per hour, and the maximum capacity of the bridge segment is 2,100 vehicles per hour, then set the toll sufficiently high to dissuade 500 vehicles to select an alternate route. Good luck getting the laws changed to allow this, and then implementing it on an existing facility! It may prove unpopular. SC isn't the most avant garde with their transportation system.

Another potential solution is to "move the bottleneck". Convert from 2 lanes in one direction to 1 lane in one direction at some earlier point. That way, the capacity constraint is moved to a different location and you may eliminate some of the "false capacity" that arises from having a 4 lane road cross a 2 lane bridge.


Good luck w/ that...
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Old 05-21-2008, 10:45 AM   #57
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But, according to the post Harry just made, a late merge is not that much more effective if it's a 2-1 or 3-2 merge without many heavy vehicles present:

"The results of the simulations indicate that the late merge may not provide as much of a benefit as previous studies had indicated and that the area of application for the late merge may be limited to situations where heavy vehicles comprise more than 20 percent of the traffic stream."
Assuming their simulation is correct, they did show there was no decrease in capacity with the late merge. You still gain the increased queue capacity, increased capacity if there are trucks and control of the zipsters, which would incidentally reduce the blood pressure of the good folks queuing up early.
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Old 05-21-2008, 11:00 AM   #58
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But, according to the post Harry just made, a late merge is not that much more effective if it's a 2-1 or 3-2 merge without many heavy vehicles present:

"The results of the simulations indicate that the late merge may not provide as much of a benefit as previous studies had indicated and that the area of application for the late merge may be limited to situations where heavy vehicles comprise more than 20 percent of the traffic stream."
That TRB research paper was really analyzing the throughput at the merge point as the merge scenarios varied. In other words, the throughput at the merge point topped out at about the same capacity for some lane configurations and in other lane configurations the throughput at the merge was increased under the "late merge" scenario.

After a brief skimming of the full research paper it seems that they didn't address directly* the fact that the early merge scenario extends the queue of traffic farther than the late merge scenario. Let's say you have an early merge 1 mile before the late merge point. You have 1 mile of asphalt sitting empty and the queue extends 1 additional mile in the lane remaining open. This isn't a big deal in rural areas with intersection spacing many miles apart. However in suburban and urban freeway systems where intersections are frequently spaced 1 mile apart more or less, that extra mile of queuing might cause serious travel delay and additional queuing at interchanges that would otherwise not be impacted (ie - the queuing might block 9 interchanges instead of 7).

* Note: They did address queue length issues, but not the system-wide effect of longer queue lengths and sub-optimal usage of existing storage capacity. Their analysis was really limited to throughput/capacity at an isolated merge point. Otherwise solid research using state of the practice microscopic simulation modeling (VISSIM).
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Old 05-21-2008, 01:58 PM   #59
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Here in Minnesota we mostly form a line ahead of time - there are usually some though that cut in line - I just chalk it up to the gradual deterioration of spelling standards in school and not getting a good dose of the golden rule growing up.

Although merging is my preference I will squeeze if necessary.


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Old 05-21-2008, 02:06 PM   #60
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What if there was a law that once you merged into the through lane you couldn't go back into the merge lane? Would you still be an early merger or would you wait until later? (I would wait until the merge lane traffic slowed down.)
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