Evaluation of the mobility impacts of proposed ramp metering and merge control systems : an Interstate 35 case study
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Increasing demand on freeway facilities is a major challenge facing urban areas in the United States and throughout the world. Active Traffic Management (ATM) strategies can be used to increase the performance of these facilities through improved operations without the significant expenditure associated with adding capacity. One ATM strategy that has been widely deployed in the current state of practice is ramp metering, which controls the traffic demand placed on a freeway. Merge control strategies are less prevalent and largely undeveloped. This study examines the recurrently congested northbound section of Interstate Highway 35 that approaches downtown Austin, Texas. Using the VISSIM microsimulation platform, a model of this segment was developed and calibrated to reflect current peak-hour congestion. Within this model, ramp metering and merge control technologies were implemented. The impacts on traffic throughput, speed and travel time for each of these proposed systems are evaluated.