Route switching behavior among Austin commuters
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IH-35 is a major north-south interstate highway across the State of Texas. It is an important business corridor, conveniently connecting four large Texas cities, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, and San Antonio, as well as facilitating trade between Mexico and the United States. During construction of the SH-71/IH-35 Interchange, the Austin District of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has had to close the main lanes of IH-35 and re-route traffic. Three main lane closures happened during three weekends in 2011. During those closures, a parallel route, the SH-130 toll road, was made free to travelers. TxDOT provided both pre-trip and en-route information about the closure. They used radio, TV, portable message sign (PMS), and dynamic message signs (DMS) to inform commuters about the closure. To inform travelers passing through Austin about the closure and the existing alternative (SH-130 was toll free), they even collaborated with Dallas and San Antonio TxDOT district personnel. However, usage of SH130 was less than anticipated, and there was significant traffic queuing on IH-35. In this study, we tried to document the quantity of traffic that used the alternative path during the IH-35 closure and explore options for relieving delays on IH-35 during future closures.