Evaluation of freeway work zone merge concepts
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Using microsimulation software, with a focus on VISSIM, the analysis of different applications of merge concepts through delay and safety is presented in this thesis. In order to appropriately draw conclusions and usage trends of different merge concepts from the microsimulation software, early merge, late merge, and signal merge were first explored in a thorough literature review. While focusing primarily on delay, queues, and safety, this thesis essentially provides an introduction to determining the ideal merge concept on freeway work zones for varying roadway configurations, roadway conditions, and user demands, among other factors. In addition to delay and queuing analysis completed using VISSIM, the Federal Highway Administration’s Surrogate Safety Assessment Model (SSAM) was used to address the effects of implementing signal merge on rear-end and lane-change conflicts. Compiling the VISSIM microsimulation outputs and SSAM signal merge safety outputs, general conclusions and decisions were provided. While this thesis provides determinations of ideal merge concepts for a variety of cases, it is important for the next researcher to assess some of the assumptions that were made, to ensure that they would not significantly affect the results and analysis.