12th International HOV Systems Conference: Improving Mobility and Accessibility with Managed Lanes, Pricing, and BRT
BREAKOUT SESSION — REGIONAL AND STATEWIDE HOV, HOT, AND VALUE PRICING PLANS
Melissa Williams, Maryland Transportation Authority, Presiding
The First Step: Utah Statewide Managed Lanes Study
Jon Nepstad, Fehr & Peers Associates, Inc.
Jon Nepstad described the managed lanes study sponsored by the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT). He summarized the need for the study, the study objectives, scope, and elements. He described the methodology used to screen candidate corridors and the current status of the study. He noted the assistance of John Thomas from UDOT in the project and the presentation.
- The population of Utah in 2003 was approximately 2.3 million. The population in the state is projected to increase to 3.7 million by 2030. The number of licensed drivers in Utah is expected to increase from 1.6 million 2003 to 2.6 million in 2030. Approximately 80 percent of the population lives in urban areas of the state.
- The study goal was to provide a primer on managed lanes. The study objectives were to raise awareness about managed lanes, to identify institutional issues associated with managed lanes, to create a planning document on managed lanes, and to identify potential managed lanes corridors in the state. The study elements included developing definitions, reviewing the state-of-the-practice, conducting a statewide review of potential managed lanes, developing a proactive plan, and identifying potential corridors.
- The UDOT managed lanes definition focuses on HOT, HOV, tolling, cordon pricing, and reversible operations. A core study team from UDOT helped oversee the project. The core study team included one region director and representatives from design and technical, public affairs, and legislative affairs.
- A state-of-the-practice review was conducted on projects throughout the U.S. A scanning tour, which included trips to San Diego, Houston, and Denver, provided detailed information on some of the current projects.
- The methodology developed for the study, which focused primarily on urban areas, used three levels of screening to identify and evaluate potential corridors for managed lanes. The first level of preliminary screening considered the Utah State Transportation System. Information from previous studies and the long-range plan, as well as current congestion levels and safety concerns, were examined. A total of 50 candidate corridors emerged from the phase one preliminary screening. These corridors were examined in more detail in the second phase, which included quantitative and qualitative assessments. A total of 14 candidate corridors were examined in the third phase.
- A number of questions still need to be addressed. These questions focus on the benefits of adding managed lanes versus adding general-purpose lanes and ensuring that there is adequate demand for managed lanes. A number of institutional issues may also need to be addressed.
- The study has raised awareness about managed lanes in the state. It also identified institutional issues that may need to be addressed with managed lanes. A planning document was developed and potential managed lanes corridors were identified. Developing a more detailed regional system plan represents the next step in the process.
Strategic Implementation Plan for the Atlanta Region
Carol Carter, Santec, Tommy Crochet, McGee Partners, and Joe Palladi, Georgia Department of Transportation
Joe Palladi, Carol Carter, and Tommy Crochet provided an overview of the HOV system implementation process in the Atlanta region. They described the implementation process, the HOV project prioritization process, and the HOV project implementation status. They also discussed HOV conceptual design issues and highlighted elements of the HOV monitoring plan and the arterial HOV guidelines.
- Provisions for HOV lanes were included in the design of downtown freeways reconstructed in the mid 1980s. No projects were immediately implemented, however. A total of 38 miles of two-way concurrent flow HOV lanes were implemented in preparation for 1996 Olympics on I-20, I-75 and I-85. The lanes on I-85 were later extended for 12 miles. Expansion of the HOV system was an integral part of the 2030 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), approved in 2001.
- The implementation plan study started in the summer of 2001. A multi-city scanning tour was undertaken to explore HOV facilities. Guidelines for the HOV system were developed. Needed projects were identified and prioritized. Enforcement guidelines and arterial HOV guidelines were also developed. Finally, guidelines for HOV performance monitoring were developed.
- The HOV system guidelines contain seven goals for the HOV system. The first goal is to reduce and manage traffic congestion. The second goal is to improve air quality. The third goal is to maximize the use of carpools, vanpools, and transit. The fourth goal is to ensure integration with transit. The fifth goal is to attain positive public perception. The sixth goal is to plan for a complete HOV system that is integral and critical to the entire transportation network. The final goal is to maintain integrity of general use lanes.
- The HOV system guidelines also outline the key measures of effectiveness (MOEs), HOV warrants, typical section access treatments, and enforcement. The key MOEs address person throughput, travel time savings, and travel time reliability. HOV warrants focus on general use congestion, and providing reliable time savings. An LOS was established as the acceptable HOV lane operations. The preferred cross-section is a two-way, barrier-separated facility, with provisions for two-lanes in each direction. The desired HOV access treatment is direct ramps to provide separation from general use access. HOV enforcement should keep the violation rate at no higher than six percent.
- The HOV project analysis, ratings, and prioritization process was accomplished in partnership with the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), FHWA, the Atlanta Regional Commission, and the Greater Atlanta Transportation Authority (GRTA). A total rating for each project was developed based on planning ratings, constructability ratings, and system connectivity. Project prioritization was defined by tiers.
- In April 2004, Georgia Governor Perdue introduced the Fast Forward Congestion Relief Program to advance transportation projects through the use of bonds. Included in the program were HOV projects, Atlanta area arterial improvements, Atlanta area signal timing upgrades, rural Interstate widenings, and rural developmental highways.
- The Atlanta area 2030 RTP was adopted by the Atlanta Regional Commission in December 2004. The RTP includes almost 200 centerline miles of new two-way HOV facilities. The lanes were modeled as barrier separated facilities, which provides better reliability over concurrent flow HOV lanes. The HOV system also allows for future expansion to two-lanes in each direction.
- GDOT is proceeding with preliminary engineering on several HOV facilities. The delivery of the HOV projects is a high priority of GDOT. The projects are being coordinated with BRT, express bus, and transit plans to ensure optimal transit operations on the HOV facilities. There is also coordination with the Georgia State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA) on managed lane issues.
- The HOV conceptual design includes two-way, barrier separated one-lane and two-lane sections. Temporary barriers can be used to allow adjustment to a typical section. System-to-system ramps are included. Direct access treatments are coordinated with BRT and express bus operations and plans. Enforcement areas are included in the design.
- The HOV monitoring plan includes data collection, analysis, and reporting. The data collection program focuses on using existing facilities and programs, with additional data collection efforts as needed. Technical reports, management reports, and marketing and public reports will be prepared for different audiences.
- The arterial HOV guidelines address regional goals and strategies. The guidelines include a recommended screening process and evaluation criteria for project selection. The screening process can be used for regional planning and evaluation, corridor planning and evaluation, and facility planning and evaluation. The guidelines also provide an overview of arterial HOV treatments.
- ARC is initiating multi-modal corridor investment studies along arterials to address major transportation investments, environmental issues, and economic development and land use. GDOT is working with the City of Atlanta on the plans for Northside Drive Corridor, which parallels the congested I-75/85 corridor. The intent is to develop Northside Drive as a transit friendly corridor.
Recent Research on Managed Lanes: A Report from Texas
Beverly Kuhn, Texas Transportation Institute
Beverly Kuhn described a multi-year research project on managed lanes sponsored by TxDOT. She summarized the managed lanes definitions used in the study, the major tasks conducted, and available reports.
- The TxDOT managed lanes research project focuses on developing a better understanding of how managed lanes can improve mobility for people and freight. The research project objectives are to investigate the complex and interrelated issues surrounding the safe and efficient operation of managed lanes and to develop a comprehensive manual to help TxDOT make informed decisions.
- One of the first tasks was to develop a definition of managed lanes. The definition TxDOT uses is: "A managed lane facility is one that increases freeway efficiency by packaging various operational and design actions. Lane management operations may be adjusted at any time to better match regional goals."
- A variety of approaches may be used with managed lanes based on management strategies and facility type. Management strategies include pricing, vehicle eligibility requirements, and access control. Examples of facility types include HOV lanes, HOT lanes, truck lanes, express lanes, and multifaceted managed lanes.
- The five-year research project includes a number of tasks addressing planning, designing, implementing, and operating managed lanes. A number of products have been developed to help provide guidance on different aspects of managed lanes. Reports and other documents are available addressing weaving and ramp issues, enforcement, traveler information, and incident management. Other topics that have been examined include concept marketing, legislative issues, financing options, traffic control devices, and interoperability. The results from work tasks addressing direct connector ramps, enforcement, and signing are being presented in other breakout sessions.
- One of the tasks examined effective techniques to communicate with the public. Using messages common to successful projects was identified as one approach. Other techniques were to determine public perception at the project level and to gain support through political champions. Addressing potential equity concerns through providing additional mobility options was also noted as important.
- Another task examined possible legal and legislative issues associated with managed lanes. It is important to ensure that all operational scenarios are legal for all involved entities. Enforcement may need to be simplified and making contracting and institutional arrangements easier may need to be addressed. In Texas, information from the research project has been used in legislation.
- Funding options for managed lanes were also examined in the research project. A variety of financing methods were identified for managed lanes. It is critical to match financing method to project goals. The potential to leverage different funding sources was also noted as important.
- A traveler information decision model was developed through the research project. The model identifies the information travelers need at different decision points associated with using different types of managed lanes.
- Techniques for responding to incidents in managed lanes were also examined as part of the research project. Elements considered included access for response vehicle and diversion between managed lanes and general-purpose lanes. Other factors include providing a safe work area and pre-positioned response vehicles. The need for multi-agency cooperation and public notification is also highlighted.
- Another work task examined the need for interoperability. Ensuring interoperability in planning, geometric design, traffic control devices, operations, incident management, surveillance and monitoring, and communications was identified as important.
- Future research tasks include examining staffing and training needs associated with planning, designing, and operating managed lanes. Considering interim and special use lanes is being examined. Developing approaches for monitoring and evaluating managed lanes represents another task. Finally, a managed lanes handbook will be developed.
- All reports, bulletins, and presentations are available from the research website, which is http://managed-lanes.tamu.edu. Go to the section on "Our Products" to obtain available documents.