Office of Operations
21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

Ramp Metering: A Proven, Cost-Effective Operational Strategy—A Primer

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Contact Information:

United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration

U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
Office of Operations
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

Publication #: FHWA-HOP-14-020

October 2014

Table of Contents

1. Overview of Ramp Metering

1.1 What Is Ramp Metering?

1.2 Ramp Metering and Transportation Systems Management and Operations

1.3 Ramp Metering Goals and Objectives

1.4 History of Ramp Metering

1.5 Benefits of Ramp Metering

1.6 Why Ramp Meters Are Effective

1.7 Ramp Metering Analysis Tools

1.8 Ramp Metering Control Approaches

1.9 Ramp Metering Components

1.10 Ramp Metering Algorithms

2. Ramp Metering Challenges

2.1 Geometry of Existing Infrastructure

2.2 Costs and Funding

2.3 Public Opposition

2.4 Heavy Ramp Volume

2.5 Local Agency Opposition

2.6 Lack of Agency Support

3. Keys for Successful Ramp Metering Deployment or Expansion

3.1 Is Ramp Metering Right for You?

3.2 Getting Ready for Ramp Metering

3.3 Operating Ramp Metering Effectively

4. Going Above and Beyond

List of Tables

Table 1: Summary of ramp metering approaches

Table 2: Description of example algorithms

List of Figures

Figure 1: Ramp metering configuration

Figure 2: Ramp metering within freeway management and TSM&O

Figure 3: Ramp metering in the top U.S. metropolitan areas

Figure 4: Select regional benefits of ramp metering

Figure 5: Comparison of mainline conditions with and without ramp metering

Figure 6: Duration of occupancy at shutdown capacity before and after ramp metering

Figure 7: Identified barriers to ramp metering deployment

Figure 8: Example of challenging geometrics for ramp metering

Figure 9: Ramp metering deployment decision process flow

Figure 10: Typical sign used to convert single lane on-ramp into dual-lane queue storage or allow conditional use of the shoulder

Figure 11: Dimensions of performance monitoring

Figure 12: Ramp metering deployment challenges and mitigation strategies

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