The National Academies

NCHRP Synthesis 20-05/Topic 48-11 [Active (Synthesis)]

Practices in One Lane Traffic Control on a Two-Lane Rural Highway
[ NCHRP 20-05 (Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $45,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 5/9/2016 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Mariela Garcia-Colberg
Research Agency: Wisconsin Traffic Operations and Safety Laboratory
Principal Investigator: David Noyce
Effective Date: 9/13/2016
Fiscal Year: 2016

Final Scope

Temporary Traffic Control also known as Maintenance of traffic (MOT) is critical to minimizing congestion and maintaining mobility during planned and unplanned activities as well as providing a safe work zone for both the road users and workers. The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) furnishes guidance for lane closure on rural two-lane highways. State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) have developed innovative practices to improve the MUTCD applications. There have been hundreds of projects of all sizes, types and levels of complexity completed using one lane traffic control on rural two lane highways, however, there is a need to better document successful practices. Thus, there is a rich set of local lessons learned by individual agencies that would be valuable to highway practitioners if they can be captured and published in a single document.

The objective of this synthesis is to identify innovative practices and devices for establishing one lane traffic control on rural two-lane highways. The synthesis will also explore public and industry outreach efforts that have been used successfully by transportation agencies in implementation, as well as barriers to implementation of the innovative practices and devices.

Information will be gathered by literature review and a survey of the state DOTs (including Puerto Rico) and Canadian provinces. A minimum of five geographically diverse examples and lessons learned on innovative practices, devices and outreach efforts will also be included in the synthesis.

The synthesis will seek to identify innovative practices and lessons learned in the following areas (note this is not an all-inclusive list):

• Construction and Maintenance activities
• Practices for both day time and night time operations;
• Minimum/maximum length of lane closure;
• Travel time delay;
• Short term ( less than 24 hours) vs. long term ( more than 24 hours);
• Treatment for side roads and driveways;
• Speed control methods on approach to and through the work zone;
• Coordination of multiple work zones within a corridor and potential impacts on stakeholders (to include emergency services);
• Tools used for effective public outreach within and outside the work zone limits;
• Applications for geometric alignment and topography (to include mountainous areas);
• End of queue management techniques;
• The use of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) applications in work zones;

• Other useful information as might be found in the literature and survey output.

Information Sources:

• Shrock et al. “Operational Evaluation of Portable Traffic Signals in Conjunction with Pilot Car Operations at Two-Lane, Two-Way Rural Highway Work Zones,” TRB 95th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers Paper 16-3111, 2016.
• Finley, et al. “Evaluation of Innovative Devices to Control Traffic Entering From Low-Volume Access Points within a Lane Closure,” TTI Report, 2013.
• AASHTO Subcommittee on Construction
• TRB Committee AFH15 Project Delivery Methods
• The Smarter Work Zones Toolkit: https://www.workzonesafety.org/swz/
• MUTCD: http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/ ADD
• M.D. Finley, B.R. Ullman, N.D. Trout, E. Park. "Studies to Determine the Effectiveness of Automated Flagger Assistance Devices and School Crossing Devices." FHWA/TX-12/0-6407-1 January 2012.
• P.J. Carlson, L.L. Higgins, M.P. Pratt, M.D. Finley, L. Theiss, W.F. Williams, V. Iragavarapu, M. Ko, A.A. Nelson. "Traffic Control Device Evaluation Program: Technical Report Chapter 3 An Evaluation of Pilot Vehicles and Portable Traffic Control Signals With and Without Flagger." March 2015.
• Melisa D. Finley, Praprut Songchitruksa, and Jacqueline Jenkins. "Evaluation of Alternative Methods of Temporary Traffic Control on Rural One-Lane, Two-Way Highways." May 2015. 

TRB Staff
Mariela Garcia-Colberg
Phone: 202-334-2361
Email: mgarciacolberg@nas.edu

Meeting Dates
First Panel:  September 13, 2016, Washington, DC
Teleconference with Consultant: October 7, 2016, 2:00 p.m., EST
Second Panel: May 31, 2017, Irvine, CA

Topic Panel
Mark R. Bortle, Iowa DOT
Benjamin Colucci, University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez
Melisa D. Finley, Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI)
Justin King, Oregon Department of Transportation
Marc Mastronardi, Georgia DOT
Linda Puffenbarger, Maryland State Highway Administration, District 6
Mukhtar Thakur, Minnesota DOT
Ed Yarbrough, Caltrans North Region
Martha C. Kapitanov, Federal Highway Administration
Katherine A. Petros, Federal Highway Administration
James W. Bryant, Jr., Transportation Research Board


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