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Review, Experimental Evaluation and Policy Considerations of a Directional Time of Day Truck Restriction on Highways


The paper reviews several strategies of restricting or separating trucks from the regular traffic stream. Typical truck restriction policies focus on leftmost lanes restriction, which has been shown by several studies to have some advantages. However, those studies clearly show that vehicle queue lengths in the vicinity of critical merging areas increase significantly as the percentage of trucks increases. Therefore, this study examines a different policy—one which investigates traffic efficiency gained by restricting heavy truck traffic in one direction—in this case, westbound on Highway 1 in Israel—during afternoon peak hours. Similar policies of utilizing a specific vehicle category (e.g. passenger cars or trucks) in different daily time periods or physical separation of homogenous traffic of passenger cars in the inner lanes and mixed traffic in the outer lanes, were recommended in Italian motorways and in New Jersey Turnpike dual-dual freeways respectively.

Highway 1 is a freeway connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv that passes by Ben-Gurion International Airport. The major objective of this study is to estimate the benefit of restricting truck traffic in the traffic stream according to three traffic-flow parameters: average travel time, total travel time, and average traffic speed. Analysis of the results, which consider the significant differences of 30-minute time period samples (“before-after” truck restriction), shows that prohibiting trucks in all lanes in one direction during the peak afternoon period of 16:00-18:00 improved all three traffic flow parameters by 8%-12%. Generally a steep grade from which truck traffic is banned is correlated with an improvement in traffic flow. In our case, Highway 1 road segments 1 and 2 and 4, which have steep grades (longitudinal grades), incorporated the most significant improvements in the traffic stream parameters examined.

by Shy Bassan

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