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465020-1 Report Abstract

Quantifying the Benefits of High-Occupancy Vehicle Facilities Using Automatic Vehicle Identification Technology

Shawn M. Turner, Gary A. Carlin and Russell H. Henk, Texas A&M University, November 1995, 130 pp.

This report examines the benefits of high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes in three major freeway corridors in Houston, Texas: the Katy (I-10), Northwest (US 290), and North (I-45) Freeways. The analyses described in this report used eight months of travel time data (April through November 1994) available through Houston’s automatic vehicle identification (AVI) traffic monitoring system. The travel time data were used to quantify travel time savings and reliability benefits of the HOV lanes relative to the freeway general-purpose lanes. The travel time data were also used to calibrate a macroscopic freeway simulation model for comparing an HOV lane alternative to other transportation improvements. Various measures of effectiveness, like person delay, fuel consumption, and mobile source emissions, were used to compare alternative improvements.

The analyses of 1994 travel time indicated that the three Houston HOV lanes have significant travel time savings, energy consumption savings, and travel time reliability benefits over the freeway general-purpose lanes. The travel time savings were different for each freeway corridor because of different congestion levels, but the day-to-day and month-to-month reliability of speeds in the HOV lane were consistent among all corridors. The extensive amount of travel time data available through Houston’s traffic monitoring system provided a clear picture of the daily operation of the three HOV lanes and freeway general-purpose lanes. The computer simulation analyses showed that HOV lanes have significant energy consumption savings over other transportation improvements. The simulation analyses also showed that an HOV lane compared favorably with other transportation improvements, such as providing additional general-purpose lanes or increasing freeway capacity through traffic management practices.

Keywords: High-Occupancy Vehicle Lane Evaluation, Automatic Vehicle Identification, Travel Time Savings and Reliability, Energy Consumption, Freeway Simulation

ENTIRE REPORT (Adobe Acrobat File – 1,581KBytes)