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The increase in commodity flow and just-in-time pick up and delivery activities in urban areas have led to increase in truck traffic on urban roadways which raises safety and operational concerns. The concerns are related to trucks' large dimensions and operating characteristics which tend to conflict with passenger cars traffic operating characteristics. A number of strategies for managing trucks have been implemented on interstates highways, arterial streets, and local roads. The truck lane restriction strategy is very prevalent on limited access highways in Florida and other States. The perceived and real success of truck lane restriction on freeways have led to increasing demands from the public for highway agencies to institute similar measures on non-limited access arterial streets. The review of State statutes, policies, and practices have so far revealed that five States—Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, and New Jersey—have roadway sections on non-limited access highways with truck lane restriction. However, the literature search revealed that the efficacy of truck lane restriction on non-limited access highways has not been thoroughly studied The objective of this study was therefore to evaluate the influence of various geometric, traffic, and signalization factors that might affect the effectiveness of truck lane restriction on non-limited access highways, primarily on urban arterial roadways with significant amount of truck traffic. Because of lack of sufficient sites to conduct a longitudinal field study, VISSIM simulation software was used to evaluate operational and safety effects of truck lane restriction by varying various parameters related to the restriction. A 5-mile section of SR 70 in Fort Pierce, Florida was selected for simulation analysis. Furthermore, a network consisting of 22 roadway sections with 121 signalized intersections was simulated. The results of various simulation scenarios showed that restricting trucks to the right lane do not have deleterious effects compared to no restriction at all, and in fact could improve travel speed on the highway corridor, although not by much. However, restricting trucks to the left lane or to center lane would cause excessive lane changing, reduced travel speed, increased queue length, and stopped delay. The imposition of truck lane restriction increases speed difference between cars and trucks and among different lanes the effect of which is to increase lane changing maneuvers. This phenomenon is likely to increase vehicular conflicts in real life but the exact extent of its operational and safety implications need to be studied in the field.
A Thesis Submitted to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science.
Includes bibliographical references.
Ren Moses, Professor Directing Thesis; Lisa Spainhour, Committee Member; John Sobanjo, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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