Focus on Congestion Relief

Congestion Reduction Toolbox:
Improve Service on Existing Roads

Traffic Incident Management

Traffic incidents cause approximately 25% of traffic congestion. Traffic incidents can be managed so that congestion is reduced. Traffic Incident Management is an important tool in lessening the impact of non-recurring congestion as well as providing for a safer environment for drivers. Traffic Incident Management is a planned and coordinated process to detect, respond to, and remove traffic incidents and restore traffic capacity as safely and quickly as possible. This coordinated process involves a number of public and private sector partners, including: Law Enforcement, Fire and Rescue, Emergency Medical Services, Transportation, Public Safety Communications, Emergency Management, Towing and Recovery, Hazardous Materials Contractors, and Traffic Information Media.

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Traffic Signal Timing

There are more than 260,000 traffic signals in the United States. It is estimated that over 75% of these signals could be improved by updating equipment or by simply adjusting and updating the timing plans. It is further estimated that poor traffic signal timing accounts for 5 to 10% of all traffic delay or 295 million vehicle-hours of delay on major roadways alone. Traffic signal retiming is one of the most cost effective ways to help traffic move and is one of the most basic strategies to help mitigate congestion. Optimizing traffic signals can produce benefit cost ratios as high as 40 to 1. The costs for retiming traffic signals generally range from around $500 to $3,000 per intersection. There are tools and resources available to create an awareness of the benefits of improved signal timing and to improve the knowledge base through education, training and guidance or technical assistance.

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Arterial Management

Arterial Management promotes the efficient and effective movement of people and goods and improves the safety of the traveling public and environment. The FHWA Arterial Management program covers three major focus areas: arterial management, traffic signal timing, and access management.

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Access Management

Access Management is the proactive management of vehicular access points to land parcels adjacent to all manner of roadways. Good access management promotes safe and efficient use of the transportation network. Access Management encompasses a set of techniques that state and local governments can use to control access to highways, major arterials, and other roadways. These techniques include Access Spacing, Driveway Spacing, Safe Turning Lanes, Median Treatments, and Right-of-Way Management.

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highway traffic

Freeway Management and Traffic Operations

Freeway management includes operational strategies that help keep traffic flowing at high levels of efficiency. Managing travel and controlling traffic involves the application of the appropriate policies, strategies, and actions to mitigate any potential impacts resulting from the intensity, timing, and location of travel and to reduce congestion on highway and freeway facilities. The Traffic Management Center (TMC) is often the hub or nerve center of most freeway management systems.

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Road Weather Management

Adverse weather conditions have a major impact on the safety and operation of our Nation's roads, from signalized arterials to Interstate highways. Weather affects driver behavior, vehicle performance, pavement friction, and roadway infrastructure. Weather events and their impacts on roads can be viewed as predictable, non-recurring incidents that affect safety, congestion and productivity. There are three types of road weather management strategies that can be used to mitigate the impacts of rain, snow, ice, fog, high winds, flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, and avalanches: 1) Advisory strategies provide information on prevailing and predicted conditions to both transportation managers and motorists. Posting fog warnings on Dynamic Message Signs (DMS) and listing flooded routes on web sites are examples of advisory strategies; 2) Control strategies alter the state of roadway devices to permit or restrict traffic flow and regulate roadway capacity. Reducing speed limits with Variable Speed Limit (VSL) signs and modifying traffic signal timing are examples of control strategies; and 3) Treatment strategies supply resources to roads to minimize or eliminate weather impacts. The most common treatment strategies are application of sand, salt, and anti-icing chemicals to pavements to improve traction and prevent ice bonding.

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Other Congestion Relief Links of Interest

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