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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

 
REPORT
This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information
Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-16-037    Date:  June 2016
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-16-037
Date: June 2016

 

Active Traffic Management: Comprehension, Legibility, Distance, and Motorist Behavior in Response to Selected Variable Speed Limit and Lane Control Signing

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FOREWORD

Active traffic management (ATM) incorporates a collection of strategies allowing the dynamic management of recurrent and nonrecurrent congestion based on prevailing traffic conditions. These strategies help to increase peak capacity, smooth traffic flows, and enhance safety on busy major highways.

This final report describes a series of experiments that developed alternative signs focusing on dynamic lane assignment and variable speed limits and used the deployments in Minnesota and Washington as one of the inputs to sign development. Laboratory and field studies determined both the comprehension of the ATM signs as well as their respective legibility distances. Two driving simulator studies helped determine how motorists respond to these signs in a simulated driving environment.

While this document provides useful information on comprehension, preferences, human behavior, and decisionmaking with regard to ATM signing, the Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices provides the official Federal Highway Administration guidance in this area. The report and its findings and recommendations will be of interest to transportation professionals involved in operations, safety, and human factors, as well as others interested in safe and efficient roadway operations.

Monique R. Evans, P.E.

Director, Office of Safety

Research and Development

Notice

This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers' names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

Quality Assurance Statement

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.

 

Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.

FHWA-HRT-16-037

2. Government Accession No. 3 Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle

Active Traffic Management: Comprehension, Legibility, Distance, and Motorist Behavior in Response to Selected Variable Speed Limit and Lane Control Signing

5. Report Date

June 2016

6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s)

William A. Perez, Mary Anne Bertola, and Brian Philips

8. Performing Organization Report No.

 

9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Leidos
11251 Roger Bacon Drive
Reston, VA 20190

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)

11. Contract or Grant No.

DTFH61-08-C-00006

12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Final Report

14. Sponsoring Agency Code

HOTO-1

15. Supplementary Notes

The Federal Highway Administration Contracting Officer’s Representative was C.Y. David Yang, (202) 493-3284.

16. Abstract

Active traffic management (ATM) incorporates a collection of strategies allowing the dynamic management of recurrent and nonrecurrent congestion based on prevailing traffic conditions. These strategies help to increase peak capacity, smooth traffic flows, and enhance safety on busy major highways.

 

This final report describes a series of experiments that developed and tested alternative signs focusing on lane control signs (LCS) and variable speed limit (VSL) signs and used the deployments in Minnesota and Washington as inputs to sign development. Laboratory and field studies determined both the comprehension of the ATM signs as well as their respective legibility distances. Two driving simulator studies helped determine how motorists responded to these signs in a simulated driving environment.

 

Research results are discussed for the various studies, including legibility distances, driver behavior, speed selection, and visual clutter with respect to the used of the LCS and VSL signs.

17. Key Words

Active traffic management, ATM, Changeable message signs, CMS, Lane control signs, LCS, Variable speed limits, VSL, Legibility distance, Speed selection, Visual clutter

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161.
http://www.ntis.gov

19. Security Classification
(of this report)

Unclassified

20. Security Classification
(of this page)

Unclassified

21. No. of Pages

106

22. Price

N/A

Form DOT F 1700.7 Reproduction of completed page authorized

SI* (Modern Metric) Conversion Factors

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

List of Abbreviations

ATM active traffic management 
CMS changeable message sign 
MM-ALR Managed Motorways-All-Lane Running 
LCS lane control sign 
VSL variable speed limit 
DCZ data collection zone 
FHWA Federal Highway Administration 
GEE general estimating equation 
HOV high occupancy vehicle 
LED light-emitting diode 
MUTCD Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices 
RA road ahead 
ROI region of interest 
STD standard deviation 
LCD liquid crystal display 
RGB red, blue, green 

 

 

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