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Suggested Citation:"INTRODUCTION." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Design Guide for Addressing Nonrecurrent Congestion. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22475.
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Suggested Citation:"INTRODUCTION." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Design Guide for Addressing Nonrecurrent Congestion. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22475.
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Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

1The purpose of this guide is to provide traffic engineers, highway designers, transpor- tation planners, and decision makers with a catalog of highway design treatments that can be used to reduce nonrecurrent congestion and improve the reliability of urban and rural freeways. Nonrecurrent congestion is congestion outside of what is normally expected during daily traffic peaks. It can be caused by crashes, noncrash incidents, special events, weather, work zones, demand surges, or traffic control devices. Road- ways that experience several of these events often have low reliability, and the drivers who use the facility have difficulty accurately estimating the amount of time their trip will take. The concepts of nonrecurrent congestion and reliability are discussed in Chapter 1 of this guide. Although many agencies are familiar with the potential benefits of deploying real- time traveler information systems and roadside assistance programs to reduce the impacts of incidents, special events, and inclement weather, little consideration has been given to how the design of the roadway and roadside can play an important role in mitigating the congestion caused by these events. This guide considers the impact of both standard features (such as the provision of full-depth shoulders) and innovative features (such as queue-jump lanes) and explores the benefits they may provide during nonrecurrent congestion. Some treatments are used primarily to address non recurrent congestion, but others may be implemented for another reason, such as increased capacity during periods of nonrecurring congestion, and may have additional benefits during nonrecurrent congestion events. The full range of treatments included in this guide is presented in Chapter 2. Chapter 2 also provides a process for narrowing the full list of treatments to those that may provide the most benefit in various situations. A decision tree is presented that walks the reader through the process of considering the main cause of non recurrent congestion and the means by which that nonrecurrent congestion might be mitigated. INTRODUCTION

2DESIGN GUIDE FOR ADDRESSING NONRECURRENT CONGESTION Ideally, the reader will gain a handful of treatments from Chapter 2 that will be inves- tigated further as candidates for possible implementation. Chapter 3 of the guide catalogs the treatments and provides a range of information on each one, including the following: • Description and primary objective of the treatment • Typical applications of the treatment • Design criteria or guidelines, if available, in design manuals or from research • How the treatment can be used to address nonrecurrent congestion • Factors that affect the treatment’s effectiveness • Cost considerations • Resources for additional information The reader may choose to browse through this catalog to learn more about several treatments or go directly to the descriptions of the treatments identified in Chapter 3 as potential candidates for implementation. Chapter 3 provides information on how each treatment can be used to reduce nonrecurrent congestion and the factors that may make it more or less successful in doing so, but it does not provide guidance on quantifying the benefit of the treatment in terms of nonrecurrent congestion reduced or reliability improved. However, these benefits are real, and they can be monetized to allow for a benefit–cost calculation to be performed. To assist the reader in carrying the treatments identified in this guide through the next step of consideration for implementation, an Analysis Tool has been developed as a sister product to this guide. The tool allows the user to compare the benefit–cost ratio of several treatments, providing valuable information to design deci- sion makers. The final report documenting the research project that developed these products provides detailed information on the principles and calculations that drive the Analysis Tool. These products are available on the SHRP 2 website. Chapter 4 of this guide is a catalog of secondary treatments that complements the treatments in Chapter 3. Finally, Chapter 5 provides information about existing installations of several of the treatments included here, allowing the reader to identify agencies that have experience with various treatments and that may be able to provide insight and guidance to other agencies considering the treatment. This guide can be used as a resource during all stages of the design process, but it will perhaps be the most beneficial before or during early project planning phases. Although some of the treatments presented can be easily retrofitted into existing facilities, others will be most cost-effective when incorporated into a planned construction or mainte- nance project. In addition, some treatments are most effective at reducing non recurrent congestion when incorporated with specific geometric or operational elements, and coordination of all aspects of the project in the early phases can help maximize benefits. Once potential treatments are identified, and their benefits to nonrecurrent congestion are understood, the Analysis Tool can be used to quantify those benefits. A benefit–cost analysis that captures delay reduction and reliability benefits can help justify the imple- mentation of treatments that may otherwise have not been considered for a project.

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TRB’s second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2) Report S2-L07-RR-2: Design Guide for Addressing Nonrecurrent Congestion catalogs highway design treatments that can be used to reduce nonrecurrent congestion and improve the reliability of urban and rural freeways.

The draft design guide is accompanied by a report titled Identification and Evaluation of the Cost-Effectiveness of Highway Design Features to Reduce Nonrecurrent Congestion.

SHRP 2 Reliability Project L07 also produced an Analysis Tool for Design Treatments to Address Nonrecurrent Congestion: Annotated Graphical User’s Guide Version 2. The guide is intended to assist users of the Microsoft-based Excel tool designed to analyze the effects of highway geometric design treatments on nonrecurrent congestion using a reliability framework.

The tool is designed to analyze a generally homogenous segment of a freeway (typically between successive interchanges). The tool allows the user to input data regarding site geometry, traffic demand, incident history, weather, special events, and work zones. Based on these data, the tool calculates base reliability conditions. The user can then analyze the effectiveness of a variety of treatments by providing fairly simple input data regarding the treatment effects and cost parameters. As outputs, the tool predicts cumulative travel time index curves for each hour of the day, from which other reliability variables are computed and displayed. The tool also calculates cost-effectiveness by assigning monetary values.

Subsequent to the analysis tool's release, SHRP 2 Reliability Project L07 produced an Microsoft-based Excel demand generator as a supplement to the analysis tool.

Analysis and Demand Generator Tools Disclaimer: The analysis tool is offered as is, without warranty or promise of support of any kind either expressed or implied. Under no circumstance will the National Academy of Sciences or the Transportation Research Board (collectively "TRB") be liable for any loss or damage caused by the installation or operation of this product. TRB makes no representation or warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, in fact or in law, including without limitation, the warranty of merchantability or the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, and shall not in any case be liable for any consequential or special damages.


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