Panos Michalopoulos, Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering
A new ramp metering strategy implemented on the Twin Cities freeway system to reduce ramp waiting times was evaluated through microsimulation of freeway activity. The study compared Stratified Ramp Metering strategy with the previous Zone Metering Strategy and with no control strategy. Comparison with Zone, which was designed to favor freeway flow, showed the new strategy succeeded in greatly reducing ramp delays and lines. When compared to the results of no control strategy, it reduces freeway travel time, increases freeway speed, smoothes the flow of traffic, and reduces the number of stops. However, travel time, fuel consumption and pollutant emissions are unpredictable under the newer system. Compared to no control strategy, such measures of effectiveness may improve or worsen depending on the freeway patterns and demand. Based on these findings, the researchers will seek improvements to the design of the Stratified Ramp Metering algorithm so as to factor in disruptive traffic patterns.