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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Study of Freeway Traffic Near an Off-Ramp


A bottleneck with a diminished capacity is shown to have arisen on a freeway segment whenever queues from the segment's off-ramped spilled over and occupied its mandatory exit lane. It is also shown that longer exit queues from the over-saturate off-ramp were accompanied by lower discharge rates for non-exiting vehicles. The explanation appears to be rubber-necking on the part of the non-exiting drivers. Whenever the of-ramp queues were prevented from spilling over to the exit lane (by changing the logic of a nearby traffic signal), much higher flows were sustained on the freeway segment and a bottleneck did not arise there. These observations underscore the value of control strategies that enable diverging vehicles to exit a freeway unimpeded. Key words: Freeway Traffic Control, Off-Ramps, Bottlenecks

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