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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Berkeley has supported transportation research at the University of California since 1948. About 50 faculty members, 50 staff researchers and more than 100 graduate students take part in this multidisciplinary program, which receives roughly $40 million in research funding on average each year. Alexandre Bayen, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, is its director.

Cover page of Current State of the Sharing Economy and Evacuations: Lessons from California

Current State of the Sharing Economy and Evacuations: Lessons from California

(2019)

In many evacuations including wildfire evacuations, public agencies often do not have enough resources to evacuate and shelter all citizens. Consequently, we propose that the sharing economy, through private companies and/or private citizens, could be leveraged in disasters for transportation and sheltering resources. To assess this feasibility, we distributed surveys to individuals impacted by three major wildfires in California: 1) the 2017 October Northern California Wildfires (n=79), 2) the 2017 December Southern California Wildfires (n=226), and 3) the 2018 Carr Wildfire (n=284). Using these data, we find that private citizens are moderately to highly likely to share transportation and sheltering resources in future disasters, but numerous reservations persist about sharing. We also find significant spare capacity in evacuating vehicles and potential homes. To supplement this work, we also conducted four focus groups (n=37) of vulnerable populations to determine the benefits and limitations of a sharing economy strategy in terms of equity. Groups included low-income (2017 December Southern California Wildfires), older adult (2017 October Northern California Wildfires), individuals with disabilities (2017 October Northern California Wildfires), and Spanish-speaking (2018 Mendocino Complex Wildfire). We find that while severe equity limitations exist, groups were able to develop several recommendations for successfully leveraging sharing economy resources for the general population and their specific vulnerable group. We conclude with several local agency and statewide recommendations for building a sharing economy framework for California to prepare for future evacuations.

Cover page of Measuring the influence of recurring sporting events on freeway characteristics

Measuring the influence of recurring sporting events on freeway characteristics

(2017)

Freeway traffic is subject to the effects of recurring and non-recurring events.  Changes in the traffic stream as a result of recurring special events, specifically sports, is an area that is not well researched.  This study examined freeway detectors adjacent to two baseball stadiums in California to analyze the contribution of a baseball game to freeway flow and occupancy for weekday evening games.   In addition, hourly volumes on local rail transit were analyzed in the San Francisco case.  Findings include a statistically significant effect of baseball increasing the flow by approximately 1,000 vehicles over the afternoon commute in both locations.  San Francisco volumes were influenced by day-of-week, type of opponent, as well as starting pitcher.  Games on a Friday against their noted rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers produced the highest volumes with 4,000 vehicles more than the average weekday evening baseball game.   Anaheim volumes were only affected by month-of-year.  As cities explore transportation options to their sporting venues, it is important to take an inventory of the impact of events on the existing network.

Cover page of California’s Freeway Service Patrol Program:  Management Information Systems Annual Report Fiscal Year 2015-2106

California’s Freeway Service Patrol Program:  Management Information Systems Annual Report Fiscal Year 2015-2106

(2017)

The Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) is an incident management program implemented by Caltrans, the California Highway Patrol and local partner agencies to quickly detect and assist disabled vehicles and reduce non-recurring congestion along the freeway during peak commute hours.  The first FSP program was piloted in Los Angeles, and was later expanded to other regions by state legislation in 1991.  As of June 2016, there were fourteen participating FSP Programs operating in California, deploying over 340 tow trucks and covering over 1,800 (center-line) miles of congested California freeways.

 

The purpose of this research project was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Caltrans FSP program in reducing incident durations and removal of other obstructions that directly contribute to freeway congestion for Caltrans fiscal year 2015-2016.  The project provides valuable information to agencies managing the FSP program so that resources are distributed within the various statewide FSP operations in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible.  The tools used and the operational performance measures provided by this research effort will significantly contribute on the ongoing agencies’ efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the FSP program.

Cover page of California’s Freeway Service Patrol Program: Management Information System Annual Report Fiscal Year 2014-2015

California’s Freeway Service Patrol Program: Management Information System Annual Report Fiscal Year 2014-2015

(2016)

The Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) is an incident management program implemented by Caltrans, the California Highway Patrol and local partner agencies to quickly detect and assist disabled vehicles and reduce non-recurring congestion along the freeway during peak commute hours.  The first FSP program was piloted in Los Angeles, and was later expanded to other regions by state legislation in 1991.  As of June 2015, there were fourteen participating FSP Programs operating in California, deploying over 340 tow trucks and covering over 1,800 (center-line) miles of congested California freeways.

 

The purpose of this research project was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Caltrans FSP program in reducing incident durations and removal of other obstructions that directly contribute to freeway congestion for Caltrans fiscal year 2014-2015.  The project provides valuable information to agencies managing the FSP program so that resources are distributed within the various statewide FSP operations in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible.  The tools used and the operational performance measures provided by this research effort will significantly contribute on the ongoing agencies’ efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the FSP program.

Cover page of California’s Freeway Service Patrol Program: FSP Beat Evaluation Model; Methodology and Parameter Estimation (FY 2014-15)

California’s Freeway Service Patrol Program: FSP Beat Evaluation Model; Methodology and Parameter Estimation (FY 2014-15)

(2016)

The Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) is an incident management program implemented by Caltrans, the California Highway Patrol and local partner agencies to quickly detect and assist disabled vehicles and reduce non-recurring congestion along the freeway during peak commute hours.  The first FSP program was piloted in Los Angeles, and was later expanded to other regions by state legislation in 1991.  As of June 2015, there were fourteen participating FSP Programs operating in California, deploying over 340 tow trucks and covering over 1,800 (center-line) miles of congested California freeways.

 

The purpose of this research project was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Caltrans FSP program in reducing incident durations and removal of other obstructions that directly contribute to freeway congestion for Caltrans fiscal year 2014-2015.  The project provides valuable information to agencies managing the FSP program so that resources are distributed within the various statewide FSP operations in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible.  The tools used and the operational performance measures provided by this research effort will significantly contribute on the ongoing agencies’ efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the FSP program.

 

This “FSP Beat Evaluation Model; Methodology and Parameter Estimation” report documents the FSP Beat cost effectiveness model development process, including model validation efforts.

Cover page of California’s Freeway Service Patrol Program: Management Information System Annual Report Fiscal Year 2013-14

California’s Freeway Service Patrol Program: Management Information System Annual Report Fiscal Year 2013-14

(2015)

The Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) is an incident management program implemented by Caltrans, the California Highway Patrol and local partner agencies to quickly detect and assist disabled vehicles and reduce non-recurring congestion along the freeway during peak commute hours.  The first FSP program was piloted in Los Angeles, and was later expanded to other regions by state legislation in 1991.  As of June 2014, there were fourteen participating FSP Programs operating in California, deploying over 370 tow trucks and covering over 1,800 (center-line) miles of congested California freeways.

 

The purpose of this research project was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Caltrans FSP program in reducing incident durations and removal of other obstructions that directly contribute to freeway congestion for Caltrans fiscal year 2013-2014.  The project provides valuable information to agencies managing the FSP program so that resources are distributed within the various statewide FSP operations in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible.  The tools used and the operational performance measures provided by this research effort will significantly contribute on the ongoing agencies’ efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the FSP program.

Cover page of Spatiotemporal Studies of Traffic Phenomenon on Freeways with Limited-access Special Lanes

Spatiotemporal Studies of Traffic Phenomenon on Freeways with Limited-access Special Lanes

(2015)

Most special-use freeway lanes in the US, whether reserved for carpools, toll-paying commuters or both, are physically separated from the adjacent regular-use lanes by some form of barrier. Vehicle movements in and out of a special lane of this type are permitted only at select access points along the route. The barrier at each select point might open for a distance of 400 m or so. Limiting access in this way is said to reduce the “turbulence” that might otherwise occur were the special lane not to have a buffer, such that vehicles could instead enter or exit that lane anywhere along its length. Yet, real freeway traffic studied in spatiotemporal fashion shows that access points are prone to become bottlenecks. The problem occurs when traffic in the regular lanes becomes dense, as commonly happens during a rush. Drivers then seek refuge in the special lane in greater numbers. Since the vehicular maneuvers through the access point are focused within a limited physical space, they can become disruptive and further degrade traffic. Degradation can occur both in the special lane and in the adjacent regular ones. The damage can be worse than what occurs when barrier are not used to limit special-lane ingress and egress. Policy implications are discussed.

Cover page of California’s Freeway Service Patrol Program: Management Information System Annual Report Fiscal Year 2011-12

California’s Freeway Service Patrol Program: Management Information System Annual Report Fiscal Year 2011-12

(2013)

The Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) is an incident management program implemented by Caltrans, the California Highway Patrol and local partner agencies to quickly detect and assist disabled vehicles and reduce non-recurring congestion along the freeway during peak commute hours.  The first FSP program was piloted in Los Angeles, and was later expanded to other regions by state legislation in 1991.  As of June 2012, there were fourteen participating FSP Programs operating in California, deploying over 350 tow trucks and covering over 1,750 (center-line) miles of congested California freeways.

 

The purpose of this research project was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Caltrans FSP program in reducing incident durations and removal of other obstructions that directly contribute to freeway congestion for Caltrans fiscal year 2011-2012.  The project provides valuable information to agencies managing the FSP program so that resources are distributed within the various statewide FSP operations in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible.  The tools used and the operational performance measures provided by this research effort will significantly contribute on the ongoing agencies’ efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the FSP program.

Cover page of California’s Freeway Service Patrol Program: Management Information System Annual Report Fiscal Year 2012-13

California’s Freeway Service Patrol Program: Management Information System Annual Report Fiscal Year 2012-13

(2013)

The Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) is an incident management program implemented by Caltrans, the California Highway Patrol and local partner agencies to quickly detect and assist disabled vehicles and reduce non-recurring congestion along the freeway during peak commute hours.  The first FSP program was piloted in Los Angeles, and was later expanded to other regions by state legislation in 1991.  As of June 2013, there were fourteen participating FSP Programs operating in California, deploying over 360 tow trucks and covering over 1,800 (center-line) miles of congested California freeways.

 

The purpose of this research project was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Caltrans FSP program in reducing incident durations and removal of other obstructions that directly contribute to freeway congestion for Caltrans fiscal year 2012-2013.  The project provides valuable information to agencies managing the FSP program so that resources are distributed within the various statewide FSP operations in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible.  The tools used and the operational performance measures provided by this research effort will significantly contribute on the ongoing agencies’ efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the FSP program.