Queuing and Natural Diversion at Short-Term Freeway Work Zone Lane Closures Academic Article uri icon


  • Research conducted to explore the effects of natural diversion on traffic conditions and travel patterns upstream of temporary work zone lane closures on high-volume urban freeways in Texas is described. Specific objectives were to explore how natural diversion affects traffic volumes at the exit and entrance ramps upstream of the lane closures and the interrelationships between the freeway and frontage road operating conditions that develop at a closure and the amount of natural diversion that occurs. The field studies showed that the rate of queue growth upstream of the short-term lane closures diminished significantly after the first hour at each site. Eventually, the queues approached a balanced state in which the upstream end of the queue became almost stationary. This stabilization was due to significant reductions in entrance ramp volumes both upstream of the freeway queue and within the limits of queuing, as well as to changes in exit ramp volumes within the queue. As a result of these ramp volume changes the constrained flow rate within the queue increased as a function of the distance upstream of the actual lane closure. Using the theory of shock waves in a traffic stream it was shown that the changes in ramp volumes and resulting impact on constrained freeway flow rates within the queue were consistent with the queue stabilization process observed at each site.

published proceedings

  • Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board

author list (cited authors)

  • Ullman, G.

publication date

  • January 1, 1996 11:11 AM