An innovative lane merging scheme in Delaware that was created using German-developed microsimulation software has won the 2018 Project of the Year award by the Mid-Atlantic Section of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (MASITE).
The ITE’s Mid-Atlantic section covers Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, Delaware and West Virginia. MASITE presented the award to the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) for the scheme that aimed to improve travel times and increase safety at the interchange between I-495 an I-95.
The US$1.5m project, which was completed this summer, extended the I-495 southbound travel lane 1,700ft (518m) beyond the merge point with I-95 southbound. The project is already showing positive results as average speeds have increased in the afternoon peak hours by almost 30mph (48km/h), from 36mph to 64mph (58-103km/h), eliminating weekday back-ups that were responsible for an estimated 20,000 hours of delay annually for motorists using I-495 southbound.
When comparing the last two weeks of August 2017 to the same period in August 2018, the average weekday afternoon vehicle travel time along southbound I-495 has been reduced by approximately 2.4 minutes.
The project was developed using DelDOT’s state-of-the-art traffic data collection systems and was based almost entirely on traffic analyses performed using a microsimulation model created by the Vissim microscopic multimodal traffic flow simulation software package developed by the German company PTV.
Vissim enables agencies and road operators to simulate traffic patterns with great precision, whether comparing junction geometries, analyzing public transport priority schemes or considering the effects of certain types of signaling.
The PTV software contains comprehensive analysis options, creating a powerful tool for the evaluation and planning of any type of urban and extra-urban transport infrastructure. DelDOT says the early results from the I-495/I-95 project show that the ‘real-world’ improvements being realized match the Vissim model’s predicted conditions almost exactly, easing the recurring congestion on I-495.
“DelDOT continues to integrate new technology to help us solve infrastructure problems small and large,” said Delaware’s secretary of transportation, Jennifer Cohan. “I am proud of the DelDOT team and our partners on this project, RK&K Engineering, and Mumford and Miller Concrete Inc., for the design and execution of this scheme that was completed in a relatively short time-frame, reducing traffic congestion for thousands of motorists each day.”