This research quantified the benefits of sharing real-time traffic data and coordinating incident management activities as a combined effort between neighboring agencies in the National Capital Region. Implemented in 2009, the Metropolitan Area Transportation Operations Coordination (MATOC) program worked with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the Maryland Department of Transportation, the District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT), and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to better coordinate response activities and provide better traveler information to improve public safety, vehicle mobility, and environmental impacts.
Traffic models were developed and calibrated based on historical field data recorded during three regionally significant traffic incidents categorized as high severity, medium severity, and low severity in areas with coordinated incident management and traveler information (i.e., DMS messages) provided by MATOC. The data input into the model were then adjusted to estimate impacts on roadway capacity, vehicular queuing, travel delay, and costs (i.e., emissions, fuel consumption, value of time) with and without MATOC.
Impacts on emissions, fuel consumption, and travel time savings were estimated from changes in traffic queueing and delays applied to numbers of incidents and incident severity recorded in historical data. A benefit-to-cost ratio was then calculated by comparing annualized benefits to the annualized operating costs for the MATOC program.
The MATOC program was demonstrated to have a benefit-to-cost ratio of 10:1.
These findings were considered conservative as estimates for system benefits did not account for savings from fewer secondary queues, secondary incidents, delay reduction from rubbernecking in the opposite direction, and the benefits of aggregate impacts of multiple simultaneous incidents.
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