Michigan DOT (MDOT) transportation planners used simulation modeling to develop and implement work zone mobility mitigation plans for I-75 during the Ambassador Bridge Gateway Project in Detroit. As one of the busiest commercial bridges in the world, access to the bridge had to be maintained throughout the project which was expected to last for 18 months (winter of 2008 to the fall 2009).
As part of the project, the I-75/I-96 interchange located near the bridge had to be closed for a period of 90 days. Using a large network microsimulation model (SEMSIM) planners examined a variety of alternatives for road closure strategies and were able to agree on a plan to reduce impacts on travelers. Researchers found that the model did a good job of estimating actual traffic conditions. Benefits were calculated for different strategies based on monetary values assigned to delay savings for motorists and commercial vehicles.
The simulation model enabled engineers to estimate the impacts of changing traffic patterns, coordinate work zone activities, and implement efficient work zone management plans. Improved traffic management saved freeway users approximately $1.63 million per day during morning and afternoon peak periods. The authors noted that the calculated benefits were relatively conservative considering the assigned value for delay was set at $16 per hour.
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