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Provision of Dynamic Traveler Information for Managed Lanes Systems


Managed lanes have the potential to increases highway capacity and provide guaranteed levels of performance through the management of demand via pricing or use restrictions. Managed lanes come in a variety of structures, from conversion high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes to priced high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes, to the construction of grade-separated reversible toll lanes, to the addition of special purpose lanes (e.g., truck-only lanes), to the addition of new “freeway-within-a-freeway” toll lanes. Regions throughout the United States and in other countries are now planning interconnected managed lane networks, where each network consists of component corridors that may employ different operational rules for lane use eligibility, access restrictions, and dynamic pricing structures.

Highway facilities have traditionally relied on overhead and roadside signage to disseminate traveler information. However, drivers only have 6-7 seconds, at most, to read overhead signs and make informed decisions. Furthermore, managed lane operators must meet specific State DOT and MUTCD design requirements for placing signage information on each approach and segment of a managed lane network. The push to place too many signs on the roadway can lead to information clutter and driver confusion. Given that driver distraction is already a critical safety issue with the widespread adoption of smartphones, it may be unwise to use traditional signage approaches to disseminate spatially and temporally complex rules associated with managed lane networks. Signage simply cannot feasibly display all of the occupancy, pricing, and access rules for each approach of a complex managed lane systems and corridor interchanges. Advancements in connected vehicle technology and the deployment of in-vehicle information systems may provide an opportunity to disseminate managed lane network information more efficiently and better engage drivers in customized travel decision making.


The goal of this research project is to develop practical guidance for managed lane operators on how to better disseminate traveler information, today and into the future. Ideally, this research will lead to guidance that will limit the amount of information displayed on overhead and roadside signage, propose new sign specifications for MUTCD consideration, and identify the information that is best displayed on vehicle dashboards and other future in-vehicle information systems.


The proposed research will:

  • Perform a literature review of human factors and related research on dissemination to drivers of information about freeway operating conditions, managed lane rules, and congestion pricing, across various data formats, and assess the potential impacts on driver decision making (e.g., lane use and routing), roadway operations (e.g., weaving), corridor efficiency, driver distraction, and other safety issues

  • Identify the critical elements for driver decision making that need to be displayed on limited overhead signage, where alternative media platforms are assumed to host other information elements (e.g., through an open data portals and universal format).

  • Perform a state-of-the-practice review for signage and data dissemination via other technologies on managed lanes systems currently used to inform drivers.

  • Perform a future technology assessment for signage and data dissemination via other technologies on managed lanes systems that are likely to be used to deliver data to drivers and their vehicles (both inside and outside the vehicle), including planned integration of OEM technologies and mobile services (e.g., advising, mapping, routing, navigation, etc.)

  • Conduct a travel survey to better understand what information elements are most important from a driver’s perspective and assess.

  • Conduct a driver simulation study to assess the effectiveness of different pricing strategies, with a strong emphasis on readability and safety.
  • Integrate findings into a guidance document designed to support managed lane operations and identify within this document the elements that likely need to be considered in future MUTCD signage updates.
Sponsoring Committee:ACP35, Managed Lanes
RNS Developer:Nick Wood
Source Info:This research need was originally developed as part of a working group of members and friends of the TRB Managed Lanes Committee (AHB35). The working group consisted of these individuals: Randall Guensler, Robert Bain, Ross Chittenden, Elizach Dembinski, Casey Emoto, Chuck Fuhs, Darren Henderson, Md Sakoat Hossan, Thomas Jacobs, Dave Kristick, Jonathan Peters, Srikanth Panguluri, Myron Swisher, Patrick Vu, and Nick Wood.
Date Posted:09/20/2018
Date Modified:05/02/2019
Index Terms:Driver information systems, Advanced driver information systems, Managed lanes, Connected vehicles,
Cosponsoring Committees: 
Data and Information Technology
Operations and Traffic Management
Safety and Human Factors

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