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Effect of Variable-Message Signs in Reducing Railroad Crossing Impacts
Abstract and Figures
At-grade highway-railroad crossings cause traffic control problems that have a bearing not only on traffic safety but also on traffic flow efficiency. Crossings located near freeway exits pose particularly acute problems, as long closures could result in vehicle queues that spill back onto freeway lanes. A potential solution to this problem is evaluated by investigating the use of variable message signs to divert exiting freeway traffic through non-congested alternate exits. This is done using the crossing near the Fredericksburg Rd. exit on I-10 in San Antonio, Texas, as a case study. In the evaluation, microscopic simulation is used to determine the impacts of train operations at the crossing and the potential benefits of a VMS system installed on I-10. These effects are gauged by considering scenarios with varying levels of train duration, traffic demand on the freeway exit, and driver compliance to the displayed messages. While little network improvements are obtained, the analysis demonstrates the capability of the INTEGRATION software in analyzing such scenarios and the extent to which exiting freeway traffic may benefit from the VMS system, as well as the need to consider fuel consumption and vehicles emissions in the evaluations.
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