Microsimulation of work zone delays and applications in pavement management

Robert Karlsson

Operation and maintenance activities on roads will to a varying extent affect the traffic flow.Reduced speed limits past the work zones will cause some delays but the main impacts will occur when the road´s capacity is reduced in case of lane closures. This increases the probability of queues which may contribute to significant delays for the road users. Delays result in costs for the society. Additionally, queues increase fuel consumption, pollutants, risk for accidents as well as wearing of vehicles and roads.

This paper examines the use of microsimulation as a method to estimate the road user delays and discusses implementation issues and applications. The work zone delays have been implemented in a life-cycle cost analysis (LCCA) model. An LCCA was performed for the selection of wearing course type.

The key finding of this study is that the high level of detail gives the opportunity to model different work zone types, road types and speed limits using one method. In comparison to other methods, most which are specifically developed for work zone analysis, microsimulation has previously been used in numerous traffic capacity studies. This gives a certain confidence, in conjunction with performed calibrations and validations, that the results are valid. The performed LCCA indicated that the road user delay costs contribute to a significant share of the total life-cycle cost. The delay costs did therefore affect the selection of wearing course with respect to the estimated life-cycle costs.

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