Route Diversion, Ramp Metering, Real-Time Safety, Microsimulation, Crash Risk


Recent research at the University of Central Florida addressing crashes on Interstate-4 in Orlando, Florida has led to the creation of new statistical models capable of calculating the crash risk on the freeway (Abdel-Aty et al., 2004; 2005, Pande and Abdel-Aty, 2006). These models yield the rear-end and lane-change crash risk along the freeway in real-time by using static information at various locations along the freeway as well as real-time traffic data that is obtained from the roadway. Because these models use the real-time traffic data, they are capable of calculating the respective crash risk values as the traffic flow changes along the freeway. The purpose of this study is to examine the potential of two Intelligent Transportation System strategies for reducing the crash risk along the freeway by changing the traffic flow parameters. The two ITS measures that are examined in this research are route diversion and ramp metering. Route diversion serves to change the traffic flow by keeping some vehicles from entering the freeway at one location and diverting them to another location where they may be more efficiently inserted into the freeway traffic stream. Ramp metering alters the traffic flow by delaying vehicles at the freeway on-ramps and only allowing a certain number of vehicles to enter at a time. The two strategies were tested by simulating a 36.25 mile section of the Interstate-4 network in the PARAMICS micro-simulation software. Various implementations of route diversion and ramp metering were then tested to determine not only the effects of each strategy but also how to best apply them to an urban freeway. Route diversion was found to decrease the overall rear-end and lane-change crash risk along the network at free-flow conditions to low levels of congestion. On average, the two crash risk measures were found to be reduced between the location where vehicles were diverted and the location where they were reinserted back into the network. However, a crash migration phenomenon was observed at higher levels of congestion as the crash risk would be greatly increased at the location where vehicles were reinserted back onto the network. Ramp metering in the downtown area was found to be beneficial during heavy congestion. Both coordinated and uncoordinated metering algorithms showed the potential to significantly decrease the crash risk at a network wide level. When the network is loaded with 100 percent of the vehicles the uncoordinated strategy performed the best at reducing the rear-end and lane-change crash risk values. The coordinated strategy was found to perform the best from a safety and operational perspective at moderate levels of congestion. Ramp metering also showed the potential for crash migration so care must be taken when implementing this strategy to ensure that drivers at certain locations are not put at unnecessary risk. When ramp metering is applied to the entire freeway network both the rear-end and lane-change crash risk is decreased further. ALINEA is found to be the best network-wide strategy at the 100 percent loading case while a combination of Zone and ALINEA provides the best safety results at the 90 percent loading case. It should also be noted that both route diversion and ramp metering were found to increase the overall network travel time. However, the best route diversion and ramp metering strategies were selected to ensure that the operational capabilities of the network were not sacrificed in order to increase the safety along the freeway. This was done by setting the maximum allowable travel time increase at 5% for any of the ITS strategies considered.


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Graduation Date





Abdel-Aty, Mohamed


Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Degree Program

Civil Engineering








Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)