Wednesday, December 16, 2009

VDOT Expands Use of I-66 Ramp Meters

How outrageous is this?:

"VDOT installed ramp meters as part of its traffic management system for 1985", yet for the next 24 years neglected to use this congestion management device at all except "eastbound in the morning and westbound in the evening."

At the public input meetings for VDOT's "Idea-66" Feasibility Study more than five years ago, citizens and agency staff repeatedly suggested that VDOT make better use of its existing ramp meters. Moreover, the March 2005 "Idea-66" Final Report recommended (on page 7-1) an "evaluation of existing ramp metering" as an "interim [spot] improvement".

Why did VDOT not expand its use of the existing ramp meters many years ago, and why is VDOT still not using the ramp meters beyond weekday "rush hours"?

Furthermore, to what extent could the effective use of entrance ramp meters reduce or eliminate traffic congestion along the I-66 mainline? In particular, could expanded and effective ramp metering eliminate all "need" for "Spot Improvement #1", by better modulating the traffic flow from the Fairfax Drive on-ramp?

Allen Muchnick, president
Arlington Coalition for Sensible Transportation
PO Box 5574, Arlington VA 22205-5574


alternatively: []

VDOT Traffic Alert

RELEASE: Immediate, December 2, 2009, NR09-89
CONTACT: Joan Morris
703-383-2465 (office)
571-238-5030 (cell)


CHANTILLY--Beginning December 7, the Virginia Department of Transportation will operate the I-66 ramp meters both east and westbound during rush hours. Ramp meters help ease congestion by regulating traffic flow onto the mainline through traffic signals located at the bottom of entrance ramps to the highway.

Until now, ramp meters have been used only eastbound in the morning and westbound in the evening on I-66 inside the Capital Beltway.

"Our goal is to smooth traffic flow for those motorists with reverse commutes," said Dick Steeg, VDOT's Operations Director for the Northern Region. "The ramp meters should help ease backups on the mainline."

VDOT installed ramp meters as part of its traffic management system for I-66 and I-395 in 1985.