Methods to Encourage Slow-moving Trucks to Travel in Designated Lanes

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Date

2024-03-20

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National Surface Transportation Safety Center for Excellence

Abstract

As the volume of traffic on highways increases, particularly heavy truck traffic, states throughout the United States are exploring innovative methods to enhance driver comfort, operational efficiency, and road safety. Instead of expanding roadways physically, more organizations are adopting a managed-lanes strategy. This approach assigns specific lanes with unique operational conditions to boost overall roadway performance in efficiency and safety. One popular application of this concept is lane restrictions for trucks. While drivers of smaller vehicles generally welcome these restrictions, research has shown mixed outcomes regarding safety and efficiency improvements. This project aimed to investigate new methods to improve the lane compliance of heavy vehicles, especially slow-moving trucks, on highways. Additionally, existing strategies for enforcement were explored, and new avenues were discussed for improving current restrictions. Six interviews with state Department of Transportation representatives, academic researchers, law enforcement officers, and truck drivers focused on three key areas: policy and enforcement, technological interventions, and effectiveness of interventions. In addition to the interviews, the Virginia 511 real-time traffic information system camera was observed to explore lane compliance violations in Virginia and the number of vehicles impeded due to the violations. Based on the results, 10 recommendations were identified to improve the operations and safety surrounding trucks, especially slow-moving trucks, on the highways.

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Keywords

transportation, traffic safety, lane restrictions, commercial motor vehicles (CMVs)

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