Evaluation of the Use of a Road Diet Design: An Urban Corridor Case Study in Washington, DC
A traditional road diet design converts a four-lane two-way road to a three-lane road consisting of two through lanes and a center two-way left turn lane. This paper introduces a new application of the road diet design in an urban corridor. Specifically, the new application converts a four-lane two-way road into a two-lane two-way road with full-time parking lanes in both directions. The paper analyzed the traffic impacts of the road diet application on the corridor of New Jersey Avenue, northwest, in the city of Washington, District of Columbia. The corridor included five signalized and one unsignalized intersections. Before-and-after analyses using Synchro 11 simulation and Site-Specific Empirical Bayes analysis were used to evaluate and compare existing and proposed scenarios. The proposed scenario provided various benefits including offering accessibility to the businesses in the area and acting as a traffic calming strategy. For signalized intersections, the overall performance remained the same for most intersections except for one intersection (on P Street), as it is significantly impacted by the road diet design due to the dramatic increase of traffic volumes in its minor streets as a result of diverting traffic volumes from the unsignalized intersection for left and through movements. Results showed that the use of a road diet design enhanced the unsignalized intersection performance due to the traffic volume divergence from its minor streets and enhanced the safety of the study area by decreasing the annual number of predicted crashes. To achieve better operational benefits and reflect traffic demands, the paper recommends to re-optimize signal timings when a road diet design is adopted.