Date of Award

Fall 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Srinivas Peeta

Committee Member 1

Kumares C. Sinha

Committee Member 2

Jon D. Fricker


The limited funding available for roadway capacity expansion and the growing funding gap, in conjunction with the increasing congestion, creates a critical need for innovative lane use management options. Various cost-effective lane use management strategies have been implemented in the United States and worldwide to address these challenges. However, these strategies have their own costs, operational characteristics, and additional requirements for field deployment. Hence, there is a need for systematic methodologies to evaluate lane use management strategies.

In this thesis, a systematic simulation-based methodology is proposed to evaluate lane use management strategies. It involves identifying traffic corridors that are suitable for lane use management strategies, and analyzing the strategies in terms of performance and financial feasibility. The state of Indiana is used as a case study for this purpose, and a set of traffic corridors is identified. From among them, a 10-mile stretch of the I-65 corridor south of downtown Indianapolis is selected as the study corridor using traffic analysis. The demand volumes for the study area are determined using subarea analysis. The performance of the traffic corridor is evaluated using a microsimulation-based analysis for alleviating congestion using three strategies: reversible lanes, high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes and ramp metering. Furthermore, an economic evaluation of these strategies is performed to determine the financial feasibility of their implementation.

Results from the simulation based analysis indicate that the reversible lanes and ramp metering strategies improve traffic conditions on the freeway in the major flow direction. Implementation of the HOV lane strategy results in improved traffic flow conditions on the HOV lanes but aggravated congestion on the general purpose lanes. The HOV lane strategy is found to be economically infeasible due to low HOV volume on these lanes. The reversible lane and ramp metering strategies are found to be economically feasible with positive net present values (NPV), with the NPV for the reversible lane strategy being the highest.

While reversible lanes, HOV lanes and ramp metering strategies are effective in mitigating congestion by optimizing lane usage, they do not generate additional revenue required to reduce the funding deficit. Inadequate funds and worsening congestion have prompted federal, state and local planning agencies to explore and implement various congestion pricing strategies. In this context, the high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes strategy is explored here. Equity concerns associated with pricing schemes in transportation systems have garnered increased attention in the recent past. Income inequity potentially exists under the HOT strategy whereby higher-income travelers may reap the benefits of HOT lane facilities.

An income-based multi-toll pricing approach is proposed for a single HOT lane facility in a network to simultaneously maximize the toll revenue and address the income equity concern, while ensuring a minimum level-of-service on the HOT lanes and that the toll prices do not exceed thresholds specified by a regulatory entity. The problem is modeled as a bi-level optimization formulation. The upper level model seeks to maximize revenue for the tolling authority subject to pre-specified upper bounds on toll prices. The lower level model solves for the stochastic user equilibrium solution based on commuters' objective of minimizing their generalized travel costs. Due to the computational intractability of the bi-level formulation, an approximate agent-based solution approach is used to determine the toll prices by considering the tolling authority and commuters as agents. Results from numerical experiments indicate that a multi-toll pricing scheme is more equitable and can yield higher revenues compared to a single toll price scheme across all travelers.