Evaluation of Adaptive Ramp Metering on I80 in The San Francisco Bay Area

Project ID: CTEDD 017-01

Author(s): Anurag Pande, California Polytechnic State University

CTEDD Funding Year: 2017 General RFP

Project Status: Complete

UTC Funding: $45,000

End Date: December 31, 2018

I-80 is the first corridor in the Bay area to have Adaptive Ramp Metering capability. This CTEDD (Center for Transportation Equity Decisions and Dollars) supported research analyzes highway performance data from I-80 corridor along with user perception of the new capabilities to provide lessons to ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) planners, engineering practitioners, and policy-makers on future implementation of Adaptive ramp metering (ARM) in the Bay area.

This research conducted collaboratively by engineering and planning faculty members at Cal Poly would examine comprehensive set of impacts of the ARM on mainline I-80 traffic as well as on parallel arterial streets, if any. PeMS and INRIX data would be utilized to assess operational impacts of ARM. At the same time, public perception of the ITS project would be measured through a comprehensive survey that looks at people’s perception of Ramp metering.

The assessment of public perception is critical since equity issues have been at the forefront of real and perceived public opposition to ramp metering. In addition to CTEDD, the project is supported by MTC (Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s) in the Bay area. The stakeholders for the projects include Caltrans and other Bay area MPOs (Metropolitan Planning Organizations) who may be interested in future implementation of ARM on freeways corridors in their jurisdictions. Adaptive ramp metering (ARM) controls the number of cars getting on the freeway based on data from sensors throughout the corridor.

This project examined the recent Arm implementation on I-80 in the Bay area as part of the Smart Corridor project using a user opinion survey. The I-80 study section is about 19 miles long and extends between the Carquinez Bridge at Crockett at its east end and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge at its west end. The survey found that the general users of the I-80 corridors are not appreciative of the impact made by the project.