Tidal Flow Lanes in Combination with Congestion Pricing and Electronic Toll Collection: a Low Cost Strategy for Congestion Management and Safety

Tidal Flow Lanes in Combination with Congestion Pricing and Electronic Toll Collection: a Low Cost Strategy for Congestion Management and Safety


D Rathbone, DBR Associates, US



Recent advances in electronic toll collection and associated congestion pricing used in combination with tidal flow lanes makes it possible to provide a significant increase in motorway capacity during peak traffic periods at a relatively low cost to governmental organizations.
This paper and resulting presentation will firstly provide relevant information on the characteristics of existing tidal flow lanes and congestion pricing projects using electronic toll collection in the Unites States and elsewhere. Using this information, the benefits (both quantitative and qualitative) are identified when applying tidal flow lanes in the form of reversible motorway lanes in combination with congestion pricing and electronic toll collection. The paper will also provide detailed cost and revenue information resulting from existing congestion pricing projects on motorways. More specifically the following information will be provided for each project: a) capital and operational costs, b) toll revenue through congestion pricing, c) qualitative information on the advantages and disadvantages of each tidal flow and congestion pricing project.
The information is used to indicate how the combination of tidal flow lanes (including contraflow tidal lanes using movable barrier technology), congestion pricing, and electronic toll collection will perform on motorways. It is concluded that this combination of techniques provide one of the most cost-effective ways to add capacity and improve traffic flow on motorways and under certain circumstances it is found that there is no cost to the governmental organization implementing these techniques.
The paper also provides a description of a unique method of implementing low cost tidal flow lanes on motorways with minimum disruption to traffic flow. The paper also recognizes that the cost of these tidal flow lanes is a fraction of the cost to construct additional motorway lanes or additional bridge lanes.
Finally the paper will provide information on the safety benefits of using tidal flow lanes using positive protection between opposing flows of traffic as well as the safety benefits of congestion reduction achieve by the combined application of tidal flow lanes and congestion pricing.

The author of the paper is Dr. Daniel Rathbone, Ph.D., P.E. He has 35 years of experience in traffic and transport engineering and was project manager for the first tidal (contraflow) lane in the United States which was implemented in 1991 and is still operating successfully together with many other tidal (contraflow) lanes implemented subsequently. He is the principal author of more than 70 technical reports and papers. His honors include a Past President's Award of the Institute of Transportation Engineers and achievement of a Fulbright Scholarship.


Association for European Transport