Office of Operations
21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

An Agency Guide on Overcoming Unique Challenges to Localized Congestion Reduction Projects

Contact Information: Neil Spiller at
Traffic Bottlenecks Web Site

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FHWA's Bottleneck Reduction Initiative Program
Office of Operations

Federal Highway Administration
Office of Transportation Management (HOTM)
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

September 2011

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Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.
2. Government Accession No. 3. Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle
An Agency Guide on Overcoming Unique Challenges to Localized Congestion Reduction Projects
5. Report Date
September 2011
6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s)
Scott A. Cooner, Stephen E. Ranft (Texas Transportation Institute) and Carol Zimmerman (Battelle)
8. Performing Organization Report No.
9. Performing Organization Name and Address
505 King Avenue
Columbus, OH 43201
10. Work Unit No.
11. Contract or Grant No.
12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
13. Type of Report and Period Covered
Final Report
September 2010 – September 2011
14. Sponsoring Agency Code
15. Supplementary Notes
Neil Spiller (COTM), FHWA Office of Operations
16. Abstract

FHWA’s Localized Bottleneck Reduction Initiative (LBR) program focuses attention on mitigating the operational causes of recurring congestion “hot spots” (i.e., traffic bottlenecks) at ramps, merges, lane drops, intersections, weaves, etc. One of the efforts of the LBR program is to encourage agencies to adopt a defined, “named” annualized spot-congestion program in the same manner that they might have an annualized spot-safety program for high crash locations.

This document was developed to provide guidance to state and local transportation personnel on how to overcome barriers and challenges to implementation of localized congestion relief projects. It presents and describes examples of institutional, design, funding and safety challenges that agencies face when trying to develop unique solutions to localized congestion problems. The main questions that this guidance helps an agency address are:

  1. What are the most common barriers and challenges with addressing localized congestion problems?
  2. What are some case study examples that highlight how barriers and challenges were overcome?
  3. What are some of the key factors in successful implementation of localized bottleneck projects?

The document also presents nine detailed case studies of projects and programs that illustrate how to overcome common barriers and challenges. The case studies were chosen to highlight agencies that have implemented effective projects in a unique and praiseworthy fashion. The final section provides some high-level guidance and practical ideas on how to implement successful solutions to localized congestion problems based on experience and information gathered during this project.

17. Key Words
Bottleneck, chokepoint, recurring congestion, operations
18. Distribution Statement
No restrictions.
19. Security Classif.
(of this report)

20. Security Classif.
(of this page)

21. No. of Pages
22. Price

Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72) Reproduction of completed page authorized




September 2011

Office of Operations