Graduation Year

2006

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.C.E.

Degree Granting Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Major Professor

Ram Pendyala, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Larry Hagen, P.E., P.T.O.E.

Committee Member

Huaguo Zhou, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jian Lu, Ph.D.

Keywords

Road Rangers Program, Traffic Delays, Roadway Capacity, Incidents, FSPE Delay Model, Freeway Incident Management

Abstract

The Road Ranger program is a freeway service patrol (FSP) designed to assist disabled vehicles along congested freeway segments and relieve peak period non-recurring congestion through quick detection, verification and removal of freeway incidents in Florida. It consists of approximately 88 vehicles in fleet and provides free service to about 918 centerline miles. The program is funded by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and its partners, and is bid out to private contractors. The objective of this study is to examine and evaluate the benefits of the Road Ranger service against their operating costs in five of the seven FDOT Districts and Florida Turnpike Enterprise. The five Districts were chosen due to the availability of Road Ranger program data and activity logs for analysis.

The Road Ranger program provides direct benefits to the general public in terms of reduced delay, fuel consumption, air pollution and improved safety and security. The benefits would be expected to be more significant during the peak period when demand reaches or exceeds capacity than in the off-peak and the mid-day period where capacity may not be as significant an issue. The costs considered in this analysis include costs of administration, operation, maintenance, employee salaries, and overhead costs.

Incident data were obtained from the daily logs maintained by the Road Ranger service provider containing important information about the time, duration, location, and type of service provided. Other data collected for this study include average daily traffic volume, geometric characteristics of the freeways, unit cost of Road Ranger service, etc.

The Freeway Service Patrol Evaluation (FSPE) model developed by the University of California-Berkley was calibrated and used to estimate the benefit-cost ratio for the Road Ranger program. The estimated benefit/cost ratios based on delay and fuel savings indicate that the Road Ranger program produces significant benefits in all the five Districts and Turnpike. The range of benefit-cost ratio of the Road Ranger program in different districts is from 2.3:1 to 41.5:1. The benefit -cost ratio of the entire Road Ranger program is estimated to be in excess of 25:1.

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