Effect of lane width on speeds of cars and heavy vehicles in work zones

Madhav V. Chitturi, Rahim F. Benekohal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Traffic data were collected from 11 work zones on Interstate highways in Illinois in which one of the two lanes was open. The reductions in free-flow speed (FFS) due to narrow lanes and lateral clearances in work zones were studied. It was found that the reductions in FFSs of vehicles in work zones because of narrow lanes were higher than the reductions given in the Highway Capacity Manual for basic freeway sections. The data also showed that the narrower the lane was, the greater the speed reduction was. The data showed that the FFSs of heavy vehicles were statistically lower than the FFSs of passenger cars, even though the speed limit was the same for both types of vehicles. In addition, the reduction in the FFSs of heavy vehicles was greater than the reduction in the FFSs of passenger cars. This greater reduction in the speed of heavy vehicles affected the performance of the traffic stream in work zones. Thus, it should be considered in the computation of the passenger car equivalence for heavy vehicles. It is recommended that 10, 7, 4.4, and 2.1 mph be used for speed reduction in work zones for lane widths of 10, 10.5, 11, and 11.5 ft, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-48
Number of pages8
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1920
StatePublished - 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of lane width on speeds of cars and heavy vehicles in work zones'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this