Rider 42 recognized the role that traffic operations and travel option strategies will play in Texas’ future. The size of the congestion problem in the largest metropolitan areas is more significant than these actions will be able to address alone, but they do represent a part of the solution. These strategies were included in the 2030 Committee’s Transportation Action Program, a combination of business, commuter and agency actions that reduce peak-hour vehicle trips and efficiently use the existing roads.

Rapidly removing crashed vehicles, timing the traffic signals so that more vehicles see green lights, improving road and intersection designs, or adding a short section of roadway are relatively simple actions with big payoffs. The strategies summarized here and mentioned in each metropolitan area discussion can create congestion benefits if they are implemented on the congested roads and on many parallel and intersecting roads, lanes or transit routes.

Additionally, you may view each of the strategies in a single sortable table.

Traffic Management

Traffic management is an essential component of congestion mitigation. It can help improve the efficiency of the system by rapidly clearing collisions and stalled vehicles or improving signal coordination so drivers experience green lights as they move in the peak travel direction. While many of these are primarily agency actions, several of them will benefit from collaboration with businesses, commuters and neighborhoods.

Traffic Management Strategies

Strategy Executive Summary Technical Information
Aggressive Incident Clearance
Electronic Toll Collection Systems
Reversible Traffic Lanes
Signal Operation and Management
Special Event Traffic Management
Strategy Executive Summary Technical Information
Traffic Management Centers (TMC)
Traveler Information Systems
Truck Incentives and Use Restrictions
Truck Lane Restrictions

Travel Options

Travel options during peak periods of travel can reduce congestion at very low cost. Reducing single occupant vehicle trips by encouraging practices like ridesharing or vanpooling can reduce roadway congestion. Travel options are implemented by public agencies who determine a variable pricing system, or by individual employers who choose to participate in telecommuting and compressed work week scheduling.

Travel Option Strategies

Strategy Executive Summary Technical Information
Bicycle & Pedestrian Facilities
Cycle Tracks
Flexible Work Hours
Compressed Work Weeks
Real-Time Ridesharing
Land Use Planning
Strategy Executive Summary Technical Information
Transportation Management Associations (TMA)
Trip Reduction Ordinances
State Employee Trip Reduction
Parking Management
Pay-As-You-Drive Auto Insurance
Pay-To-Drive Off-Peak
Variable Pricing

Active Traffic Management

Though relatively new to the United States, active traffic management refers to several congestion mitigation strategies used together to change traffic patterns, alter operating conditions, and modify road capacity on a minute-to-minute basis using current and near-future conditions. The strategies modify the way that travelers and shippers use the road and can postpone the onset and size of stop-and-go traffic congestion.

Active Traffic Management Strategies

Strategy Executive Summary Technical Information
Active Traffic Management
Dynamic Merge Control
Dynamic Rerouting
Dynamic Truck Restrictions
Strategy Executive Summary Technical Information
Queue Warning
Ramp Flow Control
Temporary Shoulder Use
Variable Speed Limits

System Modification

There are several approaches to using the road space more efficiently to reduce congestion and improve safety. Some of these ideas involve re-working the existing space by providing turn lanes or medians that channel traffic; some involve new intersection designs that reduce the number of conflict points; and some are approaches that take advantage of public transit or freight moving capabilities.

System Modification Strategies

Strategy Executive Summary Technical Information
Access Management
Bottleneck Removal
Freight Rail Improvements
Multimodal Transportation
Ramp Configurations
Collector-Distributor Roads
Acceleration/Deceleration Lanes
Commercial Vehicle Accommodations
Diverging Diamond Interchanges
Intersection Improvements
Intersection Turn Lanes
Strategy Executive Summary Technical Information
Innovative Intersections
Continuous Flow Intersections
Median U-Turn Intersections
Quadrant Roadway Intersections
Loop Ramps to Reduce Left Turns
One-Way Streets
Express Bus Service
Park-and-Ride Lots

Additional Capacity

Adding capacity is the most frequently cited approach to congestion reduction. Additional capacity is achieved through adding traffic lanes, construction of new roadways, managed lanes, or improved designs.

Additional Capacity Strategies

Strategy Executive Summary Technical Information
Adding New Lanes or Roads
Adding New Toll Lanes or Toll Roads
Managed (HOV/HOT) Lanes
Strategy Executive Summary Technical Information
Freight Shuttle System
Grade Separation

These types of improvements are implemented by public agencies, private agencies, or a public-private partnership. Implementation of additional capacity, whether it be expanding the roadway or converting regular lanes into managed lanes, is difficult — it can be costly and time consuming.

Construction Improvements

There are well accepted methods for reducing the effect of construction projects. These include the use of design techniques that require less new construction, doing the construction in ways that reduce the time or the amount of road closures and accommodating construction techniques that also mean less maintenance over the many years of pavement life.

Construction Improvement Strategies

Strategy Executive Summary Technical Information
Construction Contracting Options
Reducing Construction and Maintenance Interference
Pavement Recycling
Strategy Executive Summary Technical Information
Shoulder Pavement Upgrade
Sustainable Pavements

Funding Strategies

Funding is a critical aspect of transportation improvements. Projects and roadway improvements will not become reality without a funding mechanism in place. Traditional funding mechanisms like motor fuel tax, general revenue funds, and bonds will fund many transportation improvement projects; however, other funding opportunities should be identified in an effort to maximize flexibility in financing improvements.

Funding strategies may be implemented by public agencies, private agencies, or public-private partnerships. There are a number of funding strategies that may be used like pass through financing, fuel tax increases; vehicle miles traveled fee, vehicle sales tax, increased vehicle registration fees, or tax increment financing.

Funding Strategies

Strategy Executive Summary Technical Information
Carbon Tax
Comprehensive Development Agreements (CDA)
Driver’s License Surcharge
Fuel Sales Tax
Fuel Tax Local Option
Fuel Tax Statewide
Indexed Fuel Tax
Pass Through Financing
Private Activity Bonds
Strategy Executive Summary Technical Information
Proposition Bonds
Public-Private Partnerships
State Sales Tax
Tax Increment Financing
Transporation Impact Fee
Vehicle Registration Fees Local Option
Vehicle Registration Fees Statewide
Vehicle Sales Tax
Vehicle Mileage Fee

Perhaps the best indicator of public support for transportation financing options is how well initiatives are received by the voting public. The State Transportation Funding Initiatives Report (Full Report | Executive Summary) summarizes the context on public support for federal transportation funding options and lists recent state initiatives both proposed and enacted to increase revenue directly for constructing new transportation infrastructure from 2008 to 2012.

Public Engagement

Public engagement is a crucial aspect of transportation planning, particularly when voter-approved funding mechanisms are considered to finance project costs. Public opinion of a proposed project can determine the success or failure of the project. Regardless of being required by law, studies agree that public outreach is a necessary component of successful project planning and can ultimately benefit the decision making process.

Public engagement strategies are implemented by the public agency or a private consulting firm hired to manage the process. The cost of these strategies ranges from minimal to high.

Public Engagement Strategies

Strategy Executive Summary
Citizens Advisory Committees
Electronic Updates
Fact Sheets
Opinion/Market Research
Strategy Executive Summary
Project Newsletters
Project Websites
Public Hearings and Meetings
Social Media
Virtual Public Meetings