A Case Study of Experimental Passing Zones on Route 8 in Patrick County

Report No: 82-R51

Published in 1982

About the report:

This study examined the operational characteristics of the four-mile section of Route 8 between Routes 57 and 58. It was noted that these characteristics were significantly improved after provision of the experimental passing zones. Average and 85th percentile speeds both increased significantly, indicating an improved traffic flow and level of service. The numbers of queues and sizes of queues both decreased, indicating that delay time was reduced, while the speed at which the queue travelled increased, again indicating improved operational characteristics. Also, although motorists' opinions were not obtained after installation of the passing zones, it is assumed that since the public was in favor of such an action, the public opinion was satisfied and the numbers of illegal passing maneuvers reduced. The improvements in mean speeds, queues, travel time, and overall traffic flow do not appear to have been achieved at the expense of traffic safety although the few accidents that occurred in the test section during the after period were, as could be expected, somewhat more severe than those in the before period.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • Nicholas J. Garber, Ph.D., Cheryl W. Lynn

Last updated: January 21, 2024

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