An Investigation of Toll Plaza Capacity and Level of Service

Report No: 91-R8

Published in 1991

About the report:

This study was undertaken to accomplish two objectives pertinent to traffic characteristics at toll plaza areas: (1) to develop a methodology for evaluating the capacity of a toll plaza, and (2) to establish level-of-service criteria for toll area traffic. Traffic data at the four toll plazas of Virginia's Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike were collected using synchronized video cameras. The capacity of a toll booth was found to range from 600 to 750 passenger cars per hour, depending on the type of toll collection. It was concluded that average density can be used as a criterion for defining levels of service for toll plaza areas. Average densities of the toll plaza areas were also found to be highly correlated to v/c ratios. Simulation techniques were employed with animation, which gave the viewers visual perceptions directly in addition to analytic solutions. Examples of operational analysis and planning analysis were presented to demonstrate the application. As a result of this study, it was recommended that the density criterion be utilized for defining levels of service at toll plaza areas, and that it be incorporated into a future edition of the Highway Capacity Manual.

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.


  • Tzong-Shiou Hugh Woo, Lester A. Hoel, Ph.D.

Last updated: December 26, 2023

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