Ramp Metering: A Review of the Literature

Report No: 99-TAR5

Published in 1998

About the report:

Ramp metering is an effective, viable, and practical strategy used to manage freeway traffic. It is a proven freeway management technique as various forms of ramp control have been in place since the 1960s in the Chicago, Detroit, and Los Angeles areas. Due in part to the success of these early applications, ramp metering has received increased emphasis in recent years under the umbrella of advanced traffic management systems (ATMS), a component of intelligent transportation systems (ITS). ITS America reports that there are currently more than 40 ATMS deployed, under construction, or in the planning stage in the U.S. by state transportation agencies. The future of ramp metering is also in this ITS context. Integration and interface with local street system control and other advanced ITS traffic control systems such as advanced vehicle control systems, dynamic route guidance, and advanced traveler information systems are the latest in ramp metering applications. Ramp meters are in place and working effectively on segments of I-395 and I-66 in Northern Virginia. The Virginia Department of Transportation is very much interested in the feasibility of implementing ramp metering on other segments of freeways throughout the state. Accordingly, the purpose of this study was to review and synthesize the existing literature on ramp metering. Specific topics included in the review were: impacts of ramp metering, including its advantages/benefits and disadvantages/disbenefits, warrants, criteria, and guidelines for ramp metering, metering rates. Detailed information on these topics is included in the report as well as general conclusions regarding ramp metering.

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.


Other Authors

E. D. Arnold 

Last updated: December 12, 2023

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