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Traffic distribution and relief model based upon staggered working hours. Taggart, James Stewart

Abstract

North American cities are becoming increasingly difficult to live in and to work in largely because they are difficult to move around in. For many cities vehicle congestion has reached a saturation level for streets and highways thus creating the problem of traffic congestion. This problem is universally understood to be the urban transportation problem. The transportation problem is largely a result of the growing concentration of population and economic activities within a small central area of land. Growth of population combined with rising incomes and increasing car ownership rates are continually increasing passenger and freight movement. With the increase of motor vehicles and vehicle usage the street system has proven inadequate to meet the increased demands for movement placed upon it. This inadequacy is particularly evident in the central urban areas during two relatively short periods of the day. These periods of peak traffic demand are a function of the journey to work. They occur twice in the typical day, the first being in the morning, the second occurring in the late afternoon. At other times during the day and night the street system, under normal conditions, is capable of handling the traffic demand. Thus there appears a need to bridge the growing gap between the demand for and supply of street facilities at peak hours. The basic approaches to the problem of bringing the demand for and supply of street facilities to a state of equilibrium are: to provide additional lanes of new or improved facilities to meet the traffic demands; to design developing areas on the basis of transportation demands and supply being in a state of equilibrium or to re-assign traffic to existing street facilities in accordance with the capacity of these facilities. The last method can be accomplished by staggering working hours. The purpose of this thesis is to demonstrate the hypothesis: that by the staggering of working hours in the central business district, the peak congestion problem can be relieved. The study demonstrates the effect of staggering hours, in quantitative terms, on a particular transportation facility, the First Narrows Bridge, Vancouver, British Columbia. The technique of staggering hours, in this study, is used to limit the volume of traffic by modifying the demand upon the system. This is accomplished by breaking the total demand into smaller demand segments, by giving each segment a different deadline. This method can in effect equate the demand with the supply over a given period of time. By this method the number of vehicles arriving at the entrance to an area of restricted capacity can be equated to the supply or capacity. By applying this method to the case study it is possible to demonstrate the effects of staggering in eliminating peak period congestion delay time due to the limited capacity of a facility. Also determinable is the extent that traffic loads need be distributed over a period of time and how much time would be needed to effect economies in the level of service. To minimize the disruption of the staggering of working hours, the C.B.D. was divided into four control areas or zones based on dominant function. The starting times of the functional zones or control areas are arranged in a work starting order so as to minimize functional disruption. It is concluded from the illustration of the case study that some relief of congestion is possible through the staggering of working hours; and that this method is one contribution to improving the ability of the individual motorist to travel more economically and possibly at a more rapid rate.

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