Optimal work zone lengths for four-lane highways

Steven Chien, Paul Schonfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Highway pavement maintenance is very expensive not only in terms of costs to the responsible agencies but also in terms of disruptive delays to users. Construction and maintenance activities on four-lane highways (with two lanes in each direction) often require the closure of one of the two travel lanes. Longer work zones tend to increase the user delay costs. Maintenance work can be performed more efficiently, i.e., with fewer repeated setups, in longer zones. A relatively simple mathematical model is developed to optimize work zone lengths on four-lane highways where one lane in one direction at a time is closed. The objective is to minimize the total cost, including the agency cost, the accident cost, and the user delay cost. The optimized variable (e.g., work zone lenght) and the sensitivity results generated from a numerical example are presented in this study. With user-specified input parameters, this model can be used to optimize work zones on four-lane highways for a wide variety of circumstances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-131
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Transportation Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation


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