About the research
Although extensive research has been conducted on urban freeway capacity estimation methods, minimal research has been carried out for rural highway sections, especially sections within work zones. This study attempted to fill that void for rural highways in Kansas, by estimating capacity of rural highway work zones in Kansas. Six work zone locations were selected for data collection and further analysis. An average of six days worth of field data was collected, from mid-October 2013 to late November 2013, at each of these work zone sites. Two capacity estimation methods were utilized, including the Maximum Observed 15-minute Flow Rate Method and the Platooning Method divided into 15-minute intervals. The Maximum Observed 15-minute Flow Rate Method provided an average capacity of 1469 passenger cars per hour per lane (pcphpl) with a standard deviation of 141 pcphpl, while the Platooning Method provided a maximum average capacity of 1195 pcphpl and a standard deviation of 28 pcphpl. Based on observed data and analysis carried out in this study, the suggested maximum capacity can be considered as 1500 pcphpl when designing work zones for rural highways in Kansas. This proposed standard value of rural highway work zone capacity could be utilized by engineers and planners so that they can effectively mitigate congestion at or near work zones that would have otherwise occurred due to construction/maintenance.