# Design of Turn Lane Guidelines

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1 Design of Turn Lane Guidelines CTS Transportation Research Conference May 24, 2012 Howard Preston, PE Minnesota Department of Transportation Research Services Office of Policy Analysis, Research & Innovation July 2010 Final Report #

2 Agenda 1. Problem Statement 2. Basic Approach 3. Basic Objective 4. Factors that Affect Turn Lane Design 1. Volume 2. Speed 3. Grade & Heavy Commercial 4. Roadway Geometry 5. Analytical Process 1. Tapers 2. Deceleration 3. Storage 4. Adjustments 6. Checklist 7. Examples 8. Questions Agenda

3 Problem Statement MnDOT s Road Design Manual (S ) basic objective is to be long enough to account for both Storage and Deceleration. Turn Lanes may be longer or shorter based on Speed or Volume characteristics. Guidance has been in place for 35 years and has produced a high level of consistency but there are growing concerns about designers reliance on the 300 foot value. Is it always the best answer? Typical Length = 300 feet foot taper + adjustment for down grade 1

4 Basic Approach Analytical Encourage Designers t go away from the One Size Fits All Step 1 Collect Data Demand Factors - Speed - Forecast Volumes - Seasonal Variations - Grade - Heavy Commercial % Design Factors - Distance to Adjacent s - Roadway Geometry (Horizontal Curve) Step 2 Determine Facility Type - Facility type in Figure B-1 - control Step 3 Calculate Turn Lane Demand - Calculate deceleration based on Tables B-1 & B-2 - Calculate storage needs based on Tables B-3 to B-6 - Suggested signal cycle lengths on Table B-7 Step 4 Calculate Turn Lane Design - Determine taper length based on Table B-8 - Calculate turn lane design (turn lane demand length from Step 3 minus taper) - Determine appropriate adjustments based on list. Step 5 Document Turn Lane Length - Depending on constraints of the area, characteristics of the intersection and their applicability to the stated assumptions, and engineering judgment, determine final length of turn lane. 2

5 Factors that Affect Turn Lane Length Expressways Rural Conventional Roadways All Mn/DOT Facilities Expressways Urban Conventional Roadways The primary factors affecting the suggested length of turn lanes along Mn/DOT facilities include: Location: Rural vs. Urban Facility Type: Expressway vs. Conventional Type: Uncontrolled or Signalized Speed: 30 mph to 65 mph Traffic Volumes Unsignalized Signalized Unsignalized Signalized Figure A-1 Mn/DOT Facilities Unsignalized Signalized Unsignalized Signalized Other Factors Include: Grade Vehicle Mix: passenger vehicles or heavy commercial Proximity to Horizontal Curves Single vs. Dual Turn Lane operation Consistency Along Corridor 3

6 Basic Objective Demand Design Example of Turn Lane Design Deceleration + Storage = Functional Turn Lane Length Taper + Full Width = Geometric Turn Lane + Adjustments Turn Lane Length The basic objective of a turn lane is to reasonably accommodate deceleration plus storage. The design process involves first computing the expected DEMAND, which is based on vehicle speeds and volume and is considered to be the FUNCTIONAL TURN LANE LENGTH. The next step in the design process involves determining the DESIGN side of the equation, how to distribute the available space in the corridor between the taper and the full width portion of the turn lane. The DESIGN is considered to be the GEOMETRIC TURN LANE LENGTH. Adjustments may need to be applied to the design components of the turn lane length determination. Source: AASHTO Green Book Geometric Design of Highways and Streets,

7 Forecast Traffic Volumes Source: CH2M HILL Seasonal Peak Yearly Average Example of Different Forecast Methods Source: Mn/DOT State Aid, 20-Year Traffic Projection Factors If the segment of highway is subject to large seasonal variations (recreational routes, primary farm to market routes, etc.), the designer should make a decision is the turn lane going to be designed to accommodate the seasonal peak or the yearly average? Forecast Traffic Volumes (both turning and mainline volumes) should be calculated by one of the following methods (in order of preference): 1. Design Year Volumes (provided by District/ Central Office Planning Staff) 2. Historic Volumes extrapolated to estimate 20 Year forecast volumes Year Multiplier as documented by State Aid and found at the following website under County Reference Data: stateaid/sa_csah.html In no case should existing volumes be used in computing the estimated future demand. Example of Seasonal Variation 5

8 Vehicle Speed Example of Design Speed from Standard Plans Understanding vehicle speeds along a segment of highway is a key factor affecting the recommended deceleration component of the ultimate turn lane length. There are a variety of measures of related vehicle speed. For determining turn lane lengths, the suggested order of preference is: 1. Design Speed of the facility th percentile Speed of facility 3. Statewide Average 85 th percentile for Facility Type (see Figure B-1) In no case should the posted speed limit be used in determining the estimated deceleration length. Figure B-1 - Statewide Average Speed Trends Example of Spot Speed ed (85 th Percentile) Study 6

9 Grade and Heavy Commercial Heavy Commercial Size Example Example of on Grade Grade at what is the roadway grade at the intersection? Downhill grades in excess of 3% increase deceleration distances by 20% to as much as 35%. Uphill grades in excess of 3% shorten deceleration distances by 10% to 20%. Heavy Commercial - what is the fraction of heavy commercial in the traffic stream? Determining a storage length requires an understanding of the composition of the traffic stream. The distance required to store a platoon of passenger cars (at 20 feet/ vehicle) is much less than for commercial vehicles single unit trucks (30 feet), buses (up to 45 feet) and interstate semi trailers (75 feet). Source: AASHTO Green Book, WB-19 [WB-62] Design Vehicle 7

10 Roadway Geometry & Adjacent s Influence Areas Example of Turn Lane on Horizontal Curve Roadway Geometry Is the intersection located near or in a horizontal curve? The use of 15:1 tapers to transition into turn lanes has been observed to result in erratic maneuvers on the part of some drivers when the beginning of the turn lanes is located near or on the outside of a horizontal curve. The 15:1 taper can look very much like the tangent extended and the entrance to the turn lane is, therefore, not well define. In this case, the designer is encouraged to use a sharper taper to better identify the entrance to the turn lane. Distance to Adjacent s How constrained are the conditions in terms of distances to adjacent intersections and driveways? The distance to adjacent intersections can have a significant effect on the recommended turn lane length. s have influence areas both upstream and down and basic access management principles suggest that to optimize safety these influence areas should not overlap. In addition, an effort should be made to avoid the placement of private driveways anywhere along the length of either the full width turn lane or taper. 8

11 Control Source: CH2M HILL Figure B-3 - Estimated Probability of Meeting the Volume Warrant for Traffic Signal Installation Assigning a type of intersection control (Thru/STOP, All-Way STOP or Traffic Signal) has a significant effect on the determination of turn lane lengths. Controlled intersections which require vehicles to stop, increase storage lengths while vehicles wait for their turn to enter the intersection. It is important to remember that turn lanes are designed for a point in time 20 years in the future. As a result, it is NOT sufficient to document the existing intersection control. An effort should be made to estimate the type of control that would likely be in place in the design year. Discussion with District Traffic Engineering staff can provide insight. In addition, plotting the forecast traffic volumes on the adjacent graph results in an estimate of the probability of the combination of major and minor road forecast volumes exceeding the warrants for signalization in the Minnesota Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MNMUTCD). 9

12 Analytical Process - Deceleration Table B-1 Deceleration Distances for Lower Speed Urban Conventional Roadways Design Speed (mph) (No Deceleration in Through Lane) Stop Condition (feet) To 15 mph (feet) (10 mph Deceleration in Through Lane) Stop Condition (feet) To 15 mph (feet) Table B-2 Deceleration Distances for High Speed Urban & Rural Roadways Design Speed (mph) (No Deceleration in Through Lane) Stop Condition (feet) To 15 mph (feet) (10 mph Deceleration in Through Lane) Stop Condition (feet) To 15 mph (feet) The deceleration component of the turn lane length is a function of the design speed of the facility and the amount of deceleration that is allowed in the through lanes. Deceleration lengths are provided for both a stop condition that would apply to left turn lanes and to 15 mph that would apply to right turn lanes. Table B-1 Urban Conventional Roadway assumes 10 mph deceleration in through lane Table B-2 Urban/Rural Expressway Roadway assumes no deceleration in through lane Italicized values within the tables are interpolated. The 15 mph values were calculated by subtracting 35 feet from the stop condition column. Table Source: ITE Traffic Engineering Handbook (2009), Table 10-2, Page

13 Analytical Process Storage (Unsignalized ) Table B-3 Storage Length for Unsignalized s Left- Turning Volume 0 5% Heavy Commercial Storage Length (feet) >5 10% Heavy Commercial >10 15% Heavy Commercial The storage length computation for left turn lanes at unsignalized intersections is based on accommodating the average number of arrivals in the turn lane during a two-minute period. The two minute period represents the upper range of the typical delay incurred by a left turning vehicle waiting for opposing vehicles to clear the intersection. The recommended practice assumes a minimum storage length for 2 vehicles equals 50 feet. The storage length requirements for right turn lanes at unsignalized intersections is assumed to be zero since, in virtually all cases, these vehicles would have the right-of-way entering the intersection and would incur no delay. Storage Length = ((Turn Lane Peak Hour Volume / 60)*2) * ((% Passenger Vehicles * 25 feet) + (% HC * 75 feet)) Average number of cars in 2-minute arrival period Weighted average between passenger cars and heavy commercial 11

14 Analytical Process Storage (Signalized ) Method 1 Basic Equation Note: The following method for estimating the storage length requirements at signalized intersections should only be used when the output from computer models (Synchro, VISSM, etc.) are not available. The storage length requirements for both right and left turn lanes at signalized intersections are based on the premise that vehicles only need to be stored during the red portion of the signal cycle. As a result, the basic equation includes the following mathematical operations: Dividing the design hour approach volume by the number of signal cycles/hour. Multiplying the vehicles per signal cycle by the fraction of the cycle that is red for that movement. Multiplying by the average of 25 feet per vehicle and adjusting for the fraction of heavy commercial and the number of turning lanes. Multiplying the results by 2 to account for the random arrival of vehicles. DHV = Design Hourly Volume for turn lane 1-G/C = Identifies the fraction of the signal cycle that is red for a particular movement. Two key points the formula assumes that vehicles only need to be stored during the red portion of the signal phase and that ALL vehicles in that arrival on red clear the intersection on the following green phase. Storage Length (ft) = Adjustment to hourly volume to account for heavy commercial traffic. Average storage length for a passenger vehicle Randomness factor that converts the average storage length to a 95 th percentile storage length % Heavy Commercial (1-G/C)(DHV)( ) (25 x 2) (# cycles per hour)(# traffic lanes) 60 sec cycle length = 60 cycles per hour 90 sec cycle length = 40 cycles per hour 120 sec cycle length = 30 cycles per hour # of Turn lanes (single or dual turn lanes) 12

15 Analytical Process Storage (Signalized ) Method 2 Look Up Tables A second method for determining the storage length at a signalized intersection involves using Tables B-4, B-5 and B-6. The storage lengths in these tables are the output from the basic equation and represent the recommended left turn storage lengths in a single left turn lane for three common cycle lengths. The tables assume 5% heavy commercial and one turn lane. Storage Length Determination - Use of the tables require estimation of cycle length and the percent of left turn green time. Designers are encouraged to coordinate with District traffic signal operations staff for assistance. If signal operations staff are not available, Mn/DOT s Traffic Signal Timing and Coordination Manual, Section 3.7 Critical Lane Analysis, should be reviewed to estimate cycle length and percent of green time for left turn movements. See Page B-15 for the Sum of Critical Movement approach for determining cycle length and percent of left turn green time. Table B-4 60 Second Signal Cycle Length Table B-5 90 Second Signal Cycle Length Table B Second Signal Cycle Length Storage Length in Feet (60 second cycle) Storage Length in Feet (90 second cycle) Storage Length in Feet (120 second cycle) Percent Left-Turn Green Time Percent Left-Turn Green Time Percent Left-Turn Green Time 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% Left-Turning Volume Left-Turning Volume Left-Turning Volume 13

16 Analytical Process Storage (Signalized ) Sum of Critical Movements Estimating Cycle Lengths and Percent Left Turning Green Time The process of summing critical movements at a signalized intersection (basically the addition of the left turn and opposing through volume on the N/S and E/W legs of intersections) provides a reasonable estimate of signal cycle lengths and the percent of left turn green time. The estimated cycle lengths are obtained from Table B-7 and the percent of left turn green time is computed by dividing the left turn volume on any given approach by the total sum of the critical movements Table B-7 Suggested Signal Cycle Lengths The image cannot be displayed. Your computer may not have enough memory to open the image, or the image may have been corrupted. Restart your computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, you may have to delete the image and then insert it again. Sum of Critical Volume 2 Phase Signal 5 Phase Signal 8 Phase Signal Source: Mn/DOT Traffic Signal Timing and Coordination Manual

17 Taper Lengths Facility Type Taper Length Unconstrained Conventional/Expressway 1: feet Constrained Expressway Roadway 1:8 100 feet Constrained Conventional Roadway 1:5 60 feet Table B-8 Taper Lengths Example of Constrained Urban Environment The image cannot be displayed. Your computer may not have enough memory to open the image, or the image may have been corrupted. Restart your computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, you may have to delete the image and then insert it again. Tapers are the transition from the through lanes to the full width portion of the left or right turn lane. The basic taper length that should be used in most cases is 1:15 or 180 feet for a twelve foot wide turn lane. The two most common cases where consideration should be given to reducing the length of the taper include: Beginning turn lanes near or in horizontal curves. At many curves, the 1:15 taper does not provide enough of a visual cue to drivers and they may end up following the taper because it can appear to be the tangent extended. If a shorter taper is used it is the recommended practice to add the difference to the full width portion so that the overall turn lane length remains sufficient to accommodate both deceleration and storage. In constrained urban environments where the distance between adjacent intersections is insufficient to provide both the recommended taper and full width storage distances. In these constrained conditions, the recommended practice is to provide as much of the full width storage as possible and to sacrifice taper lengths to the extent necessary to make the design fit the available space. However, in all cases the length of the full width turn lane should exceed the taper length. 15

19 Checklist 17

20 Examples Part C - Examples All Mn/DOT Facilities Examples are provided for each of the eight Mn/DOT facility type situations Expressways Unsignalized Signalized Rural #1 #2 Conventional Roadways Unsignalized Signalized #3 #4 Expressways Unsignalized Signalized Urban #5 #6 Conventional Roadways Unsignalized Signalized #7 #8 Table C-1 Turn Lane Calculation Examples Roadway Location Rural Urban Roadway Expressway Type Conventional Unsignalized Type Signalized Grade Heavy Commercial Adjustments Horizontal Curve Dual Left Location Constraints Corridor Consistency Different adjustments are used in each example Example 1 x x x x x Example 2 x x x x Example 3 x x x x x Example 4 x x x x Example 5 x x x x Example 6 x x x X Example 7 x x x X X Example 8 x x x x x x 18

21 Example 1 Rural Expressway Unsignalized Road curves to the right, the left turn lane would be considered on the outside of the curve so an adjustment is necessary. 750 (full width from Step 4) 82 (total adjustments) = 668 The recommended design of this turn lane would be 100 feet taper and 670 feet (rounding to the nearest 10 foot) of full width turn lane. 4% upgrade, so the deceleration length determined in Step 3 (820 ) is shortened by 82 feet based on 10% reduction (90% of the length) shown in Table B-9 19

22 Example 2 Urban Expressway Signalized Use the Storage Length equation for the 180 second cycle length. Storage Length = (1 G/C) (DHV) (25) (2) / (cycles/hr) = (1 20/180) ( 200) (25) (2) / 20 = 445 feet 1015 (full width from Step 4) + 17 (total adjustments) = 1,032 The recommended design of this turn lane would be 180 feet taper and 1,040 feet (rounding to the nearest 10 foot) of full width turn lane. Check for blockage by queues in the through lane the through lane queue is 1,212 feet, more than the full width plus taper turn lane length. Consideration should be given to extending the left turn lane 17 feet to have the taper start at the end of the through lane queue. Queue Through = (1 G/C) (DHV) (25) (2) / (cycles/hr) = (1 50/180) (970) (25) (2) / 20 = 1,212 feet 20

23 Questions? Find full Design of Turn Lane Guidelines at: 21

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