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4.0 Geometric and Safety Design

The design of a toll plaza is primarily performed based on quantifiable factors: travel demand, traffic mix, type of toll system (i.e.. barrier or closed ticket), methods of toll collection that account for plaza configurations suited for initial and future toll rates (e.g., high rates preclude automatic (ACM) lanes), existing water, power and communication infrastructure, right-of-way availability at proposed plaza location, potential sources of radio frequency (RF) interference, and roadway, bridge or tunnel mainline approach and departure geometrics. Additionally, some important toll plaza planning issues include: initial and ultimate right-of-way needs, environmental mitigation issues including wetlands, historic preservation, air, noise and light pollution, arrangements for on-site violation enforcement patrols, staffing needs, provisions for staff safety, cash handling security options, budget, and accessibility (i.e., Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provisions). These factors are unique and vary considerably across all toll plazas. Some of these factors are identified in Chapter 2.

While the primary objective of this report is to addresses traffic control strategies and applications, it is recognized that roadway geometrics and safety design of toll plazas play a complementary role in the implementation of these strategies. As the MUTCD is the national standard for traffic control devices and measures, the AASHTO A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets, 5th edition, 2004 (i.e., Green Book) provides relevant standards for all NHS highways on geometrics and safety design and is used extensively for reference purposes in this section. Many toll agencies refer to either their own independently published manuals or the respective state DOT’s roadway and bridge design manual for guidance.

Recognizing that many factors greatly influence the toll plaza design, the following sections address specific design issues, identifying the state-of-the-practice and offering recommended guidelines wherever appropriate.

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