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1.0 Introduction

1.4 Methodology

The following sections describe the work tasks for this Project:

1.4.1 Literature Review

The project team researched, collected and compiled available literature related to toll plaza design, safety and operations and used this information to validate design elements and practices having a high frequency of use by agencies and state DOTs. Concurrent with the literature review, existing plaza design standards and guidelines were obtained through contacts with representatives of a cross section of toll agencies based on selected ranges of daily transactions.

A summary of these findings are included in Appendix C.

1.4.2 Agency State-of-the-Practice Surveys

An extensive Web-based survey requesting predominately simple responses to questions on multiple categories of toll plaza design elements and practices was prepared using JAVA scripts. Toll agencies identified through the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) member roster and the Project team’s contacts were notified by email of the need for their cooperation in completing the survey to establish a coherent state-of-the-practice for traffic control strategies at toll plazas. The Web site address, along with user access instructions, were included in the notification email. The purpose and focus of the Project survey was publicized in IBTTA newsletters in the hope of improving agency participation in the survey.

In the interest of reducing the time required for toll agencies and departments to complete the survey, a multiple choice format was used for the design, safety and operational performance-related questions intended to solicit information on design elements and practices deployed on the responder’s toll facility. The results of the survey were compiled to assess current practices, and the variation that exists in the toll industry.

A survey result summary is included in Appendix A.

1.4.3 Expert Panel Workshop

An expert panel was organized and assembled for a workshop on August 17th and 18th, 2004 in Lisle, Illinois. The Expert Panel consisted of seven panel members, four Project Team members, and observers from FHWA and the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA). Panel members were selected to represent a wide range of toll facility, traffic engineering and toll technology experience.

A program agenda was prepared that disaggregated the Project study into four distinct categories for discussion purposes. The survey results and summaries of selected design elements were provided at the workshop. These materials, together with a brief program overview, were the basis for the Expert Panel workshop discussions. A presentation on toll plaza signing, hardware and equipment was used to illustrate the variety of usage and generate discussion.

Discussions and recommendations from the Expert Panel workshop are summarized in an Appendix B.

1.4.4 Developing Design Guidelines

Experts on the project team were tasked to develop design guidelines based upon the literature review, state-of-the-practice surveys and expert panel consensus building, starting with a workshop and concluding with incorporation or resolution of operating agency comments on a draft of this Report after completion of an internal review . Guidelines are presented in the subsequent chapters of this report along with the reasoning, methodology, and/or analysis used in the derivation of the guidelines. A draft report was distributed to all key operating agencies of toll plazas and other interested FHWA partner organizations. This Best Practice Report incorporates comments received from agencies, departments and partners.

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