Ramp meters on trial: Evidence from the Twin Cities metering holiday

David Levinson, Lei Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Ramp meters in the Twin Cities have been the subject of a recent test of their effectiveness, involving turning them off for eight weeks. This paper analyzes the results with and without ramp metering for several representative freeways during the afternoon peak period. Seven performance measures: mobility, equity, productivity, consumers' surplus, accessibility, travel time variation and travel demand responses are compared. It is found that ramp meters are particularly helpful for long trips relative to short trips. Ramp metering, while generally beneficial to freeway segments, may not improve trip travel times (including ramp delays). The reduction in travel time variation comprises another benefit from ramp meters. Non-work trips and work trips respond differently to ramp meters. The results are mixed, suggesting a more refined ramp control algorithm, which explicitly considers ramp delay, is in order.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)810-828
Number of pages19
JournalTransportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was part of the project Measuring the Equity and Efficiency of Ramp Meters funded by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The authors would like to thank the Center for Transportation Studies and International Road Federation for providing additional support. The authors want to thank James Aswegan, John Bieniek, John Hourdakis, Rich Lau, ,and Frank Lilja for their assistance. The opinions and errors remain those of the authors.


  • Accessibility
  • Consumers' surplus
  • Equity
  • Evaluation
  • Mobility
  • Productivity
  • Ramp meters
  • Travel demand
  • Travel time variation

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