Daily recurrent and non-recurrent congestions on European motorways led to a substantial degradation of the expensive motorway infrastructure, reduced traffic safety and excessive environmental pollution. Ramp metering is the most direct and effective control measure towards an optimal, orderly and safe utilisation of the motorway infrastructure. Modern technology can provide new opportunities to reduce motorway congestion and the associated problems of safety and environmental impact. However, applications are hampered by the lack of an adequately detailed understanding of the problem and the causative mechanisms.
EURAMP's major objective is to advance, promote and harmonise ramp metering control measures in European motorways with the aim of improving safety and increasing efficiency of traffic flow.
More specifically, EURAMP aims at:
- the advancement of methodological issues;
- consolidation, harmonisation and advancement of ramp metering practice in Europe;
- demonstration of new developments in European sites and paving the way for a new generation of network-wide ramp metering installations;
- and co-operation of ramp metering with signal control. EURAMP is an EC funded project to understand and promote Ramp Metering across Europe.
Five representative sites across Europe were studied, including one in the UK which provided a model for the Highways Agency. Methodological development and the corresponding end products address critical issues related to both isolated ramp metering, and network approaches by the use of control methods, and integration with adjacent signal control. Further control measures are also of concern to EURAMP, and special attention was devoted to safety-critical issues and the related implications of ramp metering.
The project's objective is pursued through various sub-activities:
- advancement of methodological issues with particular focus on traffic flow safety;
- consolidation. harmonisation and advancement of ramp metering practices in Europe;
- demonstration of innovations at model locations to create the next generation of extended ramp metering installations;
- integration of ramp meters with signal controls for maximum synergy in traffic management efficiency and safety.
There were five test sites in EURAMP:
- the A6 Motorway, south of Paris (Ile-de-France);
- A28 Uithof, A2 Breukelen West and A2 Maarssen West, in Utrecht (Netherlands);
- A94 in Munich (Germany);
- M6 motorway, Birmingham (UK);
- Ayalon Highway, Tel Aviv (Israel).
The five test sites were located on motorways and surrounding networks of various characteristics and levels of telmatic infrastructure. In addition simulation testing was performed at two virtual sites in Paris and Munich.
Three main outcomes of the EURAMP project are:
- Proof that huge socio-economic benefits can be gained from the operation of local ramp metering;
- A warning that the delays for the cars held back on the ramps can outweigh the travel time gains for the vehicles on the mainstream motorway, if the metering is applied too harshly;
- Proof that coordinated metering is superior to local metering strategies and that substantial additional benefits can be gained from the coordination.