February 27, 2009

What Happens When the Freeway is Closed for Repairs? Early Results from Fix I5 Project


Dr. Michael Zhang, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UC Davis


:A section of I-5 from Richards Blvd. to the U.S. Highway 50/Capitol City Freeway Interchange in downtown Sacramento, also known as the “boat section”, was shut off from May 30 to July 28 last summer to replace pavement and improve drainage. The boat section is on a major commuting route in the area and carries about 190,000 vehicles on a typical weekday. It is also a major truck route in the central valley. The public were advised to take transit, telecommute, carpool, use alternative routes and alternative work schedules, and reduce the number of trips to the affected area to relive traffic congestion and reduce air pollution during the I-5 closures.

In this talk, I’ll present some initial findings of our fix-i5 study funded by the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA), through which various kinds of traffic, transit and travel behavior data were collected before, during and after the I-5 closures. I’ll show where and how we collected the data, and what the data reveal about changes in vehicular traffic flow patterns and transit ridership in the region.

Biographical Sketch

Michael Zhang is currently a professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at University of California Davis. He is also affiliated with the Institute of Transportation Studies, and a faculty member in the Graduate Program of Transportation Technology and Policy and the Graduate Program of Applied Mathematics at UC Davis. Dr. Zhang’s current research focuses on applications of systems theory to transportation systems analysis and operations. Specific topics include traffic flow modeling, adaptive ramp metering, estimation of Origin-Destination demands, work zone and corridor traffic management, congestion pricing, and intelligent transportation systems such as the application of wireless communications and grid computing technology to distributed, on-demand traffic management. Dr. Zhang received his BS degree in Civil Engineering from Tongji University (Shanghai, China), and his MS and PhD degrees in Engineering from University of California Irvine. Prior to his UC Davis appointment, he has taught at the University of Iowa from 1995 to 1998. Professor Zhang is an Area Editor of the Journal of Networks and Spatial Economics and Associate Editor of Transportation Research, Part B:Methodological.