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Turnpike Info: 877-682-9433
 

PAM Alternatives Under Analysis

Over the past few years, traffic on the Portland-area section of the Maine Turnpike has been growing fast.  The Maine Turnpike Authority (MTA) is conducting a formal needs assessment study to determine how to address growing safety and capacity challenges on the Portland-area section of the Turnpike. A public advisory committee (PAC) has been formed to assist the MTA in identifying and evaluating solutions to the safety and capacity challenges. Below are the alternatives that have been analyzed and will be dicussed by the PAC. 



Alternatives Summary Matrix (Draft)

Alternatives-Evaluation_Summary-Matrix-6-11-2018.jpg

 

Detailed Description of Measures of Effectiveness 

Alternative 1: Future No Build

Overview

The Future No Build Alternative provides the baseline to which all other alternatives will be compared. Using the status quo as a baseline allows the Study Team to determine how the other proposed alternatives would affect mobility in the study area and particularly on the Maine Turnpike between Exits 44 and 53. In the Future No Build Alternative, as the name implies, no capacity improvements would be made, and no travel demand or transportation system strategies would be implemented, with all existing conditions remaining in their current state.

The factors analyzed in this alternative include:

  • The forecast year that Mainline Turnpike sections would be projected to fail (defined as level-of-service E/F);
  • The amount that estimated traffic volumes would exceed road capacity in the forecast year; and
  • Impacts to other Greater Portland roadways in the forecast year.

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Alternative 2: TDM Programs

Overview

Transportation Demand Management (TDM) programs provide tools to commuting travelers to reduce the demand for transportation, i.e., reduce the number of vehicles on the road. These tools include ride share programs, park and ride lots (which can support rideshare programs), and work from home opportunities, all of which either make it easier to rideshare or to stay off the road altogether. In this Alternative, these programs will be evaluated to determine the following:

  • Estimate the impacts on travel demand by enhancing or implementing new rideshare programs such as increased employer incentivization, expanding or constructing new park and ride facilities, increasing rideshare advertisement, and expanding ride share services.
  • Estimate how the current trend in working from home may impact travel demand and traffic volumes between now and the year 2040.

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Alternative 3: Congestion Pricing

Overview

Congestion pricing is an alternative where motorists are charged a premium to use a roadway during certain times of the day. The goal of congestion pricing is to encourage motorists to shift their travel away from peak travel times. In this alternative, congestion pricing will be evaluated to determine the following:

  • The parameters and implications of congestion pricing on the toll rate structure of the Maine Turnpike;
  • The impacts of congestion pricing on Turnpike traffic as well as on traffic on other roadways in the Portland area; and
  • Potential legal or legislative roadblocks to implementation.

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For more information, please read Congestion Pricing: Working Paper

Alternative 4: Intercity Bus

Overview

The primary interstate bus providers in the study area are Concord Coach Lines and Greyhound. Both Concord and Greyhound provide service to Boston and New York (to the south) and to Lewiston/Auburn (to the north). The Lewiston/Auburn bus service is identified in this alternative as an Interstate Bus because the bus providers operate interstate routes. In this alternative, the Concord and Greyhound bus systems will be evaluated to determine the potential effects of practicable system improvements including increased service and additional transit infrastructure on:

  • Overall interstate transit ridership; and
  • Change in vehicular demand on the Maine Turnpike in the Portland Area.

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Alternative 5a: Regional Bus

Overview

This alternative assesses the potential for new or improved regional bus services to reduce demands on the Maine Turnpike between Exits 44 and 53. Regional providers included in this alternative are the ZOOM Bus (Biddeford - Portland) and the METRO Breez (Portland - Brunswick). In this alternative, these bus systems were evaluated to determine the effects of:

  • Increases in regional bus system ridership with practicable system improvements including more frequent service (reduced bus headways), and implementation of a bus rapid transit type system (reduced bus travel times) along key corridors; and
  • Change in vehicular demand on the Maine Turnpike in the Portland Area.


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Alternative 5b: Local Bus

Overview

This alternative assesses the potential for new or improved local bus services to reduce demands on the Maine Turnpike between Exits 44 and 53. Local bus providers included in this alternative are Greater Portland METRO and City of South Portland Bus Service. In this alternative, these bus systems were evaluated to determine the effects of:

  • Increases in local bus system ridership with practicable system improvements including more frequent service (reduced bus headways), and implementation of a bus rapid transit type system (reduced bus travel times) along key corridors; and
  • Change in vehicular demand on the Maine Turnpike in the Portland Area.

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Alternative 5c: Regional I-95 Bus

Overview

This alternative assesses the potential for new regional bus service along I-95 to reduce demands on the Maine Turnpike between Exits 44 and 53.  The potential new regional bus service would consist of two separate routes, the southerly of which would run from Biddeford/Saco to the I-95 Portland area exits 45-48, and the northerly that would run between Gray/West Falmouth to the I-95 Portland area exits 48-45.
In this alternative, the bus system was evaluated to determine the effects of:

  • Regional bus system ridership with new bus routes connecting Biddeford/Saco (Exits 32/36) and Gray (Exit 63) with stops in the Portland area; and
  • Change in vehicular demand on the Maine Turnpike in the Portland Area.

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Alternative 6: Commuter Rail Service

Overview

The Downeaster, operated by Amtrak and managed by the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, provides commuter rail service from Portland south to Boston and from Portland to Freeport/Brunswick and possible future points north. Additionally, a possible commuter rail service from Portland to Lewiston/Auburn and up to Montreal is currently being studied by the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority (NNEPRA) and the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT). Service to the west via the Mountain Division was previously evaluated by MaineDOT. In this alternative, the rail system will be evaluated to determine the effects of:

  • Increases in commuter rail ridership with practicable system improvements including more frequent service (reduced headways), new stops/routes, more available parking, and faster service for each of the three commuter rail services identified above; and
  • Change in vehicular demand on the Maine Turnpike in the Portland Area.

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Alternative 6b: Local Commuter Rail

Overview

Operated by Amtrak and managed by the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, the current commuter rail service in Maine is the Downeaster.  Commuter rail service rail service in the region is provided from Portland south to Boston and from Portland north to Freeport/Brunswick.   However, opportunities exist to establish local commuter rail service that can run along existing or previously operated rail lines. Based on current projects and studies, the following local new routes were analyzed as part of this alternative:

  • Alternative 6b-1: New Commuter Rail Service: Mountain Division with local service from the Portland Transportation Center to Westbrook utilizing the Mountain Division rail line;
  • Alternative 6b-2: New Commuter Rail service: West Falmouth with local service from the Portland Transportation Center to the Exit 53 area in West Falmouth utilizing the existing Pan Am rail line ; and
  • Alternative 6b-3: New Commuter Rail Service: Biddeford/Saco with service from the Portland Transportation Center to Biddeford and Saco utilizing existing Amtrak rail.
In this alternative, the rail system will be evaluated to determine the effects of:
  • Commuter rail ridership associated with the rail line extensions mentioned above and practicable system improvements including more available parking and track improvements; and
  • Change in vehicular demand on the Maine Turnpike in the Portland Area.

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Alternative 7: Freight Rail Service

Overview

Freight is currently moved using four modes of transportation: rail, truck, air, and water. Truck freight is the most common, with approximately 86 percent of the tonnage moved within the state of Maine being transported by trucks. This alternative focused on the possibility of converting freight movement by truck to freight movement by rail. Truck trips greater than 500 miles are good candidates for possible conversion to rail2. However, other factors must also be taken into consideration, including freight content and time-of-delivery requirements. In this alternative, the freight rail system was evaluated to determine the effects of:

  • Current number of truck trips greater than 500 miles, and the viability of converting them to freight rail assuming practicable improvements; and
  • Corresponding decrease in future truck trips from the Maine Turnpike within the Portland study area.

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Alternative 8: Land Use Scenario

Overview

Changes in land use patterns (density, diversity, design, destination) can result in both a reduction in travel demand and an increase in transit ridership. Land use is primarily under control of each municipality, but recent efforts as part of a regional partnership known as Sustain Southern Maine, funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and administered by the Greater Portland Council of Governments (GPCOG), have sought to address the decentralization of urban centers that lead to such critical issues as rising personal transportation costs, limited transportation options, and lack of diverse and affordable housing. The Sustain Southern Maine work focused on identifying centers of opportunity throughout the region - areas where an existing level of density and/or commercial activity could, with the appropriate zoning, act as a catalyst to increase growth within a more contained area. These denser, village-like centers would then lend themselves to be part of a more efficient public transit system.

As part of the Portland Area Mainline (PAM) Needs Assessment, the Study Team assessed the benefits of an alternative pattern of growth and development that was originally identified and quantified under the Gorham East-West Corridor Study2. The key components of this alternative consist of:

  • Allocation of current population and employment forecasts into specific growth areas within the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System (PACTS) region identified in the Gorham East-West Corridor Study3. These allocations were based on a modified distribution of population and employment growth designated as the Urban and Rural form;
  • Estimate of reduction in future (2040) travel demand and increase in transit share based on the Urban and Rural land use scenario; and
  • Change in vehicular demand on the Maine Turnpike in the Portland Area and other benefits within the PACTS region (assuming land use changes have been mostly implemented).

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Alternative 9a: Ramp Metering

Overview

Ramp metering is used across the country to control the traffic entering a freeway. States that use ramp meters include Washington, California, North Carolina, Minnesota, Arizona, and Nevada. A ramp meter is a traffic signal placed on an on-ramp that turns green for a few seconds and then red for a few seconds. The signals generally allow between one to three vehicles through per green light. This creates breaks in the line of entering vehicles, which can improve traffic conditions on the mainline of the freeway. The key components of this alternative would consist of:

  • Installing ramp meters at the on-ramps upstream of the Turnpike mainline section with the highest traffic volume per direction;
  • Where traffic volumes warrant, widening the on-ramps to two lanes; and
  • Extending the length of the acceleration lanes where needed to accommodate the ramp meter.

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Alternative 9b: HOV/HOT Lanes

Overview

High-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes are restricted traffic lanes reserved at peak travel times or longer for the exclusive use of vehicles with a driver and one or more passengers. These often include carpools, vanpools, and transit buses. The normal minimum occupancy level is either two or three occupants. HOV lanes are typically created to increase average vehicle occupancy with the goal of reducing traffic congestion and related air pollution.

High-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes are restricted traffic lanes that are available to HOVs without charge; other vehicles are required to pay a toll that varies according to the time of day or according to real-time traffic conditions. Although numerous HOT lanes are operating in the United States today, none are operating parallel to an existing conventional toll facility. The concept of charging all customers a base toll, while designating an additional lane solely for HOVs and for SOVs willing to pay a higher toll, is untested in this country. This alternative would also create social justice issues with higher tolls being charged for patrons using the dedicated, additional lane.

As noted, no HOT lanes currently exist within conventional toll facilities in the United States. However, many of the components identified above can be observed at various facilities throughout the country. Some comparable facilities are identified below.

The concept of variable tolling is commonly applied at various managed lane facilities. Variable tolling by time of day or in response to real-time traffic conditions approach is employed on managed lanes on State Route 91 in Orange County, I-25 in Denver, the Katy Freeway in Houston, I-66 near Washington, D.C., I-495 on the Capital Beltway, I-95 in Miami, I-15 in Utah, I-15 in San Diego, I-580 in Alameda County, CA, and I-10/I-110 in Los Angeles.

Here, in looking at both HOVs and HOTs, the Study Team assumed that the Maine Turnpike would be widened to three lanes in each direction. Roadway widening alternatives are typically construction-based alternatives that require a fair amount of capital investment, including right-of-way acquisition. They sizably increase the throughput capacity (number of vehicles that can travel) of the roadway.

As part of the Portland Area Mainline (PAM) Needs Assessment, the Study Team assessed the potential results of converting an additional lane in each direction to either HOV or HOT usage from Exit 44 in Scarborough to Exit 53 in West Falmouth. They key components of this alternative would consist of:

  • Widening the mainline of the Turnpike for approximately nine miles to provide a three-lane cross section in each direction with similar improvements as identified in Alternative 12 in terms of bridges, toll plazas, and local roadway intersections; and
  • No barrier (either physical or painted) separating the HOV/HOT lane, which would allow maximum utilization.

This absence is not typical of most HOV/HOT facilities, which usually have a barrier or distance separation.

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For more information, please read The HOV/HOT Alternative: Working Paper

Alternative 9c: Reversible Lane

Overview

A Reversible Lane is a general use lane, constructed in the median of the freeway. The orientation of the lane can be configured to serve traffic in the peak direction. During periods in which northbound traffic is heaviest, the lane would be oriented in the northbound direction, thus providing an additional general purpose lane for northbound traffic. The same lane then would have its direction reversed relatively quickly (e.g. an hour or less) to serve peak traffic in the southbound direction when southbound traffic is the heaviest. A Reversible Lane is different from a Zipper Lane in that it does not require a moveable barrier machine to create an additional general use lane. Reversible lanes are used where right-of-way is available, whereas a Zipper lane is used on roadways with limited or no additional right-of-way. The Reversible Lane concept assumed as part of this analysis for the Maine Turnpike is similar to the concept employed on Route 3 in Boston and I-30 in Dallas. Other locations where reversible lanes are in use include San Diego-Coronado Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge, Lee Roy Selmon Expressway in Tampa, and I-95 Express Lanes in Northern Virginia.

The general concept of the Reversible Lane is that it provides a barrier-separated additional lane in the peak direction of travel. The number of access points into the Reversible Lane would be limited.

This alternative assumes that the Maine Turnpike would be widened with one additional lane that would serve both directions. Roadway widening alternatives are typically construction-based alternatives that require a fair amount of capital investment. They can sizably increase the throughput capacity (number of vehicles that can travel) of the roadway.

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For more information, please read The Reversible Lane: Working Paper

Alternative 10: Widening I-295

Overview

Roadway widening alternatives are typically construction alternatives that require a fair amount of capital investment, including right-of-way acquisition. They sizably increase the throughput capacity of the roadway.
As part of the Portland Area Mainline (PAM) Needs Assessment, the Study Team assessed the impacts of widening I-295 to three general purpose lanes in each direction from I-95 Exit 44 in Scarborough to I-295 Exit 11 in Falmouth.  The key components of this alternative would consist of:

  • Widening I-295 for approximately 11 miles to provide a three-lane cross section in each direction;
  • Reconstruction of 27 bridges including the Fore River Bridge and Tukey’s Bridge; and
  • Reconstruction of any side road underpasses and existing drainage structures not already designed for additional mainline lanes.

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Alternative 11: Widening I-295 with Tolling

Overview

Roadway widening alternatives are typically construction alternatives that require a fair amount of capital investment, including right-of-way acquisition. They sizably increase the throughput capacity (number of vehicles that can travel) of the roadway.

As part of the Portland Area Mainline (PAM) Needs Assessment, the Study Team assessed the impacts of widening I-295 to three general purpose lanes in each direction from Exit 44 in Scarborough to Exit 11 in Falmouth and placing tolls on I-295. The key components of this alternative would consist of:

  • Widening I-295 for approximately 11 miles to provide a three-lane cross section in each direction;
  • Reconstruction of 27 bridges including the Fore River Bridge and Tukey’s Bridge;
  • Reconstruction of any side road underpasses and existing drainage structures not already designed for additional mainline lanes; and
  • Construction of two tolling locations – at/near Fore River Bridge and at/near Tukey’s Bridge.

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Alternative 12: Widen Turnpike to Six Lanes

Overview

Roadway widening alternatives are typically construction-based alternatives that require a fair amount of capital investment, including right-of-way acquisition. They sizably increase the throughput capacity (number of vehicles that can travel) of the roadway.

As one of twelve alternatives, the Study Team assessed the impacts of widening the Maine Turnpike from two to three general-purpose lanes in each direction from Exit 44 in Scarborough to Exit 53 in West Falmouth.  The key components of this alternative would consist of:

  • Widening the mainline for approximately nine miles to provide a three-lane cross section in each direction;
  • Reconstruction of several bridges including the Stroudwater River, Maine Central Railroad, and Warren Avenue bridges; and
  • Reconstruction of any side road underpasses and existing drainage structures not already designed for additional mainline lanes.

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Alternative 13: Combined Alternative without Widening I-95

Overview

This Combined Alternative includes several individual alternatives that were examined separately as part of the Portland Area Mainline Study. This Combined Alternative includes the following individual alternatives:

  • Alternative 2 – New/Expanded Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Programs
  • Alternative 4 – Public Transportation: New or Improved Interstate Bus Service
  • Alternative 5a – Public Transportation: Improved Regional Bus Service
  • Alternative 5b – Public Transportation: New or Improved Local Bus Service
  • Alternative 8 – Land Use
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Alternative 14: Combined Alternatives with Widening I-95

Overview

This Combined Alternative includes several individual alternatives that were examined separately as part of the Portland Area Mainline Study. This Combined Alternative includes the following individual alternatives:

  • Alternative 2 – New/Expanded Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Programs
  • Alternative 4 – Public Transportation: New or Improved Interstate Bus Service
  • Alternative 5a – Public Transportation: Improved Regional Bus Service
  • Alternative 5b – Public Transportation: New or Improved Local Bus Service
  • Alternative 8 – Land Use
  • Alternative 12 – Widen Turnpike to Six Lanes
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Context Material: Autonomous Vehicles Working Paper

Context Material: Shoulder Use White Paper

Context Material: TSM White Paper

Context Material: Evaluation of Induced Demand

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