Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Civil Engineering

Major Professor

Jian John Lu, Ph.D.


Capacity, Delay, Travel time, Gap acceptance, Follow-up time, Adjustment factor, Directional median opening, Crash rate, Access management


In Florida, the increased installation of non-traversable medians and directional median opening has produced an increased number of U-turns on multilane highways. Arguments have been advanced by some opponents of median modification projects that the increased numbers of U-turns may result in safety and operational problems on multilane highways. The primary objective of this study is to evaluate the operational effects of U-turn movement on multilane roadways. To achieve this research objective, extensive data were collected. Field measurements were conducted at 40 sites in the Tampa Bay area of Florida to collect traffic operations data. Besides, the crash histories of 179 selected roadway segments in central Florida were investigated. Statistical analysis was conducted based on the collected traffic operations data and crash data to quantitatively evaluate the operational performance of U-turn movement. Delay and travel time were compared for different driveway left-

turn alternatives that are widely used in Florida and nationally. Crash rate models were developed to evaluate how the separation distance between a driveway exit and the downstream U-turn bay impacts the safety performance of vehicles making right-turns followed by U-turns (RTUT). With the crash data analysis results, the minimum separation distances under different roadway conditions were determined to facilitate driver use of RTUTs. The capacity of U-turn movement was analyzed under two different situations: (1) U-turns are provided at a signalized intersection; and (2) U-turns are provided at an unsignalized intersection. Adjustment factors were developed to quantify the impacts of the presence of U-turning vehicles on the capacity of a signalized intersection. The critical gaps and follow-up time for U-turn movement at unsignalized intersections were estimated. With the estimated critical gaps and follow-up time, the Harders model was used to determine the capacity of U-turn movem

ent at an unsignalized intersection. This study also looks extensively at the minimum roadway width and median width required by vehicles to perform U-turn maneuvers on 4-lane divided roadways. It was found that a roadway width of 46 ft is generally sufficient for most types of design vehicles (except heavy vehicles) to perform a continuous U-turn maneuver without impedance.