IS HWY 50 AT LEVEL OF SERVICE “F” ?
Long Range Planning staff met with Caltrans staff 3 times recently to discuss calculation of Level of Service (LOS) on Highway 50. SACOG (Sacramento Area Council of Governments) staff and the EDC Transportation Commission (EDCTC) also participated in some of those meetings.
During September 2013 staff followed-up on an earlier Measure Y Committee presentation regarding a Caltrans chart of LOS and speed effects.
The Caltrans chart indicated LOS F equated to speeds of less than 53 mph.
During meetings it was made clear that chart is used as a visual aide in environmental documents when discussing “Purpose and Need” for a given project. However, Caltrans uses density, not speed, to actually determine LOS for Hwy 50, which is consistent with the Highway Capacity Manual 2010 methodology used by EDC staff. Density is the measurement of the number of passenger cars per lane, per mile.
Cal Trans has stated that Hwy 50 is at LOS F during most of the morning peak hour (7-8 am) at the El Dorado Hills Blvd/Latrobe Road westbound on-ramp only. Caltrans Traffic Operations staff anticipates LOS will improve with the activation of ramp meters recently installed on the on-ramp. All other segments of Hwy 50 are at level of service D or less.
Caltrans, SACOG and County Staff agree that although additional mixed-flow lanes are not now proposed, there are documented plans to build other infrastructure including auxiliary lanes, parallel capacity facilities, an increase in Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) infrastructure, and increased use of multi-modal alternatives by the local jurisdictions. Industry standards acknowledge these alternative methods can increase capacity and lower congestion.