Criteria and Guidelines for Three-Lane Road Design and Operation

Principal Investigator(s):

Gary Davis, Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering


  • John Hourdos, Former Research Associate Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Project summary:

A 4-3 conversion involves changing a four-lane undivided road into one with two general travel lanes separated by a two-way left-turn lane. A commonly used guideline states that a 4-3 conversion can be considered as long as the road's average annual daily traffic (AADT) volume does not exceed 15,000 vehicles/day, but opinions vary: from lowering the AADT threshold to 10,000 vehicles/day to anecdotal evidence for successful 4-3 conversions with AADTs as high as 20,000. The main objective of this project was to identify conditions where 4-3 conversions might be feasible at AADTs greater than 15,000. After reviewing the literature, researchers conducted simulation studies on three different roads to identify combinations of major and minor road flow where three-lane configurations provided acceptable levels of service. Eight intersections, with 16 approaches, were then selected to represent the research team's findings. These results were presented as summary tables that practitioners could use to make initial assessments regarding 4-3 conversion feasibility.

Project details:

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