Practical Guidelines for Estimation of Rest Area Use on Rural Interstates and Arterial Highways


Rest areas perform a critical role in the highway network. These areas provide passenger vehicle occupants and heavy vehicle operators with an opportunity to use a restroom, walk around, stop for a meal, sleep for a period of time, or even pause to use a cellular phone. These activities also have a direct impact on the various aspects of rest area planning and design. Existing guidance for rest area planning and design is largely based on national trends, which may not represent patterns of use in rural states. This paper presents a series of practical guidelines that may be used in the design and rehabilitation of rest area facilities, particularly those in rural areas. The guidance was developed by the use of empirical observations of rest area use at 44 study sites in the state of Montana. Given the amount of data collected and used in this research, it is reasonable to expect that the guidelines developed are representative of a significant proportion of existing and future rest area sites in rural locales. However, each rest area is different, and careful consideration should be given when the guidelines outlined in this paper are used.




Al-Kaisy, Ahmed, David Veneziano, Zachary Kirkemo, and Christopher Dorrington. “Practical Guidelines for Estimation of Rest Area Use on Rural Interstates and Arterial Highways.” Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board 2303, no. 1 (January 2012): 117–124. doi:10.3141/2303-13.
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