This paper reports on a study of passing lane operations, with a focus on continuous three-lane cross sections with alternating passing lanes (three-lane alternate passing or 2+1) segments in Arkansas. The examined aspects include effects of passing lane length on platooning, passing, speed, and passing lane crash rates. Five sets of field data were collected at four rural sites. After a vehicle entered the passing lane, platooning decreased and eventually stabilized. Passing activity was greatest at the beginning of the segments. Speed patterns were found to vary among sites, but average speed rose when a vehicle entered the passing lane section. Five years of crash data from 19 sites were used. Even though the volumes for the passing lane segments were higher than the state average volume for rural two-lane roads, the passing lane crash rates were generally lower than the statewide average crash rate for rural two-lane roads.
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