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This paper presents an empirical investigation into the operational benefits of passing lanes on rural two-lane highways. Two study sites in the state of Montana were used in this investigation. Performance was examined at a single location upstream and multiple locations downstream of the passing lane at each study site. Using percent followers as a performance measure, operational benefits right after the passing lane ranged between 33% and 42% at one study site and 12% to 19% at the other study site under prevalent traffic levels. Study results also suggest that operational benefits persist for a remarkable distance beyond the end of the passing lane.


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