Traveler Expectations and Future Use of Highway Rest Areas in the Western United States (NDOT 732-19-803)

Public rest areas in Nevada serve a variety of needs for all travelers. A majority of travelers stopping at rest areas desire a restroom break or simply a stretch for short break. Other patrons utilize rest areas for picnicking, relief for children or pets, vehicle maintenance, to change drivers, obtain travel information, or to sleep. Rest areas provide the distinct advantage of quick access and facilities that are open 24 hours per day. Consideration was given to the needs of Nevada highway users, along with agency costs. Specific facility recommendations, including modifications to existing rest areas and construction of new facilities, were based on identification of areas of unmet needs (i.e., service gaps) for travelers on the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) highway network. To help prioritize the recommended facility modifications, benefit/cost ratios were computed to determine the economic viability for each proposed rest area modification. The benefits were estimated for each modified facility as the incremental changes from the prior condition, considering safety benefits (e.g., expected crash reduction and injury prevention) along with comfort and convenience benefits for travelers (e.g., value of services). These benefits were then compared to the agency costs, which included the construction costs for the proposed new or modified facility, annualized over a 40-year service life, in addition to the change in annual maintenance costs for the proposed facility. Using the benefit/cost ratios, a final list of recommendations was developed to assist NDOT with prioritization of proposed modifications to its rest area network.


    • English


    • Status: Completed
    • Funding: $200000
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Nevada Department of Transportation

      1263 South Stewart Street
      Carson City, NV  United States  89712

      Federal Highway Administration

      1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Managing Organizations:

      Nevada DOT Research

      1263 South Stewart St
      Carson City, Nevada  United States  89712
    • Project Managers:

      Baker, Ross

      Kumar, Manju

    • Performing Organizations:

      Michigan State University, East Lansing

      Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
      Institute for Community Development
      East Lansing, MI  United States  48824-1226
    • Principal Investigators:

      Gates, Timothy

      Savolainen, Peter

    • Start Date: 20191112
    • Expected Completion Date: 20220731
    • Actual Completion Date: 20220630
    • USDOT Program: Transportation, Planning, Research, and Development
    • Subprogram: Research

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01851098
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Nevada Department of Transportation
    • Contract Numbers: P732-19-803
    • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
    • Created Date: Jul 6 2022 4:25PM