With fiscal constraints and increasing congestion in urban cores, roadway owners are being forced to find new ways to manage traffic. Many are choosing to make their roads smarter with Active Traffic Management (ATM) technology that helps anticipate traffic conditions and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) that communicate real time information to commuters.
Active Traffic Management Solutions
According to the Federal Highway Administration, ATM provides the ability to dynamically manage congestion based on prevailing and predicted traffic conditions. These approaches increase throughput and safety by using integrated systems with new technology that optimize performance quickly. B&N has experience with a variety of ATM approaches, including:
- Adaptive Ramp Metering: deploying traffic signal(s) on ramps to dynamically control the rate vehicles enter a freeway. Example B&N projects: Ohio I-70/I-71 Improvements East Trench Project and Roberts Road/I-270 Diverging Diamond Interchange
- Adaptive Traffic Signal Control: continuous monitoring arterial traffic conditions and the queuing at intersections, and dynamically adjusting the signal timing to optimize operational objectives.
- Dynamic Shoulder Lanes: enables the use of the shoulder as a travel lane(s), known as Hard Shoulder Running (HSR) or temporary shoulder use, based on congestion levels during peak periods and in response to incidents or other conditions as warranted during non-peak periods. Example B&N project: I-670/I-270 Interchange with Hard Shoulder Running
- Dynamic Speed Limits: adjusts speed limits based on real-time traffic, roadway, and/or weather conditions. Example B&N project: I-670/I-270 Interchange with Hard Shoulder Running
- Queue Warning: real-time displays of warning messages along a roadway to alert motorists that queues or significant slowdowns are ahead, thus reducing rear-end crashes and improving safety. Example B&N project: I-670/I-270 Interchange with Hard Shoulder Running
In addition to these ATM strategies designed by B&N, even more options and approaches are available to choose from due to continuous innovation. For a complete list of ATM strategies, visit the Federal Highway Administration website.
ATM Applications for Solving Congestion Issues
In Columbus, Ohio, B&N is using select ATM approaches in the I-670/I-270 project mentioned above to improve traffic flow along six miles of I-670 from downtown to the outer belt. B&N’s design solution for the SmartLane project will apply Hard Shoulder Running (HSR), which can be seen in the video simulation below, to temporarily utilize the highway's shoulder to provide an additional lane during peak traffic hours. This approach is less expensive than other options, such as road widening, because it uses the existing roadway infrastructure while still allowing for emergency and other use as necessary during non-peak hours. An ITS with 11 dynamic message signs and 46 closed-circuit TVs will be used to support the smooth operation of the HSR corridor by communicating with a Traffic Management Center and informing motorists about changes in lane usage and variable speed limits.
Currently, there are only 10 active HSR corridors in the United States. As congestion issues continue to rise in urban cores, it’s becoming increasingly important for roadway owners to begin considering and implementing ATM solutions. Choosing the right mix of approaches and technologies begins with knowing what options are available.