Launch Slideshow

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Keeping construction zones moving

Keeping construction zones moving

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    Right: The Interstate 70 ITS system employed various tools—such as closed-circuit cameras—to collect information about traffic. Photos: Stanley Consultants Inc. and United Rentals Highway Technologies

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    Above: Roadside message boards helped manage traffic during reconstruction of Illinois' Interstate 70 by alerting drivers to delays.

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    Motorists traveling on interstate 70 could tune into a special radio station to monitor traffic conditions

By ensuring the right resources are dispatched quickly and efficiently, precious time can be saved, which can make a huge difference in saving a crash victim's life. This efficiency also helps get the roads cleared and traffic back up to speed more quickly, which saves travelers' time and reduces the risk of additional accidents.

“There was a serious accident during Stage 1,” said Cornelius. “Several cars were piled up and emergency equipment was needed which shut down the interstate for three to four hours. Within minutes, we were able to automatically invoke a detour and reroute traffic.”

IDOT also implemented a program to advise motorists about the project, including a frequently updated Web site, which provided information on project objectives and schedule; a map of the project had links to view real-time traffic conditions, projected travel speeds, and current advisory messages posted on each changeable message sign within the project limits. Travelers planning trips could gain detailed information on planned construction and anticipated traffic impacts. Better informed drivers help contribute to a safer work zone.

Providing ITS solutions within the I-70 construction zone made the area safer and more convenient, reduced roadway problems that could have led to traffic crashes, and provided information on alternate routes. In addition, the rapid flow of information meant that roadside assistance and emergency aid could arrive more quickly. This allowed incidents to be cleared more efficiently and ultimately reduced congestion.

“Overall, the system was helpful and well-received by the public,” said Cornelius.

Koss is associate chief transportation engineer in the Chicago office of Stanley Consultants Inc., Muscatine, Iowa.