Saturday, January 12, 2019

How will planned 'Smart Corridor' help ease traffic woes on I-24? - WKRN News 2

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) - The drive between Davidson and Rutherford counties using Interstate 24 can be unpredictable. 

But the Tennessee Department of Transportation's new pilot called the I-24 Smart Corridor Project could be the solution. 

"We can't make the road any shorter, but what we can do is make the commute time shorter in having reliability in your transportation," said Paul Degges, TDOT Chief Engineer. 

The new Smart Corridor will be the first of its kind in Tennessee and it will use existing infrastructure to improve travel times for drivers. 

It's part traditional construction, like more acceleration lanes, and part new technology. 

"We're going to put 23 shoulder mounted dynamic message signs," said Degges. "Right now, the big overhead message signs are spaced out at about three miles." 

The more frequent message signs on the interstate will provide more detailed updates to drivers of speed, lane or merge conditions ahead, while traveling information boards will guide drivers to alternate routes. 

"It's going to allow the user in the network to make better decisions and hopefully we can actually reduce congestion and reduce secondary crashes," said Degges. 

It'll also upgrade and adjust traffic signals of connector routes to optimize alternate route in the event of an incident on I-24. 

Degges said the technology will also help TDOT more efficiently manage traffic, like finding the root of a slowdown. 

"We can set thresholds in the system where it if it drops drown to 46 mph and put an alarm swings the camera around points at it and we start figuring out what's going on," said Degges. 

The real-time traffic updates will soon be delivered directly to cars, helping drivers plan around traffic, even paving the way for autonomous vehicles. 

"One of the things we want to do is get this communication technology out there to allow these manufacturers to come in and start bringing new products that use these tools to provide a better driving experience," said Degges. 

The project is set to break ground in February and is expected to be complete in about two years. 

Most of the work will happen on the shoulder lanes so traffic shouldn't be affected.

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