Cornhusker State aims to reduce highway congestion with sensor system
The sensors, made by San Jose, Calif.-based SpeedInfo Inc., will deliver traffic-flow information to enhance the state’s 511 traffic information system. Motorists can dial 511 on their cell phones to get information on speed, travel times and traffic incidents. Real-time traffic data from the new sensors also will be integrated into the department’s new traffic management operations center.
The NDOR has directed the installation of sensors in the Omaha, Neb., area along Interstates 80, 480 and 680 and U.S. Highways 75 and 6. Plans call for road sensors to be placed at locations in the Lincoln, Neb., area along I-80 and U.S. 77.
“SpeedInfo worked with us to set up a system trial and we quickly found the data provided a significant benefit for our operations,” said Jaimie Huber, ITS project manager for the NDOR. “We reviewed several different traffic management technologies and found the SpeedInfo data service to be the most cost-effective solution for our program. In addition, SpeedInfo assisted with the deployment and the data should easily integrate into our network.”
Here’s how the traffic data is collected: The Doppler radar sensors from SpeedInfo are mounted on light or signage poles and are solar powered. Sensors are located approximately every mile and collect traffic speed information continuously. Sensors forward data to SpeedInfo traffic data servers via the AT&T Wireless data network. The servers format the data for delivery to customers via the Internet. The data is available from the servers in a standard XML format, or if required, specialized formats.
Highway crews can cover as many as 15 miles of highway a day in the installation process, with no lane closures or disruption to traffic.
“More and more state highway departments are interested in these sensors for a wide range of reasons,” Tim Johnson, a spokesman for SpeedInfo, told GovPro.com. “In some parts of the country, there’s not a lot of room to build new highways, so the goal is to maximize the road surfaces that we’ve got. If we can divert traffic from congested highways onto ones that are uncongested, then that saves money as well as fuel, and it helps reduce pollution.”
A total of seven states and the District of Columbia are using the SpeedInfo sensors, and some of those states have multiple deployments. State departments of transportation and metropolitan planning organizations are the typical purchasers of the sensors in government, Johnson said.