The Mississippi Department of Transportation has begun providing motorists on a busy highway with estimated travel times on new dynamic message signs, in a technology-focused project that official hope will ease congestion on a route used by 40,000 vehicles a day.
The department said the project – on east-west Goodman Road in DeSoto County in the state’s northwest corner – installed traffic sensors and cameras on about 12 miles of highway from Olive Branch to Horn Lake, and the department said it is testing the equipment through a “burn-in period” to ensure proper functioning. It expects to complete the work this summer.
Using federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program funds, the project ties together 148 cameras, nine message boards, 44 Bluetooth devices for travel time measurements, 41 radar detection systems to measure traffic volume, plus three travel time signs and two traveler information video kiosks located at a nearby rest area and welcome center.
The system feeds real-time data on travel conditions to a traffic management center, where operators use that information to provide alerts to motorists through the electronic message boards.
“Using the cameras and traffic sensors along Goodman Road will allow operators in the TMC to remotely monitor patterns and make adjustments to improve traffic flow during peak usage times,” said Northern Transportation District Commissioner Mike Tagert. “In addition to saving time for the traveling public, the new system will improve air quality as vehicles idle for shorter times at traffic control signals.”
That’s because as traffic efficiency improves, vehicles spend less time in congestion and on the road, producing lower emission levels.
The announcement noted that studies show such technology can reduce traffic delays by as much as 20 percent.
“DeSoto County is one of the fastest-growing population centers in Mississippi,” Tagert said. “As the population increases, so does the number of vehicles on roadways. The CMAQ project will positively affect travel times and traffic delays in the area.”