Earlier this afternoon, Dallas Area Rapid Transit's Morgan Lyons sent word that the U.S. Department of Transportation is giving DART $5.3 million to fund something called an Integrated Corridor Management system. The feds have been messing around with this for years in an effort to unclog heavily congested freeways; Dallas was selected some time ago as one of the so-called "pioneer sites," but only Dallas and San Diego got the government dough today.
Dallas's ICM system is supposed to alleviate traffic on U.S. 75 between Dallas and State Highway 121 up in McKinney. (Lyons says McKinney is, at present, not one of the myriad partners on the project.) And just how will it ease congestion? Well, the DoT press release says the $8.3-million project (with DART covering the rest) will allow DART to "use a transportation management model" that will "predict travel conditions 30 minutes into the future, allowing diversion of traffic to other routes during freeway incidents and special events along US-75." Here's DART's explanation:
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In an ICM corridor, commuters could receive information that encompasses the entire transportation network to help them make better decisions about how to travel in that corridor. For example a commuter planning to use US 75 from Richardson to Dallas might choose a side road or perhaps take DART Rail instead if they were informed of a major traffic tie-up on the highway.
The grant will fund the development and deployment of a Dallas "511" real-time traveler information system and support integrated operation of the US-75 corridor. The ICM System will collect information on the current travel conditions on freeways, frontage roads, arterial streets, DART Rail, park-and-ride lots, and the high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane. Operating agencies will share incident, construction, and special event information among each other.
When traffic conditions change due to heavy traffic demand, incidents, or inclement weather, transportation agencies can use this information to make immediate changes to traffic signal timing on arterials and frontage roads as well as direct travelers to faster roadways or transit facilities. The corridors are monitored in real time and staff can review potential changes. A decision support system will allow transportation professionals to evaluate the best operational strategies and determine when to implement them.