The New Mexico State Highway and Transportation Department (NMSHTD) rebuilt the Big I interchange in Albuquerque to make it safer and more efficient and provide better access. The original Big I was severely over-capacity. NMSHTD employed an ITS-based mobile traffic monitoring/management system to help move vehicles through the extensive construction area. ITS components were deployed prior to construction with plans to later incorporate portions of the system into a permanent freeway management system.
NMSHTD used ITS for several reasons:
- Changes in traffic patterns, closures and alternate routes required that travelers be provided with high-quality real-time information.
- The high volume of traffic moving through the interchange created great potential for congestion.
Three main project goals included:
- Provide traffic management capabilities and traveler information on traffic routing, detours, and incidents.
- Minimize capacity restrictions due to incidents.
- Enhance traveler safety.
The project included cameras and sensors to monitor traffic conditions and detect incidents, electronic signs, highway advisory radio, a website, and other media to transmit traveler information. Incident detection was a major component. Lessons learned related to the importance of a reliable communication system, scheduling and planning, public awareness, interagency coordination, and consideration of future maintenance requirements.
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