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News Archive 2001 - 2010

UT Arlington Civil Engineers Designing Traffic Management System

July 16, 2010

Two professors in the Civil Engineering Department at The University of Texas at Arlington have received a one-year, $198,692 grant from Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) to develop an integrated traffic management plan covering nine counties in North Central Texas. The system will gather and evaluate traffic condition information and disseminate this along with suggested alternate routes and transportation modes.

Drs. Sia Ardekani and Steve Mattingly will be concentrating on two major areas: determine what kind of information is most valuable to commuters/drivers and how to collect and evaluate that information. “This will require massive amounts of raw data,” said Dr. Ardekani. “We’ll have to come up with clever and inexpensive ways to get it.”

Some of the information they will need is currently available from commercial traffic reporting services and Texas Department of Transportation cameras and sensors embedded in pavement that monitor highway conditions. However, these systems normally monitor freeways, highways and major thoroughfares only. Additional sensors may have to be installed on the secondary thoroughfares that drivers might seek to detour around congestion.

“We’re also considering monitoring signals, but not content, from Bluetooth-enabled devices,” he said. “These can provide rough estimations on the average speed of traffic.”

This Integrated Corridor Management Project is one of only two in the U.S. and is being funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation. DART is coordinating the North Texas project because it manages the high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes on major freeways in addition to providing bus and light rail transportation. Telvent, a designer of advanced intelligent infrastructure management tools, is also participating in the project.

A prominent feature of the project will be the introduction of a “5-1-1” telephone information service that will provide users with real-time traffic conditions, alternate routes around congested areas, and recommendations for the use and location of HOV lanes and alternative means of transportation such as buses and light and commuter rail services.

“We’re hoping the 5-1-1 service, once it’s in place and proven, will be adopted not only in heavy traffic areas such as Houston, San Antonio and Austin, but also throughout the state,” said Dr. Ardekani.