REDUCING OFF-RAMP QUEUE WAIT TIMES IN REAL-TIMEEffective signal adjustment based on crowdsourced multi-location traffic data
Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)
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Florida is located in the Southeastern United States, bordered by the Gulf of Mexico. The state, known for its warm weather, is a center for tourism and the home of multiple sports franchises.
Across Florida there is over 12,000 miles of state highway, 20 commercial airports, and 15 sea-ports, making it the 7th largest export state in the U.S.
THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (FDOT)
FDOT aims to create a transportation system that stimulates growth while eliminating congestion and fatalities for the safety and prosperity of their communities.
District 1, the district of focus for this case study, is made up of 12 counties and hosts a population of 2.7 million people. In District 1, 42 million miles of travel occur on state highways each day.
Company: Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)
Date: August, 2021
Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)’s mission is to provide safe transportation systems that preserve the environment and communities. FDOT wanted to update signal plans to improve traffic flow efficiency with real-time data on:
- Ramp Queues
- Ramp Spillback
Additionally, FDOT wanted to reduce serious crashes and fatalities on a corridor through retiming efforts. Their goal was to reduce speeds along the corridor with minimal impact to the overall travel time. To achieve these goals, FDOT needed one central data source for all projects for ease of use and flexibility in future projects.
When exploring solutions for data collection, FDOT considered sensor detection and other hardware solutions; howevers, these alternatives did not provide the flexibility that FDOT required to collect real-time data in multiple locations simultaneously.
FDOT chose SMATS data analytics platform iNode™, with integrated crowdsourced data, to provide real-time traffic data. With a crowdsourced software method, multiple projects could take place simultaneously across different locations. The increased functionality gave the agency greater efficiency, and eliminated the need for hardware installation or retrieval.
iNode™ allowed FDOT to capture speed and ramp congestion data on any section of the roadway for any given time schedule. Data was sourced from “floating cars”, making it completely anonymous to respect public privacy.
FDOT used the SMATS iNode™ platform and crowdsourced data to successfully identify ramp spillbacks and conduct spot speed studies. The iNode™ dashboard provided an overview of all links and locations, and was color coded to monitor congestion. The links on ramps of interest generated notifications prompting signal adjustments every time a threshold of 43 seconds was exceeded. On July 28 for example, when the threshold was reached, the ramp signal was adjusted, and after 5 minutes the queue had dissipated thanks to adjustments by staff.
FDOT was also able to collect spot speed data, with no additional installations. By setting up links along the corridor of interest, speed data could be collected for use in retiming efforts, aimed at reducing speeds with minimal travel time increases. FDOT was able to collect speed data from any day or time segment, and required no onsite installation or maintenance.
With SMATS iNode™, FDOT could capture real-time speed and spillback data for multiple links and ramps in one centralized, easy to analyze platform. FDOT could schedule studies that were anonymous, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly.
The iNode™ data analytics platform offered unlimited access, meaning different agencies and counties could all utilize data as needed. FDOT could also trigger alerts based on threshold using the iNode™ platform. This meant that when ramp queues hit a certain threshold, real-time alert notifications would be sent to the selected employees, allowing for fast, effective, real-time ramp monitoring.
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