In today’s growing society traffic engineers cannot simply add an additional lane to a corridor to meet the increase in demand. Major commuter routes in large metropolitan areas as well as routes within smaller cities are becoming
congested to the point where bigger is no longer the solution. The U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration (USDOT, FHWA) have adopted the practice of Integrated corridor management (ICM) to manage congested corridors so that they function more efficiently, better utilizing the existing capacity rather than creating more.
Integrated corridor management (ICM) manages the corridor as an integrated system, where not only the function of the corridor to move cars and freight through is managed but the entire system operates together. The system includes the freeway system, integrated operations, arterial signal systems, rail systems, bus system, parking systems and any other modal system that interacts with the corridor. Overall goal of ICM is to increase corridor throughput (number of vehicles able to traverse the corridor during a given amount of time), improve travel time reliability, improve incident management and enable intermodal travel decisions. The implementation of ICM on a given corridor shall be tailored to the corridors existing characteristics as well as the needs of the community it serves. However, features that could be included in an ICM are optimization of existing infrastructure, congestion management, multi-modal integration and management, enhanced response and control, better-informed travelers, leveraging under-utilized capacity and improving situational awareness.
Here in Reno we can see some of these features being put to use on our local infrastructure. The I-80 Design Build project for example is not only a rehabilitation project, it also involves the installation of an intelligent transportation system (ITS) which will help manage the corridor between Robb Drive and Vista Blvd. For more information about ITS in Nevada, click here. Travelers will be made aware of any conflicts ahead such as congestion or an accident and will be provided travel times. With this information travelers can make an informed decision to either maintain their course and use the freeway or exit to the local street system.
As technology advance so will our ability to more effectively manage our transportation system. Some of the latest research in the ITS world involves vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure communications. This will enable wireless communication between vehicles on the road and with the infrastructure they are using. This concept emerged as a safety mitigation for accident avoidance but also may prove to have a wide range of applications which could result in other safety, mobility, and environmental benefits. With Nevada giving the ok for driverless cars to use the roadway we may see these technologies emerge as common practice in the near future.