North Carolina Testing Future of Traffic Management on Section of I-85 | DFA 90.7
The North Carolina Department of Transportation said one of the state’s first permanent traffic systems was officially operational on Interstate 85 in Mecklenburg and Gaston counties.
It’s called an Integrated Hallway Management System, and it’s in place between I-85 between exits 10 and 33.
It uses cameras, electronic panels and remote controlled traffic lights. When an accident is detected by a traffic camera, operators in a control room activate electronic signs and stop lights to guide drivers on the US 74 and other alternative routes.
NCDOT upgraded 94 traffic lights along US 74 and I-85 ramps, installed two new electronic signs and added 11 cameras, then integrated them into the statewide traffic management system .
The aim is to relieve the backups in the event of an accident, but also to make the journey between Charlotte and Kings Mountain more predictable.
“I hope we are reducing overall travel times and, more importantly, increasing the reliability of travel times,” said Matthew Carlisle, signal management engineer for NCDOT. “So we should make the journey times more consistent so that when incidents do occur, we can reduce their effects on traffic. “
Carlisle says the department has activated the system dozens of times since its soft launch in the spring.
The NCDOT uses these systems to direct traffic through construction projects on Interstate 26 between Hendersonville and Asheville, Interstate 40 in the Raleigh area, and Interstate 95 around Fayetteville. But the one along I-85 is the first permanent project without the need to guide drivers during construction. That could change, however, as it will be used in the future during work to widen parts of I-85, Carlisle said.
Carlisle says he thinks these types of traffic coordination systems are the future of traffic management in North Carolina.
“You know, you can only add a limited number of lanes, so it really comes down to the end of the day, you have to operate as efficiently as possible with the infrastructure you have in place,” Carlisle said. “I guess the main thing would be the expansion and the addition.”