Traffic Management System
Traffic Management Systems (TMS) use technology solutions to reduce congestion and improve safety during and after construction. TMS maximizes the use of the roads we have and, when paired with adding lane capacity, the state can maximize congestion reduction and investment value. There are four major components to TMS:
- Gathering reliable information on traffic density, speed and bottlenecks throughout the day.
- Coordinating the data received from cameras, sensors and electronic sources through the traffic management center and then feeding useful information out to signs and electronic devices informing drivers about what lies ahead.
- Informing drivers through electronic means, including constantly refreshed web pages, information streaming to apps, in-car navigation systems, and area TV and radio traffic centers, as well as through visual means, including signs across the entire system that advises motorists about what is ahead and if there are faster ways of getting to their destination.
- Clearing incidents promptly such as crashes, car breakdowns, debris in the road, etc.
TMS is a smart solution to improving traffic flow on the I-35 corridor. It will provide drivers with reliable, real-time data to allow them to make better travel decisions considering routes, travel modes, and timing of trips, which increases reliability of the overall network.
The TxDOT Austin District is working on various Traffic Management System projects in the Capital area. One of these projects is upgrading the existing TMS program by implementing:
- A performance-based Traffic Management Center
- An updated field network
- Increased coverage of intelligent transportation systems
- A robust Highway Emergency Response Operator (HERO) program that focuses on rapid incident clearing
The TMS upgrade project is a regional partnership of multiple local stakeholders that will transform I-35 into a smarter, more efficient corridor by providing access to information needed to better manage transportation. The project will use existing right of way, recover and recycle existing resources, and employ technology advancements.
Two other smart and efficient ways Mobility35 proposes to use other strategies to provide congestion relief along the corridor include Travel Demand Management (TDM) and Integrated Corridor Management (ICM).
TDM can decrease peak-hour, single-occupant auto commuting and traffic volumes through strategies that include:
- Carsharing, ridesharing, carpooling and vanpooling
- Flexible work hours
- Transit, bicycling and walking
Effective implementation of travel demand management strategies often includes strong public and private partnerships. An example of TDM is the Capital Metro Rideshare program.
ICM is a tool in the congestion management toolbox that combines technology and innovative practices. Integrated corridor management utilizes TMS and TDM strategies and focuses them on a specific corridor and parallel routes. Transportation operators at various agencies work collaboratively to optimize the operation and use of all of the available capacity across multiple routes and modes of travel through the corridor. ICM is most useful during:
- Peak-period congestion
- Special events
- Construction delays
- Weather events
An ICM strategy is currently being developed for I-35 through a partnership of:
- City of Austin
- City of Round Rock
- Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization
- Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority
- Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority
- Texas A&M Transportation Institute
- University of Texas Center for Transportation Research
You can visit the Department of Transportation’s Integrated Corridor Management site to learn more.