Gilltrans.net

An Intelligent Transportation and Connected Vehicle Research Blog

Being a first-time big city commuter (with apologies to Huntsville, AL) I am learning about just how long the AM and PM rush hour has become. First of all, calling it ‘hour’ singular is a misnomer. On a typical day each rush ‘time period’ is somewhere between 2 and 3 hours each. This supersizing of the rush ‘hour’ has some interesting side effects.

This is an excellent article in the Sept. 12th USA Today:

Restaurants such as McDonalds are opening earlier and local TV newscasts are seeing the largest gains in the early morning timeslot: http://keyetv.com/info/local_story_062171931.html As shown in this story about Austin, TX.

What we are seeing is motorist behavior modification. Drivers are adjusting their commutes earlier (or later in some cases) to spread the traffic out over more time.

Cities such as Atlanta have programs that promote tele-commuting 1 or more days a week, taking public transportation, etc… However the largest change I see is more people commuting times away from the typical 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. timeslots.

Where does ITS fit into this? One interesting thing that our local Georgia NaviGAtor makes available to the public is historical travel data on the freeways:
http://www.georgianavigator.com/histdata/trip.shtml

One can select their normal commute and see how much time can be saved by leaving home or work at a different time. Considering only recurring congestion (non-recurring incidents throw everything off normal) ever 15 minutes oen way or another makes a few minutes difference.

Companies are becoming friendlier to shifted work schedules and that makes such trends likely to increase in the future.
—JKG

In the Atlanta metro area traffic is a problem and even with a myriad of consultants in the area doing traffic and ITS work the demand is such that new alternative solutions must be considered and implemented.

There are plans and discussions to convert some of the HOV lanes on I-85 north toward South Carolina to managed lanes – High Occupancy Tolling (HOT). They would still be HOV-2 but single occupancy vehicles could pay to drive in the HOV lane. The rate would be regulated by the same type of toll tag that is used on the GA 400 toll road. However, how one could regulate whether the vehicle has more than one passenger is a challenge to overcome.

On I-75 north toward Chattanooga and on I-20 west toward Birmingham, there have been plans and discussions on adding Truck-Only Toll (TOT) lanes – lanes that would effectively segregate trucks from other vehicles. The benefit would be that vehicle traffic congestion could be reduced and safety should improve. in addition, the dedicated truck lane would be wired for both tolling and weight and size regulation (PrePass).

A study on both options can be found at this link: http://www.hotandtotstudy.com/

A local Cobb County (I-75 north area) citizens website discusses the HOT project
here:

I was responsible for table topics at my Northpark Toastmasters: http://www.northparktoastmasters.org and I raide a question about these two issues. The responses were generally in favor but one person suggested that the purpose of the HOV lane would be defeated in that no longer would single passengers be discouraged (other than financially) from driving alone. He asserted that the goal of removing cars from the roads to improve air quality would be gone. Another speaker suggested a pay to speed policy that woud raise tax revenue based on how fast vehicles drove.

I personally believe that the next phase of traffic management will include a significant of privatization and/or tolling.—JKG

I have not posted in 10 months. During that time I was able to successfully gain employment in the ITS field. It is my dream job and I am really happy. I spent the last 6 months getting acclimated to my new job and I have been learning a lot about the business and I have been involved in some neat projects. During this time I thought about whether to blog, what to include in an ITS blog, etc… I have decided on the following groundrules for this blog for myself.

1) I will not discuss any proprietary information on future business opportunities or on active projects.
2) My posts will be similar to what one might hear or discuss at a meeting of a transportation-related group meeting.
3) I will talk about current events related to ITS and traffic
4) Due to my proximity to Atlanta, our traffic situation will get more air play than other cities.
5) I will attempt to talk about what other states and maybe countries are doing in the area of ITS
6) I will talk about current and future technology and the possible practical application of these.

Comments are encouraged and appreciated.

My goal is to post about once a week but more or less often as my situation dictates.

–JKG

One thing I have observed and thought about in recent weeks is that most industry focus in the area of ITS is making the freeways run smoother. This is certainly important and where the technology has been applied.

However I propose to the readers that consideration for major arterials needs to move beyond signal control. What this would be is up to discussion. Certainly you could have cameras and mini-message signs but with congestion on the roads that interconnect with the freeways getting more and more clogged something needs to be done to take care of them too…JKG

Welcome!

Comments off

Welcome to my Intelligent Transportation blog. The exact direction I want to take with this blog is not defined yet, but I plan to post some of my thoughts and research on the subject and I encourage readers to post theirs. My first real post will be in a week or so….JKG