PHOENIX – A $6 million federal grant will help the Arizona Department of Transportation and partner agencies advance the use of technology to help drivers steer clear of congestion on the 60-mile-long Loop 101 freeway in the Phoenix area.
The project will include development of a Decision Support System to provide Loop 101 drivers with real-time information, including best detour routes, when freeway slowing occurs due to crashes, disabled vehicles or other incidents.
ADOT teamed up with the Maricopa County Department of Transportation, several Valley cities, the University of Arizona and Arizona State University, plus Valley Metro to apply for the Federal Highway Administration grant as part of that agency’s Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment program.
“While ADOT and Maricopa County have already been national leaders in using freeway management technology, this project will allow us to take the next step to inform drivers about traffic conditions and alternate routes,” said ADOT Director John Halikowski. “Improving safety and incident response are also keys to managing congestion and are at the heart of this partnership.”
The federal grant will allow ADOT to work with Maricopa County and other partners on the design of the Loop 101 Mobility Project. Other technologies to be deployed include enhanced traffic signal timing to help move traffic on arterial streets and transit routes when the freeway is congested.
The development of a mobile app will improve data exchange between the regional transportation network and the travelers who use it. Transit vehicles also will be outfitted with connected vehicle technology to improve accessibility to destinations while helping people, including senior citizens, who depend on transit services.
“As our Valley grows, technology plays an increasingly important role in keeping people and products on the move,” said Jennifer Toth, director of the Maricopa County Department of Transportation. “This project will demonstrate how technology innovation can not only improve everyday driving but also improve how we manage congestion when our region hosts major events like the Super Bowl, the NCAA Final Four, Phoenix Open golf and Cactus League baseball.”
The Federal Highway Administration’s Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies program funds cutting-edge technologies that are ready to be deployed to enhance existing traffic capacity for commuters and businesses.
“Technology is the future of U.S. transportation,” said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Brandye L. Hendrickson. “Innovations like this one are the future of congestion management for America’s highway system and deserve this important recognition.”
ADOT and its partners also have identified $27 million in existing project funding that, when combined with the $6 million federal grant, will pay for designing and installing the Loop 101 Mobility Project within the next four years.