Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ramp Metering Without Signals

I was driving between Cartersville and Rome Georgia and noticed something I had not seen before. A so-called ramp meter with stop signs. A ramp to get on US 411 southbound had one stop sign away form the main freeway with a sign telling the driver to wait until traffic clears the second stop sign - at the freeway entrance point - before proceeding. I presume in this environment it works fine. Maybe you the reader have seen this many times but for me it was a first. If I had not been driving or if I lived nearby I would get a photo and post it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

ITS State Tour #1: Alabama (Part 1)

Alabama is where I have lived longer than anywhere else, therefore I may be more opinionated than intended, but I will try to refrain. I lived in Alabama 24 years including my time studying Civil Engineering at Auburn and working for Intergraph in Huntsville. Like other smaller states, Alabama is not as far along in implementing ITS as some of its neighbors such as Georgia or even Tennessee. This is not necessarily critical; ITS is a need-driven technology and other states have traffic issues in greater numbers than Alabama. I would suggest that there are three distinct types of freeways in Alabama which would suggest three types of ITS solutions.

One is the urban areas which include the big 4: Birmingham, Mobile, Montgomery and Huntsville.

Another is the heavier traveled freeways: I-65 from the Tennessee line to Montgomery and I-20 from the Georgia line to Tuscaloosa (segments of each outside metro Birmingham) - much of these segments of freeway are already 6-laned or will be in the future.

Finally, there are the rural freeways which is everywhere else. It might be fair to include US 231 south of Montgomery to Florida and ALA 157 from Florence to Cullman as candidates for ITS since they are significant through routes even though they are not limited access. Hurricane evacuations are a special need for routes in the southern part of the state.

Next post - links to web sites related to ITS in Alabama.