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Mississippi DOT completes ITS projects in Hattiesburg

The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) has completed several comprehensive ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) projects in the city of Hattiesburg. These involved the installation of fiber-optic cable, additional traffic cameras, vehicle detection systems, Highway Advisory Radio systems (HAR), and seven dynamic message signs (DMS) to the gateways of the city. With the new ITS components now installed along US Highway 49, US Highway 98 and I-59 in Hattiesburg, most of the region’s traffic signals are now combined into one system.

The regional ACTRA signal server is located at MDOT’s Hattiesburg Regional Traffic Management Center (TMC) in the District 6 headquarters. Although state and local TMC operators are currently using the ITS components, the projects will be under a contractual testing period until July 30. Live video from the camera system is viewed inside the Hattiesburg Regional TMC and will also be fed to MDOT’s website. From a video monitoring wall, TMC operations staff will use the system to observe traffic flow, manage roadway incidents and assist emergency personnel. Operators will use the system’s DMS and HAR to alert motorists of incidents, congestion, roadworks, weather, or event traffic ahead. This will allow motorists to potentially alter their route to avoid congestion, thus reducing secondary incidents, while improving mobility and safety throughout the region.

According to MDOT ITS program manager, Mike Stokes, by using communications to the region’s traffic signals, timings may be controlled remotely, and multiple plans can be configured and implemented from inside the center. Traffic engineers are able to view real-time traffic from the system’s cameras and – if conditions warrant it – implement new, special event, or emergency plans. The goal is to be able to improve drive times and congestion by reducing the starts and stops for motorists, which will also result in a ‘green’ benefit through reduced fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. “Along with the signal timing efficiency benefits, the system will also enable TMC operators to provide drivers with roadway information using the system’s DMS and HAR, allowing them to make informed travel decisions,” Stokes said. “In addition, operations staff will be able to assist response and emergency personnel during accidents or severe weather events, such as winter storms and hurricane evacuations through Hattiesburg.”
 

January 18, 2011

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