New Bluetooth-based dynamic message signs to improve travel times in Atlanta


The Cobb County Department of Transportation (CCDOT) in Georgia, USA, has activated six new dynamic message signs (DMS), powered by Bluetooth-based traffic data, to improve vehicle movements in the metropolitan Atlanta region.

The new signs are located on routes throughout the cities of Marietta and Smyrna that converge on the Interstate 75/US 41 corridor and will play a role in guiding patrons to the SunTrust Park baseball stadium and The Battery Atlanta development. The full-color LED signs installed on Cobb Parkway, South Marietta Parkway, Roswell Road and Spring Road provide travel time information for common destinations and indicate the congestion level related to specific routes in real-time.

Travel times on I-75 and Cobb Parkway appear in colored digits depending on the average speed of the roadway, with green figures indicating near free-flow speeds – yellow for moderate speeds, and red showing slow conditions. Public service announcements, as well as information related to incidents, construction and special events, will also appear on the signs, allowing motorists to choose less congested routes.

The travel time messages depend on real-time data collected by a recently expanded travel time system, which now covers many major arterials within Cobb County and freeways in the Atlanta metropolitan area. The data comes from detectors that collect anonymous electronic addresses from motorists’ Bluetooth and wi-fi-enabled mobile devices. DMS messages will be used to support events at SunTrust Park and are coordinated with the traffic and parking planning efforts for Atlanta Braves games.

Existing DMS on area freeways now also provide parking information to allow traffic to take the most direct route to parking areas. Partially funded by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), the project represents a close collaboration between the agency, Cobb County, and the Cities of Marietta and Smyrna.

“The new dynamic signs have exceptional image clarity and are a significant benefit to motorists, offering real-time information to assist in choosing travel paths,” said Jim Wilgus, CCDOT director.

“This is state-of-the art technology that offers Cobb County an additional way to reduce congestion and improve the travel experience. The messaging system software was designed to be flexible, so we expect to make changes to accommodate drivers. As traffic volumes increase with more economic activity, these tools will become critical assets to our strategy to reduce congestion and improve safety. We are pleased that this improvement was implemented quickly and in such a way that there will be long-lasting benefits to multiple agencies.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).