FHWA technology grant to help control congestion on Arizona’s Loop 101


A new US$6m federal grant will help the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and its partner agencies advance the use of technology to help drivers steer clear of congestion on the Loop 101 freeway in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

The project will include development of a Decision Support System to provide drivers on the 60 miles (96km) long Loop 101 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 (MCDOT), several Valley cities, the University of Arizona and Arizona State University, plus Valley Metro, to apply for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) grant as part of that agency’s Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment (ATCMTD) program.

The FHWA 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 will also be outfitted with connected vehicle technology to improve accessibility to destinations while helping people, including senior citizens, who depend on transit services.

The FHWA’s ATCMTD program funds cutting-edge technologies that are ready to be deployed to enhance existing traffic capacity for commuters and businesses. ADOT and its partners have also identified US$27m in existing project funding that, when combined with the US$6m federal grant, will pay for designing and installing the Loop 101 Mobility Project within the next four years.

“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.”

MCDOT’s director, Jennifer Toth, noted, “As Maricopa County grows, technology plays an increasingly important role in keeping people and products on the move. 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.”

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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).