Jacobs to design active traffic management system for I-76 corridor in Pennsylvania


Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. has been awarded a 10-year, multi-million dollar contract from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to design a long-range, comprehensive, multi-modal transportation management system for Interstate 76.

PennDOT’s Active Traffic Management (ATM) Project aims to improve travel along the Interstate 76 (Schuylkill Expressway) Corridor in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Jacobs will provide systems engineering and alternatives analysis, preliminary engineering, final design, right-of-way acquisition services, and construction consultation to provide improvements on I-76 and supporting arterials between the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-276) and US Route 1 interchanges to enable active traffic management. These improvements may include: part-time shoulder use, connected vehicle applications, variable speed limit signs, and queue detection/warning components.

To complement part-time shoulder use on I-76, PennDOT may include these additional ATM strategies:

• Ramp Metering – Red and green traffic signals to control the frequency that vehicles enter the flow of traffic from entrance ramps to increase throughput during peak hours and increase expressway speeds;

• Junction Control – The use of overhead electronic signs over travel lanes to regulate or close lanes at merge areas to improve traffic flow at high volume interchanges, based on the relative demand on the mainline and ramps during different hours of the day;

• Dynamic Lane Assignments – Overhead electronic signs provide information for each travel lane on the expressway to identify open lanes and alert drivers of upcoming lane closures due to crashes or disabled vehicles;

• Multi-Modal Enhancements – Use various modes of travel, including automobile, public transit, bicycling and walking, to take advantage of viable options along the corridor, including the Schuylkill River Trail and other nearby trails, which are used for recreation as well as commuting.

“The importance of this corridor to the Philadelphia region cannot be overstated,” said PennDOT’s transportation secretary, Leslie S Richards. “It’s imperative that we take advantage of new technologies and partner with Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) and other key stakeholders and partners like Jacobs to offer citizens better options for travel between Philadelphia and the northwest suburbs.”

Jacobs’ buildings and infrastructure president, Bob Pragada, commented, “The proposed upgrades to the Schuylkill Expressway represent the convergence of innovative technology and infrastructure that will directly improve the quality of life for the commuting public in the Philadelphia metropolitan region. PennDOT has entrusted us to help create forward-focused, flexible yet practical travel solutions for this region, drawing on our broad transportation capabilities and experience from across the world.”

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About Author


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).