Kapsch extends operations contract with Kansas City Scout system


Kapsch TrafficCom will continue to run a bi-state traffic operations system, following its acquisition of the previous suppliers Schneider Electric in April this year.

Kapsch has announced that the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission and the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) have jointly selected the Austrian company to continue providing staff, consulting and operational support to the Kansas and Missouri bi-state traffic management system, known as Kansas City Scout.

Schneider Electric’s North American traffic and transportation division began managing the project in 2011, and the French company continued to do so after its acquisition by the Kapsch TrafficCom Group earlier this year. Schneider’s transportation business then formed a major component of the new Kapsch TrafficCom Transportation division, which provides traffic management center (TMC) operations management and world-class ITS solutions, complementary to existing Kapsch systems and products in the traffic and tolling industry.

Kapsch will continue its lead in TMC operational excellence in the Heartland region by extending its longstanding partnerships with the Kansas and Missouri Departments of Transportation (KDOT and MoDOT). The Kansas City Scout system helps motorists in the Kansas City metropolitan area navigate their trips along optimal routes by providing real-time transportation information and coordinating regional incident management. The Scout system manages approximately 125 miles (201km) of continuous highways in the Kansas City metropolitan area by using cameras to observe live traffic, sensors to gauge traffic flow, and electronic variable message signboards (VMS) along the roadway to send notices to drivers. Together these components comprise a system that can streamline traffic by optimizing rush-hour speeds, improve emergency response to traffic incidents, and decrease congestion by improving traffic flow.

As Kansas City’s driving population has grown, traffic issues such as congestion, accidents and air pollution have become even more prevalent, and technology and traffic management have become the answer. Funding shortages and, in some cases, inadequate room to widen roadways increasingly prohibit new construction and lane additions in the region. Scout’s deployment costs an average of US$573,000 per mile, which compares with a conservative US$3-6m cost per mile for a single new lane of roadway. As well as its TMC operations, KC Scout also powers a website, Apple and Android smartphone applications, and live Twitter, Facebook and YouTube feeds, to keep drivers informed about real-time traffic conditions.

“Diminished funding for transportation is driving the need for technology and innovative solutions, and Scout is helping to lead the way during an age of rapid technological change,” noted Randy Johnson, traffic center manager for Kansas City Scout.

Alfredo Escriba Gallego, senior vice president of NAM and tolling at Kapsch TrafficCom North America, added, “We are proud of this contract extension with Kansas City Scout, because it demonstrates our TMC operations expertise, and the excellence of our day-to-day services provided to the Kansas and Missouri Departments of Transportation.”

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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).