Maryland and Pennsylvania to upgrade roadway technologies


Two states in eastern USA have taken steps to upgrade their roadway infrastructure, with Maryland aiming to improve its collection and dissemination of traffic information, and Pennsylvania planning to install a fiber-optic cable along the state’s Turnpike.

CSRA State and Local Solutions LLC has received a contract from the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) to continue providing IT engineering and software development to improve roadway information to the agency and public, enabling proactive management of the state’s ground transportation system.

The Coordinated Highways Action Response Team (CHART) contract is valued at US$56m, over 10 years, if all options are exercised. CSRA is enhancing Maryland’s Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) through advanced geospatial tools, traffic cameras, and process automation, which assist CHART operators and other stakeholders in planning for, and responding to, events on the roadways, while simultaneously providing real-time traffic condition updates. The CHART program has expanded to a statewide, integrated traffic management system, with data exports to other agencies and neighboring states.

The software that underpins CHART, allows the SHA to assess and regulate traffic disruptions and inform citizens of traffic conditions, which are displayed on overhead electronic message boards, as well as updated on the ‘MD 511’ traffic information line.

Pennsylvania’s Public-Private Partnership (P3) Board has approved a PA Turnpike Commission project to install fiber along the 550 mile (885km) toll road, and extensions to provide communication capacity for the commission, state Department of Transportation (PennDOT), and other commonwealth needs. Through the fiber project, the Turnpike Commission would establish a partnership through which the private partner would design, build, finance, operate and maintain the fiber-optic cable, allowing the partner to market and lease the remaining communications capacity after the state’s needs are met. A wireless mesh overlay would be installed over the fiber, which would be designed and built by the partner and turned over to the Turnpike Commission in the future for maintenance.

The Commission is pursuing a P3 model for the project, because bonding the fiber’s construction would take away resources from other Turnpike capital improvements. The Turnpike Commission will begin seeking industry input and, in October, expects to request statements of qualifications from the private sector. The Commission expects to select a preferred proposer in June 2017, and aims to have portions of the fiber installed and operational in 2018.

“Because of the limited expandability and increasing maintenance costs of our aging microwave backbone, it is imperative, from an operational viewpoint, to develop a fiber-optic network for the future,” said PA Turnpike CEO, Mark Compton. “The backbone is one of our most critical communications tools, carrying tolling data, and connecting traffic management devices, such as Intelligent Transportation Systems. Just as important, we need a network capable of handling tomorrow’s data challenges, including connected vehicles. A P3 will enable us to focus Turnpike capital dollars on rebuilding our 75-year-old highway system and other key ground-transportation improvements.”

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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).