Deployment of Iowa Department of Transportation’s Research and Strategies Expected to Save $ 2 Billion | Iowa

(The Center Square) – The Des Moines metro area would be the first to benefit from research conducted by the Iowa Department of Transportation to reduce traffic and improve safety on freeways surrounding the city.

Benjamin A. Hucker, District 1 traffic operations engineer, told The Center Square in an emailed statement that since the department cannot “build [its] out of the security and congestion problems due to the limited right-of-way and funding constraints ”, he is looking to see if integrated corridor management strategies could help.

As the pandemic has altered traffic patterns, the department is conducting more public education and data analysis before making final decisions on strategies and monitoring any changes in traffic volumes and patterns “to. as we emerge from the pandemic ”.

Hucker continued, “As a result of the study we are completing, the Iowa DOT estimates that approximately $ 900 million could be spent to improve the freeway network in the Des Moines metro area until. 2050. This cost is split almost evenly between the new ICM strategies (using technology to better manage the existing infrastructure already in place today) and the reconstruction of the existing infrastructure (improvements to the two exchange systems – c ‘ ie “mixmasters” – and targeted capacity improvements). “

Integrated corridor management strategies to regulate traffic include the promotion of public transport or teleworking to limit commuters on the roads during peak hours,dynamic use of the shoulder,and ramp measurement. Access ramps, which adapt to traffic, alert drivers if they should stop before entering a freeway, creating wider gaps in traffic to allow for a safer merge. If the project is on schedule, commuters in Des Moines could see ramp meters in 2024 or 2025. If the ministry decides to use them, meters would first be added along the I-235 corridor. Hucker said ramp counters in other parts of the country are typically enforced with “traditional law enforcement methods” and “peer pressure.”

Case studies from other metropolitan areas in the United States have led the department to anticipate “a significant positive impact” on reducing travel times and accidents and increasing traffic flow “at a fraction of the cost.” the construction of additional highway lanes, he said. By reducing congestion, the frequency and severity of collisions “should” decrease, which would increase safety and reduce congestion caused by collisions.

“Compared to an aggressive highway expansion strategy (that is, simply adding more lanes to accommodate the additional traffic), implementing a mix of ICM solutions and targeted reconstruction could save money. nearly $ 2 billion by 2050, ”Hucker said.

There is more information on the online project, including a means for the public submit feedback to the project team. Hucker said as the project team continues to work to determine the impact of the pandemic, they will find ways to garner more public comment.

“Depending on future travel needs and funding, other metropolitan areas in the state may also be explored for potential implementation of ICM strategies to improve their transportation networks as well,” Hucker said.

the Department Interstate traffic data 2018 indicates that Des Moines’ traffic volumes are the highest in the state, Hucker said. Traffic on I-380 around Cedar Rapids, the second most populous city in the state, “is a little less” than the busiest segments of Des Moines and its interstate traffic volumes “appear to be” the second largest in the state overall, he added. Traffic volumes in 2016 in the Des Moines area exceeded 135,000 vehicles per day on average on the busiest portions of I-235, while average daily volumes on rural freeways elsewhere in Iowa were of about 15,000 to 35,000 vehicles per day, Hucker said.

Hucker said the team is not aware of any research showing a link between fuel prices and the use of integrated corridor management strategies or any evidence indicating a negative impact on tourism.

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