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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Posting Travel Times on Arterial Routes

I work in a few different locations during the week, and I use the overhead message boards (at least when they have travel times) to at least give me an idea of what I can expect on the roadway ahead.

When I am traveling west on I-70 out of the city in the evening, I can tell if there has been a crash on the road ahead long before I hit the city limits. There's a nice overhead message board that tells me how long I can expect to be on the road if I am heading toward I-270. If I see the sign indicating that it's about 25 minutes to I-270, I know there's some slowdown in traffic ahead. Depending on what other information is available (perhaps an crash location or lanes closed ahead) I can even make an early decision to change my route to something that may be a little longer, but will be faster in the long run.

Now, MoDOT is putting that same technology to work on some of the other major roads in the city. Right now, Route 94 in St. Charles has smaller versions of the message boards active and providing travel times betwen I-70 and Route 40. In the next few months, we'll be installing and turning on similar boards on Route 141 and Lindbergh (Route 67).

MoDOT put these boards up at decision points -- major intersecting highways and river crossings at I-70, Route 364 and Route 40/61. Paying attention to the information these signs provide can help drivers make better choices about which roadways or bridges they want to use.

At the least, it gives them the option to decide if they want to spend some time with their fellow travelers in congestion or choose a different route.

Andrew Gates
MoDOT Community Relations