Minnesota spreads traffic management wealth
- By Eric Kulisch
- Sep 12, 2000
Traffic planners in Minnesota are finding that motorists in smaller, growing
cities can benefit as much as large metropolitan areas from advanced traffic
management systems. So the state's Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT)
is adapting the system it has in Minneapolis/St. Paul for outlying areas.
Mn/DOT completed installation of its traffic management system for Duluth
late this summer and will finish a similar system for St. Cloud in spring
2001, said department spokesman Andrew Brown. Travelers and transportation
officials in those cities will benefit from field devices that provide traffic
surveillance, speed and volume data, and ice detection.
Duluth, with a population of 86,000, is a large port city on the western
end of Lake Superior. It has 184,000 people living within a 30-mile radius
of the hilly city and experiences lake-effect fog, snow and ice, making
it an ideal candidate for traffic safety improvements.
The centerpiece of the system is the Transportation and Operation Communication
Center (TOCC). It uses software to gather data from and control variable
speed limit signs, permanent and mobile dynamic message signs, cameras,
ice detection and virtual vehicle counting systems, and a traveler information
kiosk at a local mall. It works via telephone lines, cable and wireless
ADDCO Inc., St. Paul, is the prime contractor and integrator for the Duluth
and St. Cloud projects, the combined value of which is $5.4 million, said
Tom Peters, contract manager for Mn/DOT's Office of Advanced Transportation
Systems. Federal dollars paid for the majority of the project, he said.
Mn/DOT officials plan to link communications from each TOCC to create a
statewide incident response network.