INDOT smart speed signs aim to reduce congestion through construction zones

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BARTHOLOMEW CO., Ind. (Speed signs that make traffic less likely, and can keep drivers and highway workers safer are being tested on one Indiana highway.

For the first time in Indiana, smart speed signs are being tested on I-65.

Who hasn’t hit highway traffic at a construction site with cars screeching to a halt for miles, all in an effort to obey the construction zone speed signs?

Well what if we told you there are smart speed signs in highway construction zones that could change the speed limit based on real time traffic patterns? For instance, the heavier the traffic the slower the speed would be, with real time reflections of the road.

Well those signs are not off waiting in the future; they’re already the reality in Indiana.

“The dynamic speed sign allows us to adjust the speeds entering a work zone in real time based on what the traffic ahead looks like,” said INDOT Spokesperson, Harry Maginity.

Three smart speed signs are being tested on I-65 northbound near Edinburgh. The signs sit within a construction zone and can vary based on traffic flow; anywhere from 45 to 70 miles per hour.

“So if traffic slows going into a construction zone, we’re able to adjust those signs from 70 to 55 to 45 mph as need be in real time to adjust to traffic and hopefully we’ll decrease rear end accidents,” said Maginity.

INDOT officials say smart speed signs can cut down on not only rear end accidents, but dangers presented to roadside construction crews.

The signs will also work to keep traffic moving. If there’s no active work at a construction site, there’s no real reason to slow down.

“This allows us to actually raise it to 70 mph which should help drivers who get frustrated, when they say why am I driving so slow and there’s nobody out here working,” said Maginity.

These are the first signs of their kind in Indiana. Elsewhere, they are used for much more than construction sites. In Seattle, the signs are used to ease congestion during rush hour.

“As far as what we might be able to do, where we might be able to place them in the future, well the sky’s the limit,” said Maginity.

The three Indiana signs are being rented as a part of a $21 million resurfacing project on a stretch of I-65 near Edinburgh. The success of the signs will determine where else they are used in the future.

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