HERE has recently been chosen by the Michigan, Georgia, Alabama and Missouri state departments of transportation to provide traffic information that will allow those states to tackle everyday traffic problems and provide planning insights.
In this post, we see how Missouri chose HERE to allow faster reactions, radically improved awareness and to help inform decisions on its future development.
“Everything we do is centered on our customers, mainly the travelling public,” says Jon Nelson, a Traffic Management & Operations Engineer at the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). “We have a responsibility to not only keep customers safe, but to also keep their trips reliable and efficient. We need to minimize congestion when we can and give people the up-to-date information they need to avoid that congestion.”
Doing this requires timely, accurate information across the state, and this is why MoDOT turned to HERE for its real-time traffic data.
“Previously, we’ve only had real-time traffic conditions through roadside sensors on major highways in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas. For the rest of the state, the only way to know how traffic was moving was to be on scene, have cameras in the area, or receive a phone call from the public,” Jon says. “This method can be very subjective and we rarely had real traffic data to point back to.”
Since investing in HERE Traffic, MoDOT has considerably more visibility of the overall traffic picture.
“This data gives us state-wide information for thousands of miles of roads,” says Jon. “We can make decisions based on accurate data rather than guesswork. We can measure travel times, and provide information to give people more realistic expectations. We can also analyze crashes, work zones and weather to see their impact instantly.”
HERE data covers 25,000 miles of roads in Missouri, including both directions.
MoDOT has set up its traffic software to provide HERE-powered text message alerts to its staff, filtered for the roads or regions for which they bear responsibility. This allows them to quickly react to situations either by putting messages onto dynamic message signage, or by dispatching teams to tackle the problem at the scene.
“It’s all about a quicker response,” says Jon.
In winter, fighting the impact of falling snow becomes a number one priority – the battle even has its own name: “snow fights.”
“It’s one of our most visible and closely watched services,” says Jon.
“Knowing where and when to send plows has historically been managed by the crews on the road. It can be very manual and labor intensive,” he continues. HERE traffic information has allowed the department to make its efforts more efficient and targeted.
“While we still rely on drivers in the field, the HERE data helps in that it shows a strong correlation between accumulation on the roadway and traffic speeds. Once again, it gives us more instantaneous situational awareness. It’s becoming one of the key tools in our toolbox when it comes to monitoring conditions.”
HERE Traffic is also starting to help inform the state’s strategic planning. Different regions have their own metropolitan or regional planning commissions, and they work with MoDOT to decide the priorities for work.
“Now we all have the ability to carry out an objective analysis of the different requests. Rather than having requests like ‘we feel like this road needs an extra lane’, we can look into the data and perhaps determine more cost-effective and targeted solutions to a given problem,” concludes Jon.
Stay tuned to see how HERE is helping other U.S. transporation departments make better-informed decisions, and get drivers to their destinations safe and reliably.
Image credits: HERE and Missouri Department of Transportation