As many as 270,000 vehicles per day use the I-80 corridor, one of the busiest transportation corridor’s in California’s San Francisco Bay Area. Starting in July 2016, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) began activating elements of the I-80 SMART Corridor Project, a network of integrated electronic signs, ramp meters, and other state-of-the-art elements on the 20-mile stretch of highway between the Carquinez and Bay Bridges. This project implements one of the most sophisticated intelligent transportation systems (ITSs) in California and is designed to enhance motorist safety, improve travel time reliability, and reduce accidents and associated congestion.
Parsons’ scope of work on the project included system design, procurement, development, integration, testing, and training. As system integrator, we developed innovative enhancements to Caltrans’ active traffic management (ATM) system to support ATM scenarios, adaptive ramp metering, and variable advisory speeds. We also served as the subcontractor coordinator, overseeing four subcontractors during the life of the project.
The most familiar elements of the project, such as variable speed and blocked lane signs, allow drivers to make informed decisions if an incident occurs. In addition, real-time ramp metering on 44 on-ramps reduces merging conflicts and manages traffic volumes. Other state-of-the-art elements of this elaborate project include:
Traffic information boards
Local street improvements
The I-80 SMART Corridor Project is California’s first use of large graphical information display board message signs as part of an integrated network of vehicle detection, closed-circuit television (CCTV), electronic signs, smart ramp meters, and traffic signal timing. The I-80 ITS is managed from the Traffic Management Center at the Caltrans Bay Area headquarters in Oakland—the nerve center of the regional freeway network.
Parsons has long been at the forefront of using technology to improve the capacity and safety of roads and highways. In addition to helping California drivers, our ITS expertise aligns with the Bay Area’s focus on technology through its infrastructure, roads, and highways. In 2017, Parsons accepted the Operational Efficiency Project of the Year award from the California Transportation Foundation for the I-80 SMART Corridor Project, which was fully activated in September 2016.