Ohio Department of Transportation—I-670 SmartLane

During  peak hours, a major stretch of I-670 (from downtown Columbus to its east side) consistently held drivers up in traffic, with average speeds of 22 mph and a commute time ranging between 5 minutes and 30 minutes. This heavy congestion and lack of reliability was very frustrating to drivers, especially since additional capacity was only deemed by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) for three hours each day. To address this, ODOT completed the $60 million I-670 SmartLane project (the first of its kind in the state), which focused on the groundbreaking application of technology that included full-color digital signs, cameras, and radar detectors that collected data on traffic speed and density. These all culminated in ODOT’s ability to open the left shoulder as an extra eastbound lane during peak travel times or other times of heavy congestion. When not needed for traffic flow, the SmartLane closes for use by law enforcement, emergency responders, and maintenance crews. ODOT also now has the ability to vary the speed limit based on congestion, allowing the department to manage traffic, not just monitor it.