Nominee: Innovative Management – Small Project
“With the placement of ODOT’s real-time traffic information system, travelers gain a clear understanding of the traffic flow in and around area work zones. Along with that understanding comes a confidence which is instilled in drivers and allows them to focus more on the dangers associated with driving, especially through congested areas such as Tulsa’s Interstate system.”
Lt. George Brown
A new effort by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to give instant information about work zones in the Tulsa area proved to be a success in 2009. A project to replace the deteriorating decks on three bridges, all within a short distance of an intersection for two major highways, was the site for the first Smart Work Zone in Tulsa. This system of several message boards and traffic sensors relayed real-time information about conditions inside the work-zone, allowing 80,000 drivers each day to better anticipate slower speeds or lane closures ahead, or to find an alternate route if needed.
With the intersection of these highways reduced to half their lane capacities during the project, the messaging system made a noticeable difference in keeping traffic flowing through the work-zone. This innovative approach to providing critical traffic information received extensive media attention in Tulsa, which further helped drivers understand how the message boards could help their commute.
Given the success of this Smart Work Zone system, subsequent projects in the Tulsa area are now incorporating this technology. As of May 2010, six major construction projects are using this system, and the series of message boards throughout the city are located along every major highway.