Operations & Supporting Infrastructure

Operations & supporting infrastructure refers to features and enhancements made to roads, roadsides, and transportation facilities that support the movement of people and goods across a transportation network. It includes concepts like Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), as well as road and roadside treatments for safety, congestion, or accommodating multiple modes or travel.

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  • Active traffic management (ATM) includes a broad range of strategies for managing traffic dynamically based on current or expected conditions in order to improve the efficiency and safety of the transportation system. ATM strategies include ramp metering, variable speed limits, queue warning, and traveler information systems.

  • Dynamic lane assignment strategies repurpose road space based on current or expected demand conditions in order to improve the efficiency and safety of the transportation system. Dynamic lane assignment strategies include reversible lanes on highways and arterials, merge (or junction) control on highway ramps, and part-time highway shoulder use.

  • Automated speed enforcement (ASE) and red light running (RLR) enforcement use cameras to detect traffic law infractions and provide photo or video documentation of the vehicle or driver violating the law. These automated programs enforce speed limits and traffic signal compliance to improve safety and reduce congestion.

  • Intersection conflict and trail conflict warning systems are traffic control devices that provide road users with a real-time, dynamic warning of vehicles or pedestrians that are approaching or waiting to enter an intersection or crossing.

  • Parallel route usage and improvements manage traffic shifting from congested roads to underutilized roads, in order to reduce congestion and create route efficiencies.

  • Ramp closures are the temporary, part-time (for specific parts of the day), or permanent closure on highway entrance or exit ramps. Ramps are typically closed where interchanges are spaced closely together, regular congestion occurs on the highway, a high-collision rate occurs at the ramp, or on ramps with compromised visibility.  

  • Ramp metering is an active traffic management (ATM) strategy that uses traffic signals at freeway on-ramps to control the number of vehicles entering the freeway to keep vehicles moving more efficiently.

  • Reversible lanes allow agencies to switch the direction of traffic flow during certain times and conditions. They are typically used during peak commuting hours to add capacity in one direction.

  • Traffic detectors are a critical part of any intelligent transportation system. They collect data about the current traffic conditions so that transportation management and operations decisions can be made.

  • Traffic incident management (TIM) operations includes the process to quickly detect, verify, respond, manage and clear traffic incidents with the appropriate personnel and equipment. This can improve safety for responders as well as reduce the likelihood of secondary collisions and congestion resulting from the incident.  

  • Transit service planning is used to determine what type of transit service to provide, where to provide it, how much, and when. Planning is tailored to the needs of a particular location and helps develop safe and reliable travel options. Transit operations implements the transit service developed during planning.

  • Variable speed limits (VSL) is an active traffic management (ATM) strategy that uses dynamic speed limit signs to slow traffic before and through adverse conditions on the freeway to improve safety and keep traffic moving efficiently.

  • Wrong-way driver detection uses sensors on freeway off-ramps to detect vehicles driving in the wrong direction. The system alerts the driver of their mistake, warns nearby travelers, informs agency staff at a central traffic management center of the need to monitor the situation, and notifies law enforcement so that they can prevent a collision.