The top priority after an accident or other incident is to ensure public safety. Beyond that, if the road infrastructure has been damaged or an area becomes inaccessible, the local network will have to be adjusted with the least possible disruption to the region. Importantly, using big data and analytics allows agencies to more effectively manage and coordinate during an event, then conduct comprehensive after action reviews so that future events can be handled more efficiently and cost-effectively.
On Thursday, March 30, 2017, a fire started underneath a viaduct on I-85 about six miles north of downtown Atlanta. The bridge collapsed at about 7 p.m. that evening.
The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) responded to the fire by closing all five lanes of the highway in each direction, so that the area was emptied prior to the bridge’s collapse, then set up local and regional detour plans. The I-95 Corridor Coalition (The Coalition) supported GDOT’s travel information actions, while RITIS tools were used demonstrate how to monitor traffic conditions, evaluate performance impact and enhance collaborative decision-making.
Here’s how the event was managed and evaluated:
GDOT used Trend Map was used to compare the congestion impacts on the day of the bridge collapse with the day before and day after. This helped operators understand temporal and spatial shifts in traffic. This intelligence information was used to adjust detour routings and signal timings to better manage overall traffic flow.
The User Delay Cost Analysis tool was used to identify a number of impacts the bridge collapse had on the regional roadway network, most notably the increase in overall delay and user cost increases.
The Coalition stood up RITIS Meeting (a Situational Awareness Web Conferencing tool) and an open conference line for GDOT to coordinate the responses Friday, March 31st, and conducted “Mock exercises” to demonstrate potential future use by operators in real-time collaborative decision-making.
After the meeting ends, all participants are sent a link to an auto-generated Meeting Log that includes:
To learn more about the I-85 Atlanta Bridge Collapse, see this presentation from the June 2017 RITIS User Group Meeting.
The Delaware River bridge connects the PA and NJ Turnpikes, serving 42,000 motorists each day. On Friday, January 20, 2017, a fractured steel truss was spotted under the bridge decking on the PA side of the bridge, necessitating an immediate closure.
PennDOT rerouted local traffic, aiming to minimize disruption to local traffic. During this period, local roads and three other bridges were burdened with larger-than-normal traffic levels, making it critical to monitor travel times, identify congestion increases and quickly identify when an incident occurs to ensure minimal traffic impact.
A Regional Traffic Management Plan process was put in place, and was being adjusted daily to respond to problems, so PennDOT’s Traffic Management Center operators had to monitor the effectiveness of its rerouting response.
PennDOT has used Dashboard for other purposes, such as the Papal Visit, work zone monitoring, critical roadway network monitoring, and more.