Clark School Research Predicts Drivers' Commutes

Civil and environmental engineering Professor Gang-Len Chang's Traffic and Safety Operations Lab is working with the state of Maryland to develop new technologies for estimating travel times on sections of some of the state's busiest highways.

Chang is collaborating with Maryland's State Highway Administration (SHA). Together, they have posted ten temporary roadside sensors that detect traffic speeds and volumes along a 20-mile segment of eastbound I-70 heading towards the beltway around Baltimore (I-695). As conditions change, estimated travel times are automatically updated on five portable message signs located along the route.

This technology is expected to provide motorists with accurate, timely information during daily trips and encourage alternate routes to bypass congestion along eastbound I-70.

The ultimate goal of the project is to expand similar technology to other locations across the state to provide the traveling public with accurate travel time estimates. The project along I-70 was selected due to the recurring daily congestion eastbound toward Baltimore.

The $310,000 project, which is jointly funded by SHA and the Federal Highway Administration, will be in place through late July. Upon completion of the pilot project, Prof. Chang's lab will analyze the data to measure its validity and usefulness to the traveling public.

Published June 14, 2006