Research and Technology

Part of the ICM approach involves using new technologies to understand and ultimately manage a corridor. Many of these technologies have become nearly universal in the last several years: the internet, mobile communications, sensors of all sorts, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), social networking technologies, data analytics, and "big data" computing. By bringing these technologies together in dynamic and flexible ways, researchers are beginning to understand road network performance at a level of temporal and spatial detail never before possible. This understanding offers the potential to optimize the performance of road systems, both by helping transportation operators manage those systems and by engaging with travelers directly.

Building an ICM system

Connected Corridors is using the capabilities and information available through these technologies to build a prototype ICM system. The fundamental steps in this technical effort are:

  1. Gather data about corridor behavior from many different sources.
  2. Develop mathematical models that accurately describe current traffic conditions in the corridor and can predict what they will look like in the near future (over the next five minutes, fifteen minutes, one hour, etc.).
  3. Build software that uses the models to help traffic managers choose the best interventions to improve traffic flow.
  4. Develop communication interfaces and connections so traffic managers can centrally control the corridor elements (ramp meters, traffic signals, etc.) necessary to improve traffic conditions.
  5. Integrate traveler communication into the system so travelers can get corridor information in multiple ways (changeable message signs, mobile phone apps, social networks, advisory radio, websites, etc.).

Deploying ICM strategies

Once developed, the ICM system—to be piloted on I-210 near Los Angeles—would make it possible to deploy a range of strategies, either individually or in combination, to reduce congestion and improve mobility along the corridor. These could include:
Strategy Benefit
Coordination of freeway ramp meters and arterial signal systems Leverage the capacity of both freeway and arterials to help traffic around congestion or incidents
Arterial signal synchronization Optimize traffic flow along arterial streets
Dynamic route guidance and flow rerouting Offer alternative routes around congested areas
Transit signal priority Accelerate transit service by giving buses priority on arterials and on-ramps
Real-time travel demand monitoring Enable transportation managers to see the actual extent and locations of traffic demand on the corridor
Smart parking Locate available parking spaces at transit stations and private parking garages
Traveler communication Provide information on traffic conditions, transit services, parking, alternate route/trip/mode options
Mode and time shift incentivization Motivate travelers to change how (car, bus, bicycle, etc.) and when they travel

These and other possible strategies would all be aimed at helping people and goods travel through the corridor in easier, safer, faster, and more sustainable ways.