IB performed the ITS integration for Flex Route – MDOT’s first active traffic management system on US-23. Flex Route was implemented along US-23 between M-14 and just south of M-36 in Washtenaw and Livingston counties in order to manage congestion and improve safety. This innovative traffic system decreases travel times overall and also improves travel time reliability. Before Flex Route, travel times along US-23 could vary widely according to traffic conditions. Now, travel times during peak traffic conditions and non-peak conditions are much more closely aligned, making travel time much more predictable.
Flex Route utilizes lane control signs, dynamic message signs, CCTV, and microwave vehicle detectors to dynamically and intelligently provide motorists with an additional travel lane during peak travel times. This system allows selective utilization of existing lane capacity, such as the shoulder lane along US-23, instead of adding lanes at significant expense. Flex Route also eases traffic congestion in other ways, such as dynamic speed limit signs that can alter the speed limit to more evenly distribute the flow of traffic as needed.
Integral Blue’s Role on the Project
IB programmed the lane control and dynamic message signs used to implement Flex Route’s traffic management system. IB configured the sensors and cameras necessary to monitor traffic and dynamically react to changing conditions. IB also built up the components in the roadside cabinets and spliced the fiber optic cables that connect all of Flex Route’s components together. To ensure that all of these intricate systems functioned properly, IB created a large-scale mock-up in a lab using multiple signs to test the system before it was fully implemented.
In integrating US-23 Flex Route, IB was able to navigate unique circumstances and still produce timely, quality results. For example, the US-23 Flex Route project required that the system be implemented without shutting down all traffic on US-23 – both northbound and southbound lanes were required to remain open during integration. To meet this challenge, IB used detailed planning, phasing, and constant coordination with team partners. Construction and integration locations and times were planned to allow traffic to remain open at all times. Techniques such as strategic lane shifts were used to keep traffic flowing, even while integration was underway. IB coordinated well with other team members on the job to keep the project moving in a timely and efficient manner and was able to successfully complete the US-23 Flex Route project on time and on schedule for the State’s ribbon cutting ceremony.
IB continues to provide maintenance for US-23 Flex Route, including overnight response where necessary.