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Big benefits come with Integrated Corridor Management

How transportation departments tackle congestion, delays, and crashes by utilizing roadway capacity

Integrated Corridor Management (ICM) initiatives are basic plans that connect roadway users, the road, and work zones and allow for effective communication. They are vital to advancing roadway safety and countering common challenges such as congestion, traffic delays, and crashes.

In 2007, the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) announced a new national ICM initiative to address the increasing congestion and delays that were occurring across the country. The department reported that businesses were losing around $200 billion annually because freight vehicles were getting tied up in traffic congestion. Additionally, the U.S. DOT found motorists were wasting about 4 billion hours of their time from being stuck in traffic, and they were also wasting more than 2 billion gallons of fuel.

“Traffic congestion, delays, and crashes that result from back up queues are a serious problem that can be resolved or mitigated with options on our highway systems that allow operators to dynamically shift travel demand,” said ATSSA Senior Technical Advisor Eric Perry. “Many state transportation departments have partnered with the U.S. DOT to implement Integrated Corridor Management programs and have included them in their Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMOs), which has proven to be effective at increasing safety on roadways via utilizing the full capacity of highways and offering alternate methods of travel.”

According to the U.S. DOT, there are several benefits of incorporating ICM initiatives to strategic and operational plans, including:
• Optimizing current transportation within highway corridors;
• Increasing the value of investments (i.e., time, money, and labor for more efficient roadways;
• Allowing motorists to make better travel decisions;
• Reducing incidents, travel time and delays, and fuel consumption; and
• Increasing the predictability and reliability of travel times.

There are ongoing initiatives of many state and local transportation agencies, including the Pima County Department of Transportation (PCDOT) in Tucson, Arizona. Seth Chalmers, an engineer with the department, said PCDOT shifted more of its focus to developing TSMO strategies including ICM initiatives after the recession in 2007 to make better investments and make the county’s roadways more efficient for less cost.

“Some of the problems in our industry right now are we still are looking at these things in silos. We have a safety need over here. We have infrastructure or maintenance over there and capital improvement over here,” Chalmers said. “We’re working to make our transportation systems seamless—from the planning stages to ensuring they include multiple modes of transportation to make our roads more efficient for all roadways users.”

Other locations implementing ICM initiatives include Dallas, Texas; Houston, Texas; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Montgomery County, Maryland; Oakland, California, San Antonio, Texas, San Diego, California; and Seattle, Washington.

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