The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) announced today that it has begun posting travel time information on a segment of I-95 to assist motorists in planning their routes during heavily traveled periods.
Utilizing existing RIDOT technology and equipment, travel times to Exit 13, which services T.F. Green Airport, will be posted on three overhead message boards on I-95 South, starting at the Massachusetts state line. The information will benefit commuters seeking alternate routes around I-95 South during peak travel hours, and those looking to catch a flight at the State's major airport.
Posting travel times not only provides useful information to motorists, but can help divert traffic and ease congestion on the highway during peak periods.
"We're pleased to be able to offer this service to the public simply by using resources the State already has in place," RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said. "States that have already employed this technology have been met with an overwhelmingly positive response."
The travel times are calculated using RIDOT sensors that were previously put into place to measure traffic volumes. The equipment measures the speed of traffic in real time as vehicles travel from one sensor to another, and determines an approximate travel time for each segment of road along the route. For the first phase of the project, the information will be displayed on overhead message boards located along I-95 South at East Street in Pawtucket, Smithfield Avenue in Pawtucket and Laurens Street in Cranston.
Travel time information will be displayed from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Emergency messages due to a vehicle crash or an Amber Alert will take precedence, and travel times will not return until the incident is cleared.
The next phase of the plan will bring the same information to the northbound side of the highway, offering travel times from Exit 13 to the Massachusetts state line. As the capability of the equipment increases, RIDOT will expand the number of signs displaying the information and the number of destinations along those routes.
Several states, including Texas and Pennsylvania, have been providing travel time information for years. In surveys conducted by the Texas Department of Transportation, about 82 percent of motorists found the information to be an asset, and most respondents requested more travel time signs and expanded coverage.
Future phases will extend the service to I-295, I-195, Route 4 and the southern portion of I-95 to calculate travel times to popular destinations like South County and Newport.
Those with questions can contact RIDOT's Customer Service office at 401-222-2450 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Additional information will be available on RIDOT's website (www.dot.ri.gov) and its social media sites on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Blogger.
Contact: Bryan Lucier 401-222-1362 x4012