The Illinois Tollway collects detailed traffic information from cameras, weather stations, road sensors and, for the first time, Tollway drivers themselves to more efficiently manage traffic flow, reduce congestion and respond more quickly to roadway incidents.
The Tollway’s successful transition to using data gathered from drivers by Waze and other outside sources to improve its operations and better serve its customers has been honored as Project of the Year by the Intelligent Transportation Society of the Midwest, a roadway industry group.
All of the data collected flows into the Tollway’s Traffic and Incident Management System, where it is processed and reported in real time to stakeholders that include roadway maintenance workers, emergency responders, media outlets and is also sent via Twitter to customers.
Waze is a navigation app that provides real-time, location-based information from drivers using its GPS services. By accessing this data, the Tollway operations staff has the ability to quickly identify and respond to crashes and other roadway incidents. Clearing roadway incidents rapidly helps cut traffic backups and reduces the potential for other, secondary crashes.
The data-sharing partnership also allows Tollway drivers to receive advance warnings on crashes, stalled vehicles and roadway debris that could cause traffic congestion.
Currently, Waze is providing more than 5,000 traffic event reports monthly to the Tollway’s Traffic Operations Center, which monitors roadway operations and incident responses.
The Tollway is continuing to add additional technology to improve its system and the services it provides to its 1.6 million daily drivers.
In addition to using data from Waze, the Tollway is evaluating driving data obtained from three additional companies: HERE, INRIX and Verizon to determine the best way to incorporate that information into ongoing Tollway projects, including the $4 billion reconstruction of a 22-mile segment of the Central Tri-State Tollway.
The Tollway also has begun testing a wrong-way driving detection and alert system that uses traffic data from roadside sensors to provide rapid warning to customers of a possible wrong-way driver.