A New Project in Dallas Aims to Ease Traffic Congestion

Called Integrated Corridor Management, the program emphasizes coordination across all transportation agencies.
by | August 26, 2013

It's a dilemma just about every driver has encountered: You're stuck on the freeway, and traffic is moving at a snail's pace. Is there an accident, you ask yourself, or is it just typical congestion? Should you exit and take the feeder road, or stick with the interstate? A new, local program could help give motorists more clarity in just these types of situations.

This October, transportation officials in the Dallas area will debut a new program known as Integrated Corridor Management (ICM) along U.S. 75, which extends 28 miles from the city to its northern suburbs. Under the program, all transportation assets in an area are treated as part of a single system. In other words, trains, highways, surface streets and so on will be taken into account when deciding how best to keep traffic flowing, especially when something goes wrong. "What you're going to experience is a more reliable trip, less congestion and less queuing," says Koorosh Olyai, who led the ICM project while assistant vice president for mobility programs development at Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART). Olyai now works in the private sector for the firm Stantec, but continues to assist DART on the project.

Dallas was selected by the U.S. Department of Transportation as a pilot site for ICM because it's highly congested -- the fifth most congested city in the U.S. -- and it's getting worse. U.S. 75 also represents the perfect place to test the concept, given the range of transportation assets along the corridor: a freeway with frontage roads, managed HOV lanes, a tollway, 167 miles of arterials, bus routes, a light rail line and 900 traffic signals. The highway itself carries about 250,000 vehicles every weekday.

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"All the agencies were really facing a situation where, alone, we'd pretty much done everything we could to make things better," says Robert Saylor, transportation engineering and operations manager with the city of Richardson, a Dallas suburb. "The only way to improve beyond what we're doing would be to do some coordinated actions."

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