HATTIESBURG — The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) has completed several comprehensive Intelligent Technology Systems (ITS) projects in Hattiesburg, which involved the installation of fiber optic cable, additional traffic cameras, vehicle detection systems, Highway Advisory Radio systems (HAR), and seven dynamic message signs (DMS) to the gateways of Hattiesburg.
With the state-of-the-art ITS components now installed along U.S. Highway 49, U.S. Highway 98 and Interstate 59 in Hattiesburg, most of the region’s traffic signals are now combined into one system. The regional ACTRA signal server is located at MDOT’s Hattiesburg Regional Traffic Management Center (TMC) in District Six Headquarters.
According to MDOT ITS Program Manager Mike Stokes, through communications to the region’s signals, timings may be controlled remotely, and multiple plans may be configured and implemented from inside the center. Traffic engineers may view real time traffic from the system’s cameras and if conditions warrant, implement new, special event, or emergency plans. The goal is to be able to improve drive times and congestion by reducing the starts and stops for motorists, which will also result in a “green” benefit through reduced fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
“Along with the signal timing efficiency benefits, the system will also enable TMC operators to provide drivers with roadway information using the system’s DMS and HAR, allowing them to make informed travel decisions. In addition, operations staff will be able to assist response and emergency personnel during accidents or severe weather events, such as winter storms and hurricane evacuations through Hattiesburg,” said Stokes.
While state and local TMC operators are currently using the ITS components, the projects are under a contractual testing period until July 30. Live video from the camera system may be viewed inside the Hattiesburg Regional TMC and will be sent to www.mstraffic.com. From a video monitoring wall, TMC operations staff will use the system to observe traffic flow, manage roadway incidents and assist emergency personnel. Operators will use the system’s DMS and HAR to alert motorists of incidents, congestion, road work, weather, or event traffic ahead. This will allow motorists to potentially alter their route to avoid congestion, thus reducing secondary incidents, and improving mobility and safety throughout the region.