ALDOT launches RTOP program to improve traffic signals region-wide

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Posted 7/15/21

The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) is implementing a new traffic signal program in the Southwest Region called Regional Traffic Operations (RTOP). This five-year program will modernize …

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ALDOT launches RTOP program to improve traffic signals region-wide

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The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) is implementing a new traffic signal program in the Southwest Region called Regional Traffic Operations (RTOP). This five-year program will modernize and improve all 422 signals in the region that are located on state routes. The goal of the program is to reduce user delay and congestion, specifically in urban settings along heavily traveled roadways, and allow for one seamless and efficient traffic grid in the larger MPO areas where often multiple agencies control individual corridors that make up the grid. ALDOT is partnering with a dedicated team of consultants from AECOM and ARCADIS to implement the program which includes outfitting all traffic cabinets on state routes with updated timing plans and hardware that allows for remote signal monitoring. The Department has also invested in a Central Management Software System designed for traffic signals that will allow ALDOT, local agency partners, and consultants to remotely connect to, monitor, and implement changes in real time in response to planned and unplanned events such as crashes, parades, hurricanes, etc. “The right combination of hardware and software allows us to now receive instant notifications via email and text whenever there is a problem at a traffic signal,” said ALDOT Traffic Engineer Adam Spence. “We can now be much more responsive and address problems in a timely manner.” The cost of the program was initially funded by $2.6 Million in state and federal funding; however, additional funding sources from local agency partners and additional federal funds will help facilitate more improvements and make a greater impact than originally planned. “The plan that we have stretches the funding that we have been provided with as much as possible,” said Spence. “We are bringing in outside experts to tackle the issue of delay and congestion at these traffic signals, while employing our own ALDOT forces wherever we can so that we get the most bang for our buck.” While all signals on state routes region-wide are a part of the program, US-45, US-90, US-98, and SR-59 in Mobile and Baldwin Counties will receive the updates first as those are the corridors where traffic volumes and congestion are the highest. RTOP strategies have been implemented thus far along the US-90 corridor in Tillman’s Corner as well as the SR-59 corridor in Loxley with measurable successes and reductions in travel time and delay. ALDOT’s mission is to provide a safe, efficient, environmentally sound transportation network across Alabama.