'Smart Corridor' Project to Ease Peninsula Traffic in Good Times and in Bad

The Caltrans project currently underway in San Mateo County is intended to improve mobility along Highway 101 and its parallel arterial routes, such as El Camino Real.


Consider this scenario:

During rush hour on a Friday evening, a fuel truck transporting a full load of gasoline jackknifes near the Broadway exit on US 101, spilling thousands of gallons of gas across all lanes of traffic, bringing traffic in both directions to a standstill.

Now imagine police, fire, CHP and other emergency responders attempting to reroute traffic from US 101 onto other Peninsula thoroughfares - namely El Camino Real.

The San Mateo County Smart Corridors Project is a compilation of traffic tech tools known as the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS), which is designed to improve mobility along the US 101 corridor and parallel arterial routes - in normal traffic conditions, and during emergencies.

The project is located along routes parallel to the freeway, connecting US 101 to El Camino Real, including and not limited to SR 82 (El Camino Real) between I-380 and the Santa Clara County line. In all, the project will apply this management technology to 20 miles of El Camino Real.

By deploying ITS along state routes and major streets, Caltrans and individual cities will be able to implement traffic management strategies.

According to an article on the Department of Transportation (DOT) website, one of the major benefits of the project is that it will link more than 250 state and local traffic signals – enabling the signal timing to be adjusted remotely to better manage the flow of traffic during incidents, eliminating the need to drive to the signal to make adjustments.

“Drivers will benefit from this innovative use of technology,” said Rich Napier, executive director of the City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County.

“When a traffic incident occurs, motorists will be provided with real-time information to help them choose whether to remain on the highway, choose a detour, or travel to the nearest public transit station.”

A variety of ITS equipment and components will be installed, including: directional signs (known as “trailblazers" ), fixed or pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV), communications (conduit, fiber, copper, wireless, software, and associated equipment), changeable message signs (Arterial Dynamic Message Signs, or ADMS) to guide motorists through detour routes during freeway incidents, vehicle detection systems, center-to-center communications between San Mateo County Hub (SMCHub) and District 4 Traffic Management Center (D4TMC), and power supply line and equipment.

The most current estimated cost of this project is $35 million; approximately $30 million will be covered by state grants. No local funds will be used in this project, which is sponsored by City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County (C/CAG).  

According to the project manager, Parviz Mokhtari, Caltrans will be doing all the work on El Camino Real from Redwood City to Highway 380. The project is expected to be completed by October, 2013.

The San Mateo County Department of Public Works (DPW) is the agency responsible for the contract administration of the local roads project, and each city’s public works department will provide information on local road closures, and other project updates.

Does this make you hopeful that maybe traffic in the area will be calmed? What do you think of this proposed project? Tell us in the comments.


Also on Redwood City-Woodside Patch:

  • 'HELP' Finds Local Entities Guilty of Housing Discrimination
  • Woodside High Teen Caught with Cocaine and Pot at School
  • City Greenlights Controversial Laurel Way Development
  • Popular Redwood City Farmers Market Canceled
  • Cleanup of Woodside Rd/El Camino Interchange Underway

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RWCReader April 06, 2013 at 04:32 AM
This area continues to build new housing, and continues to approve growth so how will you address more population and cars?


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