TDOT SmartWay Opens in Knox

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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TDOT SmartWay Opens in Knox

Posted: 05/09/2005
Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner Gerald Nicely along with Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam started the countdown, and with the press of a button today, launched TDOT SmartWay - Knoxville’s new intelligent transportation system.

The new system, controlled from the state-of-the-art Transportation Management Center at the Knoxville TDOT headquarters, is expected to make highway travel in the region safer, and more user-friendly. TDOT SmartWay uses advanced technology that includes 70 cameras, 16 electronic message boards, more than 200 speed congestion monitoring stations to spot traffic flow interruptions and highway advisory radio stations that broadcast on AM frequency 1620 .

This equipment is used to provide up-to-the-minute traffic information to drivers so they can avoid congested areas. At the same time, it gives TDOT the tools it needs to better monitor traffic delays and more quickly respond to road problems.“Widening highways in urban areas cannot be the only option for improving congestion. Utilizing this technology allows us to communicate directly with motorists so they can make smarter choices on the highway as they go about their day,” TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely said. “Our first TDOT SmartWay system which was initiated in Nashville two years ago has made a big difference in helping clear up incidents, some by as much as thirty minutes.”“We’ve really been looking forward to the opening of TDOT SmartWay. People who live in or drive through Knoxville are tired of being stuck in traffic because of incidents, road maintenance, and highway construction. While we can’t get rid of the orange barrels, TDOT SmartWay can help drivers know what to expect before they leave their homes or offices,” said Mayor Haslam. “This system will especially be a benefit to us as we begin the major undertaking that includes the safety improvements downtown on Interstate 40.” According to Nicely, TDOT SmartWay has the potential to add 15% capacity to Knoxville’s interstate system without widening the roadway.The sharing of TDOT SmartWay intelligence is also a key to the system’s success. Starting today, camera images from TDOT SmartWay will be fed directly to TDOT’s website, www.tennessee.gov/tdot/tdotsmartway. In the near future, local television stations will begin airing live feeds from the TDOT SmartWay cameras to assist their viewers on frequent newscasts.

TDOT’s new SmartWay system was first implemented in Nashville in June of 2003. Plans to expand the system into Chattanooga and Memphis are already underway with the early components of TDOT SmartWay being installed this year.