New Orleans, La. – Today, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Sherri H. LeBas announced the upcoming New Orleans Core Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) project in a 10 a.m. press event at the Regional Transportation Management Center in New Orleans.
Joining Sec. LeBas were Captain Carl Saizan, commander of Louisiana State Police Troop B, Regional Planning Commission Deputy Director Jeff Roesel, Jay Cicero – President/CEO Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation and Executive Director of the 2013 Super Bowl Host Committee, and DOTD engineers and staff.
The project, scheduled for letting today, will outfit the I-10 corridor, from Kenner to the Central Business District (CBD), I-610 and US 90 Business with 24 new surveillance cameras and eight dynamic message signs, which will be monitored and operated by staff at the Regional Transportation Management Center (RTMC). The project is estimated to take six to nine months to complete.
What this means to motorists is improved travel by helping drivers avoid traffic congestion and use alternate routes, ultimately shortening and providing more reliable commute times. Traffic congestion has been increasing worldwide as a result of increased motorization, urbanization, population growth, and changes in population density. Louisiana has over 460,000 licensed drivers in the greater New Orleans area, and in 2010 – the most recent completed report by LSU’s Highway Safety Research Group – more than 8200 motor vehicle crashes were reported. Congestion reduces efficiency of transportation infrastructure and increases travel time – due to incidents, as well as air pollution, and fuel consumption.
"DOTD recognizes the need to provide this enhanced level of service to Louisiana drivers and commerce industries from both a safety and a management standpoint" said Secretary LeBas. "We thank Gov. Jindal for his continued commitment to supporting cutting edge technology to enhance drivers’ experience on Louisiana roadways."
The project is estimated to cost between $5-$7.5 million, but the savings in traffic safety, vehicle hours and delay time will take on a whole new meaning during the many upcoming special events scheduled to take place in the Crescent City.
"Although New Orleans is uniquely walkable, the ability to keep traffic moving as people make their way to the city for next year's Super Bowl and NCAA Women's Final Four is critical to the visitor experience as we want to make a great first or repeat impression," said Jay Cicero. "Transportation is always a major point of comparison between bid cities. We tell site selection committees and NFL owners that the longest they will be in a car is the 20 minute ride from the New Orleans airport. This new technology certainly reinforces that pitch."
Jeff Roesel said, "Transportation management technology is a must in major cities." "Major connecting roads are filled to capacity. These ITS enhancements provide the ability to monitor traffic on a continuous basis, on critical corridors, and to identify and mitigate problems in a proactive manner."
Besides transportation management, ITS can play a role in the rapid mass evacuation of people in urban areas after large casualty events such as a result of a natural disaster or threat, like the hurricanes Louisiana is prone to. ITS systems, which involve surveillance of roadways – particularly, critical corridors – is also a priority of homeland security that enables interoperability in the case of an emergency, which makes it invaluable as it becomes a quality of life need.
"The future of first responder communications is interoperability amongst as many agencies as possible," said Capt. Carl Saizan. "This initiative will allow us to pre-determine traffic flow on the main arteries in the event of an evacuation requiring the activation of contraflow – something we didn’t have during Hurricane Katrina."
A map of the traffic camera and dynamic message signs locations is attached. The map is not indicative of the number of cameras or signs to be installed, but illustrates the general areas of installation.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) is committed to delivering transportation and public works systems that enhance the quality of life. In addition to more than 16,600 miles of roadway, including 890 miles of interstate, DOTD supports the development of the state’s aviation, marine and rail infrastructures. Through this work, the department is able to facilitate economic development, create job opportunities, improve vital evacuation routes, and make critical freight corridors safer and more efficient.
For more information, please visit www.dotd.la.gov, email email@example.com, or call DOTD’s Custom Service Center at (225) 379-1232 or 1-877-4LADOTD (1-877-452-3683). Business hours are 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Motorists can access up-to-date travel information by dialing 511 or by visiting www.511la.org. Out-of-state travelers can call 1-888-ROAD-511 (1-888-762-3511).