Details, details, details. Who cares about emergency stops blocking freeway lanes during rush hour or high-speed vehicles skidding over standing water when it rains when there’s 100s of $millions$ to dole out for MnPASS dynamic toll lanes and variable message signs?
In a piece titled Congestion-reduction measures on I-35W: How well do they work?, the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies (CTS) reports:
“In an effort to combat congestion in our country’s urban areas, the United States Department of Transportation launched the Urban Partnership Agreement (UPA) program in 2007. The program infused nearly $900 million into transportation-related projects in four cities nationwide, including the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Minnesota’s projects—which include the installation of MnPASS dynamic toll lanes and variable message signs—focused on improving traffic flow in the I-35W corridor between Minneapolis and the city’s southern suburbs.”
Seraphin Abou, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the U of M Duluth, is credited as a “Project co-investigator.” According to the CTS report, Mr. Abou’s research focused on “the new priced dynamic shoulder lane (PDSL)” a.k.a. the MnPASS toll lanes on the 35W shoulders. The CTS report states: “Traditionally, shoulder lanes are used for emergency stops as well as for rainwater storage during heavy storms…A portion of the (shoulder lane toll) road, however, lies in a low area that can flood during heavy rains.”
“Weather conditions have a significant impact on traffic safety, traffic demand, and traffic flow,” says Dr. Abou, Ph.D. “The risk assessment tool we designed can be combined with intelligent transportation systems, risk communication, and operation control to predict causal mechanisms of weather-related crashes along the corridor.”
Ya don’t say. Who woulda thunk it?
HOOYAH! The Brainpower State.