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Active Transportation and Demand Management Program (ATDM)

Active Transportation and Demand Management Program (ATDM)

Narrator: Congestion. Incidents. Road Rage.
The perils of modern day travel experienced by most travelers on our roadways today. Today’s
traffic managers use a variety of tools to mitigate travel-related impacts on our roadways.
From incident management to pre-trip information to roadside advisories, traffic managers around
the country are working to improve mobility and reliability for the traveling public.
But despite our best efforts, safety and congestion concerns still persist. While travelers’ expectations
for safety and reliability continue to grow, agencies’ fiscal constraints are getting tighter. Let’s examine some of these challenges and
consider an improved approach to managing our transportation system. We’re going to
delay the breakdown of our facilities, do a better job of informing travelers, and reduce
the number of incidents by changing the way we operate. This approach is called “Active
Transportation and Demand Management,” or ATDM. Similar to how electric utilities work
today, an actively managed transportation system is continuously monitored to assess
system performance. Based on the assessed state of the system, various actions are evaluated
and recommended in real-time. Active management is part of a step-wise evolution
for agencies. At the lowest level is static management: agencies operate on a time of
day basis. The “set it and forget it” mentality works as long as conditions stay the same.
Unfortunately, conditions vary. We have all experienced weather, incidents, special events,
and work zones. Most agencies today are in the next step of evolution: responsive management,
where they react to conditions as they occur. While responsive management is an effective
and a necessary part of operations, there is another step in which agencies respond
to anticipated changes to conditions. We call it proactive. With a proactive management
approach, agencies use new tools like decision support systems and prediction models to push
towards eliminating or delaying the breakdown of their facilities. Morgan Balogh: Being active in our traffic
management response has reduced collisions and improved safety by giving people information
prior to the event that is needed, and by being responsive to the problem before it
occurs. Smarter Highways is the application of technology to solve highway problems. And
technology is a lot cheaper than adding pavement to the freeway system. We’ll use any new technology
that comes up: we use Twitter, we’re on Facebook, we contact the news media. Our vision for
the future is for the travelers, the local agencies, and the state to all come together
and provide this information as a team, to work together and solve the transportation
problems of the future. Narrator: Have you ever wondered why speed
limits don’t change in response to varying conditions? A lack of actionable information
on DMS? Or a lack of parking information and improper traffic signal coordination? If so,
you are campaigning for active management. New approaches and practices from Europe and
the U.S. offer exciting opportunities to move along the active management continuum. The
approaches are flexible and wide-ranging, with a common theme of active operations across
an entire traveler’s trip. Through active management approaches, an agency can influence
both the available demand and supply of the transportation system. New overhead electronic
signs on Washington State’s I-5, State Route 520, and I-90 corridors alert drivers to reduce
speeds or change lanes when there are collisions or backups on the road ahead. Depending on
traffic conditions, drivers may see alerts, arrows, or varying speeds. This real-time
driver information will improve safety and reduce congestion.
In addition to these examples of active traffic management, ATDM also considers active demand
management and active parking management. Active demand management uses tools such as
smartphone applications, customized traveler information, and dynamic ridesharing services
to provide more real-time travel choices. Active parking management is a suite of strategies
designed to affect the demand for and use of limited parking capacity. San Francisco
is testing new parking technologies and a flexible approach to pricing that is designed
to make parking work better for everyone. Jay Primus: The goal of SFpark is a singular
focus of making it easier to find a parking space; parking availability. And from that
flows all the other benefits we expected: that in peak times the places that we truly
reduced the amount of circling by making it easier to find a parking space. The average
time spent circling went from 11 1/2 to 6 1/2 minutes; oftentimes less. And what that
meant was a lot less traffic of distracted drivers circling around looking for parking.
We’ve also gone to great lengths to share all the information from the project — overviews,
a technical “how-to” manual, a rigorous evaluation — to really make it easy for other cities
to understand what we did and learn from it, and hopefully improve on it. Narrator: However, approaches alone are not
enough. Being active requires careful consideration of an agency’s management approach. Implementing
active management approaches requires a careful look at staffing, culture, agency collaboration,
infrastructure design, maintenance, and IT systems, as they might require modifications
due to the increased complexity associated with real-time responses. Kamal Suliman: The traditional model is that
we wait for something to happen and use this tool to let people know. With active management,
we are trying to get ahead of the game. The players in the project need to work together.
The designer, the construction, and the department need to work together to deliver the best
project possible. Plan ahead and also reasonably resist the temptation of trying to add things
to the project that are not related to it. VDOT believes that I-66 active traffic management
is the right solution for the environment that we have. Narrator: With the right mix of active management
approaches and organizational capability, an operating agency can identify immediate
cost-effective solutions to persistent problems. Such approaches also increase the agency’s
readiness for the connected vehicle future. Through the tools and approaches of active
management, agencies can take advantage of the big data environment of tomorrow to transform
transportation operations. Jeff Lindley: There are two real elements
to ATDM. The first element is taking the information that’s there and trying to operate the system
in as real-time and proactive of a manner as possible. But then you also share that
information — all the information that you have on conditions — with the public. And
so we’ve turned our focus to how can we manage what’s already there. ATDM really tries to
take a look at the entirety of transportation in a particular corridor. It looks at traffic
control like traffic signal timing. It looks at how lanes are used, including high-occupancy
vehicle lanes if those are present in the corridor. It looks at pricing if pricing strategies
are available in that corridor, like tolling facilities; like the price of parking. It
takes parking into consideration as part of the system that can be actively managed. ATDM
is a strategy that we know works. Narrator: Please work with us to move towards
a more active approach to transportation systems management and operations. Contact the FHWA’s
Active Transportation Demand Management (ATDM) program for customized technical assistance
and guidance to support these approaches. Thank you.

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