Heavy traffic is more than a simple nuisance — it can cost money, time and lives. It also costs a region at large, not only from negative effects on emergency response, but also its potential impacts on the economy. As it is not always possible or cost-effective to add more lanes to congested roadways, better roadway system management tools often provide ways to add capacity and improve efficiency.
Traffic volumes were an issue in and around Memphis, and the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) turned to Gresham Smith to engineer an effective, cost-responsible solution. Following the lead of similar Nashville and Knoxville regional systems, our transportation engineers designed the TDOT SmartWay Memphis system. Through the use of cameras, traffic sensors, dynamic message signs, and extensive management network, the system will help increase volume capacities on area interstates while reducing delays and accidents up to an anticipated 30%. Improved notification will help decrease speeds of forewarned motorists, and also assist emergency personnel to improve accident response times. In addition to costing only one-seventh the price per mile of adding a new highway lane, the new system will potentially save the residents, visitors and businesses of Memphis millions of dollars and hours each year.
The new SmartWay system is one of the largest ITS projects in the nation, and it serves as a great example of how significant interstate improvements can be made without exorbitant expenses, all while keeping motorists moving safely and smoothly through the region.