Smart Technology Means Giant Leap For Traffic Flow on Randall Road

Smart Technology Means Giant Leap For Traffic Flow on Randall Road

Bustling traffic flow on Randall Road, as shown in this photo, is likely to be greatly improved with the installation of smart signals. (CREDIT KDOT)

This story isn’t science fiction — just fact, made no less amazing because it’s happening right now in Kane County, IL.

Kane County’s Division of Transportation got the OK from the Kane County Board earlier this month to spend up to $547,875 on real-time traffic signalization technology that has the power to improve traffic conditions on the busiest section of Randall Road.

It’s called Adaptive Signal Control Technology, the company that makes it is called Rapid Flow Technologies, implementation is set to begin in 2018 and construction is planned to be completed by early 2019.

Smart Traffic Signals

One of the buzzwords in government these days involves the Internet of Things, or IoT for short, and that’s basically what the Rapid Flow technology is.

This is what the smart lights look like. (CREDIT: Rapid Flow Technologies)

In this case, the benefits for Kane County drivers are “smart” traffic signals that can control traffic flow, and reduce waiting times and congestion. Better traffic flow means better air quality, cost savings for Kane County consumers and, ultimately, happier drivers.

KDOT will install hardware at intersections that will analyze real-time traffic situations and make adjustments to maximize the movement of vehicles. The technology will first be installed on Randall Road from Big Timber to Huntley Roads, through Elgin, Sleepy Hollow and West Dundee.

“This area has the highest traffic volumes that we see on any county road,” said Drew Frasz, chairman of the Kane County Board Transportation Committee. “It also serves the I-90 interchange and Sherman Hospital, so it is the perfect application for testing out this new technology.

“We want to maximize the efficiency of our current transportation system before building new traffic lanes, which is a better use of taxpayer money.”

The project will include adding sensors at the intersections that use video and possibly radar detection to gather data on vehicle volumes, vehicle occupancy, congestion and other related values. Computers then calculate the optimal signal timings based upon the real-time traffic data.

“We’ll be using a modeling approach where traffic information at one signal will be used to anticipate a better understanding of what traffic is soon to hit the next signal downstream,” said Stephen Zulkowski, Kane County traffic operations engineer. “Instead of using data that is hours, days, months or years old, the new system will coordinate signals on the fly as traffic conditions change.”

Smart Planning

A look inside Kane County’s Arterial Operations Center. (CREDIT: KDOT)

The County Board OK’d expenditure not to exceed $547,875 for first phase of the project, with the total cost estimated at about $1 million.

Because the system is designed to reduce vehicle emissions and improve air quality, the county received about $800,000 in federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality funds.

KDOT used the Request for Proposal process to evaluate different vendors/solutions, then negotiated a contract with Rapid Flow for the design and installation of the adaptive signal control system.

You can read more about the system in the agenda packet for the Aug. 8, 2017, County Board meeting. The proposal is on Page 90 of the packet.

The smart technology is possible because of the county’s Arterial Operations Center, which was opened about a year ago and was created to manage traffic and adjust signal timing to improve traffic flow on county highways such as Randall, Kirk and Fabyan.

With the new adaptive signal technologies that will be implemented in the north part of the county, traffic engineers will have continuous connectivity to the new system via the AOC, which stores the adaptive signal’s historical data.

The AOC also allows for the management of traffic outside of the adaptive project limits, and in the event of malfunction or special circumstances, the AOC can manually override the adaptive program to implement special traffic plans.

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WHEREAS, design and installations services are necessary for the design and installation of Adaptive Signal Control Technology (ASCT) to improve traffic flow through traffic signals on County Highway No. 34 (also known as Randall Road) between Big Timber Road and Huntley Road (hereinafter referred to as “Project”); and

WHEREAS, in order to complete the Project it is necessary to retain the services of a professional contractor to perform design and installation services; and

WHEREAS, Rapid Flow Technologies, LLC, 124 South Highland Avenue, Suite 206, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15206 has ASCT design and installation experience, professional expertise, and is willing to begin performing said services for an amount not to exceed Zero Dollars ($0.00); and

WHEREAS, the CONSULTANT is willing to delay compensation for the PROJECT with the understanding that an amount not to exceed Five Hundred Forty-seven Thousand Eight Hundred Seventy-five and 00/100 Dollars ($547,875.00) will be detailed and administered as part of a subsequent low bid construction contract payable to the CONSULTANT through the successful low bid contractor.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Kane County Board that the Chairman thereof is hereby authorized to execute an agreement (a copy of which is on file with the County Clerk’s Office) with Rapid Flow Technologies, LLC of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for ASCT design and installation services.

Passed by the Kane County Board on August 8, 2017.