ROADS/BRIDGES: Illinois tollway to display real-time traffic information

Oct. 18, 2016

The traffic management system will provide early warning to motorists about crashes and closed lanes

Technology engineers are installing digital signs along the Jane Addams Tollway in the Chicago area that will give drivers speed and accident information in real time.

As construction on the tollway finishes, crews are installing gantries every half-mile between O'Hare International Airport and Barrington Road to create the active traffic management system, or "smart road." There will be a total of 29 gantries.

When a crash occurs, red X's will indicate closed lanes. Messages will update with detours and other notices, such as Amber Alerts.

The active system will cost the tollway nearly $33 million.

The system will operate through wireless speed sensors, dozens of cameras and weather stations, which transmit data to the tollway dispatch center in Downers Grove. A traffic team will analyze the results and update the signs.

The purpose of the new technology will be to alert drivers in advance of crashes and closed lanes earlier so they can merge efficiently and continue on their route, helping to improve traffic flow.

The system is expected to go live next spring.