Ohio DOT announces I-71 wrong-way detector system; PennDOT to install I-70 data collector

July 24, 2019

Both new applications are expected to be online this year

A pair of DOTs are taking strides to reduce traffic incidents and boost safety on their interstates.

Officials with the Ohio DOT and Gov. Mike DeWine announced on this week that a first-of-its-kind system to detect and deter wrong-way drivers will be installed along an 18-mile stretch of I-71 in Hamilton County. The system will include 92 electronic signs and 82 detection devices at 23 locations from downtown Cincinnati to Fields-Ertel Road.

The system will feature LED lights around the edge of several “wrong way” and “do not enter” signs that will begin to flash when a vehicle is detected. An alert will also be sent to ODOT’s Traffic Management Center, located in Columbus. This marks the first set of detection devices to be installed as a system in Ohio. Officials said two other standalone devices in Columbus and in Cleveland have been tested with positive results. They also remarked that while wrong-way crashes make up less than 1% of all crashes statewide, they are 40 times more likely to be fatal.

“This section of I-71 was selected using criteria that includes 911 calls, wrong-way and alcohol crashes, the number of alcohol establishments located within close proximity, and ramp traffic volumes," said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks. "Not only do these devices add another layer to alert drivers that they're driving in the wrong direction, they allow us to capture data about where these drivers are trying to enter our highways."

In Pennsylvania, DOT officials have announced that traffic pattern disruptions will occur on eastbound I-70 in Westmoreland County while PennDOT installs Continuous Automatic Vehicle Classification devices below the road surface, near the Route 51 interchange, to count and classify traffic.

Magnetic loops embedded in the pavement will count the number of vehicles that travel overhead. Piezo sensors, which produce an electric signal when a tire comes into contact with them on the roadway, will collect axle-classification data on passing vehicles.

This I-70 site joins nearly 130 other locations statewide where PennDOT maintains permanent traffic recorders. Data is stored in traffic counters at each site, which are automatically polled nightly through modems. Data from the devices are used to track daily and seasonal traffic information and to identify changes in traffic patterns.

A section of maps on a PennDOT site delineate other permanent vehicle classification sites presently in place