TRAFFIC/TRANSIT: Illinois Tollway launches I-90 SmartRoad and flex lane

Sept. 5, 2017

The agency partnered with Pace Bus Service to implement SmartRoad technology and a flex lane for transit on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway

The Illinois Tollway in partnership with Pace Bus Service activated the new I-90 SmartRoad in the northwest Chicago suburbs that provides real-time traffic and travel information to drivers and allows Pace buses to travel on the inside flex lane during traffic congestion.

On the I-90 Jane Addams Memorial Tollway between Barrington Road and the Kennedy Expressway, over-the-road signs have been installed every half mile for 16 miles along the SmartRoad. The overhead signs provide motorists with improved travel information that includes real-time notice of incidents, lane closures and transit services. The eventual goal of the SmartRoad is to communicate directly with vehicles to help prevent incidents before they occur.

In addition to the overhead signs, the left inside shoulder lanes on this section of the tollway allow Pace buses to bypass traffic during times of congestion to provide reliable transit service for the Chicagoland area. When open for transit use, the overhead SmartRoad signs read "Pace Bus Only" over the flex lane on I-90. Pace has reported successful implementation of their new I-90 Express Service for the first six months of its operation.

At a press conference today in Arlington Heights, Ill., representatives from the Illinois Tollway and Pace touted the benefits of the new SmartRoad corridor. "Adding this technology on I-90 is a big step forward for our Illinois Tollway customers and for our partners at Pace, who will now be able to operate buses at roadway speeds on our inside flexible lane," Illinois Tollway Chairman Bob Schillerstrom said at the press conference. "Most importantly, adding SmartRoad technology is another improvement we’ve made for our customers—from the commuters who use I-90 to get to work and to get home at night, to our commercial customers who rely on I-90 to efficiently ship goods all over the Chicagoland area and across our country."

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