Semisequicentennial Transportation Conference Proceedings
May 1996, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

Intelligent Transportation Systems Early Deployment Study for the Kansas City Metropolitan Area

Sarah Hubbard, Edward M. Halter, and Dale Ricks

S. Hubbard,
HNTB Corporation,
1201 Walnut, Suite 700,
Kansas City, Missouri 64016.

E.M. Halter,
Kansas Department of Transportation,
P.O. Box 6123,
Kansas City, Kansas 66106.

D. Ricks,
Missouri Highway and Transportation Department,
P.O. Box 270,
Jefferson City, Missouri 65102.

This paper discusses the results of the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Early Deployment Study conducted for the bi-state Kansas City metropolitan area. The Early Deployment Plan was intended to facilitate coordination of ITS activities in the Kansas City area and provide a common framework for deployment. The study examined the existing transportation system, identified appropriate user services, developed a system architecture, and identified a plan for deployment. The study focused on the freeway system and considered the arterial and transit systems to the extent that they affect the operation of the freeway system and contribute to overall mobility in the metropolitan area. Kansas City has an extensive freeway system, and while there are locations that experience recurring congestion, much of the congestion in the urban area is related to incidents. The highest priority user services address the existing conditions. The highest priority user services are Incident Management, Traffic Control, Emergency Notification and Personal Security, and Emergency Vehicle Management. Development of the system architecture focused on obtaining a seamless system that would accommodate the many affected jurisdictions. Highlights of the recommended architecture include a single traffic operations center, a fiber optics communications backbone, and a hybrid approach to arterial signal control. The primary focus of the deployment plan is a freeway management system. This system addresses incident detection, confirmation, and response, and includes vehicle detectors, closed circuit television cameras, highway advisory radio, variable message signs and a traffic operations center. The timetable for deployment is based on the benefit cost ratios (B/C) calculated. Phase 1, with a B/C of 2.9, includes 48 miles of freeway coverage, and is recommended for deployment within five years. Phase 2, with a B/C of 1.9, includes coverage of 34 additional freeway miles and is recommended for deployment in five to 10 years. The deployment plan also includes transit applications such as video surveillance, automated scheduling, automated transit information, expansion of the automatic vehicle location system, and expansion of personalized public transportation. A number of priority activities for early deployment (within two years) were also identified. Selected projects representing priority activities include closed circuit television cameras in priority locations, freeway reference markers and overpass signing on priority facilities, coordination of arterial signals for freeway diversion, standards for construction to include ITS elements, and coordination with planning agencies to assure inclusion of ITS projects in local and regional plans. Key words: ITS, deployment plan, freeway management.


This paper summarizes the results of the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Early Deployment Study for the bi-state Kansas City metropolitan area. Intelligent transportation systems, which utilize advanced technologies (including computer, communications, and process control technologies) to improve the efficiency and safety of the transportation system, encompass a variety of components that may be deployed by public and private agencies. The fact that these systems are often deployed incrementally by a number of agencies makes it especially important that they be coordinated. The Strategic Deployment Plan was intended to facilitate coordination of ITS activities in the Kansas City area and provide a common framework for deployment. A project Steering Committee which included representatives from the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), the Missouri Highway and Transportation Department (MHTD), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC, the metropolitan planning organization) provided suggestions and feedback throughout the twelve-month study.

SCOPE OF STUDY

The Early Deployment Study focused on the bi-state Kansas City metropolitan area which includes two counties in Kansas, four counties in Missouri, and more than 30 cities. The study considered all modes, but mainly focused on the freeway system. The arterial and transit systems were considered to the extent that they affect the operation of the freeway system and contribute to mobility in the metropolitan area.

With respect to the scope of work, the Early Deployment Study included the following activities:

TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM CHARACTERISTICS

Kansas City has an extensive freeway system, serving over 70 percent of the vehicle miles traveled in the metropolitan area. While there are more freeway lane miles per capita in Kansas City than in any other major metropolitan area (1), there are locations that experience recurring congestion, particularly I-70 east of downtown, I-35 south of and immediately north of downtown, and the south leg of I-435. Unless some action is taken, recurring congestion may be expected to increase as traffic volumes increase.

While there are facilities that experience recurring congestion, much of the congestion in the urban area is related to incidents. It is estimated that 70 percent of the congestion in Kansas City is due to incidents, costing local motorists approximately $120 million per year, considering delay and fuel costs (1). Not surprisingly, many of the issues that were identified as priorities are related to incidents. These issues include both technical issues, such as rapid identification and verification of incident location, as well as institutional issues, such as agency coordination and recognition of the goals and objectives of all the agencies at the incident site.

ITS USER SERVICES

The applicability of the ITS user services in Kansas City was evaluated with input from local agencies and from the public. Agency input was obtained through interviews with more than 20 local agencies. Input from the public was obtained through comments and surveys conducted at public meetings.

Public Involvement

The public involvement activities reflected the fact that an early deployment study differs from more traditional transportation planning projects in many respects. The lack of direct impact to property or land use and the abstract nature of the subject required not only that the public be informed, but perhaps more importantly, that public interest be generated, and that the public be educated about ITS concepts and applications.

The public involvement activities were considered very successful by the Steering Committee, with more than 40 people attending each of the four public meetings. This turnout was higher than expected, and higher than turnout for similar studies elsewhere. Activities to generate interest and provide information included press releases, newspaper advertisements, newspaper articles and an editorial, and radio and television interviews. In addition to the media exposure, letters of invitation to the public meetings were sent to a mailing list which included local politicians, emergency responders, transit employees, and public works engineers, and professionals in the private sector. By the end of the study, the mailing list contained over 900 contacts.

The public meetings were enhanced by an interactive multimedia presentation explaining the ITS study. This PC-based presentation included descriptions of intelligent transportation systems and the user services, film clips demonstrating transportation problems and solutions, and brief interviews with local citizens and agency representatives regarding their perceptions of transportation problems. This format allowed users to selectively explore ITS concepts at their own pace.

Highest Priority User Services

The highest priority user services, based on agency and public input, are Incident Management, Traffic Control, Emergency Notification and Personal Security, and Emergency Vehicle Management. These user services address both recurring and incident related congestion, and contribute to the prompt identification and removal of incidents. The highest priority transit-related user services are Public Transportation Management, Public Travel Security, and En-Route Transit Information. The identification and prioritization of the user services appropriate for Kansas City laid the foundation for the deployment plan.

SYSTEM ARCHITECTURE

Development of the system architecture was based on an examination of three different architecture alternatives. The recommended architecture includes two central servers with an information server. This control logic will provide autonomy for the two states, yet will facilitate coordination and provide redundancy. Coordination will also be enhanced by specification of a single traffic operations center (TOC). With respect to data processing, the recommended architecture utilizes centralized data processing, which is the standard and proven system used in most applications across the country. The communications network is a dual ring fiber optic backbone in a star/ring configuration, which will provide redundancy as well as capacity adequate for all anticipated components. Emergency management coordination will be based on the existing 911 dispatch system, TOC operators will contact emergency responders directly using the 911 system. The recommended architecture takes a hybrid approach to arterial signal control. Some arterial signal systems will be controlled from the TOC, while others will be controlled outside the TOC, for example by cities. The final characteristic identified by the architecture is coordination with public transit. Public transit functions will be maintained outside the TOC, although this does not preclude coordination of activities, particularly for the dissemination of information.

DEPLOYMENT PLAN

The deployment plan includes identification of projects and activities for the short term (less than five years), the medium term (five to 10 years) and the long term (more than 10 years). The short-, medium-, and long-term recommendations correspond closely to the short-, medium-, and long-term ITS user services that were identified as appropriate for the Kansas City area.

One of the primary recommendations is for a freeway management system on the most congested facilities. This freeway management system will address the highest priority user services by facilitating incident management and freeway traffic control activities. The proposed freeway management system addresses roadway monitoring and incident detection, verification, and response, and includes vehicle detectors, closed circuit television cameras, highway advisory radio, variable message signs and a traffic operations center. The costs and benefits associated with the development of a freeway management system were calculated for four stages of deployment. Phase 1 consists of the most congested facilities with the highest daily volumes, and Phases 2, 3 and 4 have decreasing volumes and levels of congestion, corresponding to lower expected benefits.

The estimated annualized costs, annual benefits, and benefit cost ratios are shown in Table 1 for each phase. The values shown in Table 1 reflect each state paying a percentage of the shared costs (for the traffic operations center, hardware and software) proportional to the system roadway mileage in the state. Other mechanisms considered for allocating costs to the two states included a 50/50 split and cost sharing proportional to expected benefits. The total capital cost for the deployment of Phase 1 is $29.1 million.

Based on the estimated benefit cost ratios, a freeway management system is recommended on Phase 1 facilities (48 miles) in the short term and on Phase 2 facilities (34 miles) in the medium term. A major finding of this study is that ITS is a cost effective solution in a medium size city when strategically deployed on the most traveled facilities. The study also recommends that a freeway management system be considered on Phase 3 facilities (75 miles) and Phase 4 facilities (101 miles) in the long term, when the benefit cost ratios will presumably be more favorable due to increased volumes and reduced technology costs. The ultimate system provides coverage of 258 miles, which encompasses all of the interstates and major freeways in the metropolitan area.

The deployment plan also includes transit applications such as video surveillance, automated scheduling and transit information, expansion of the automatic vehicle location system and personalized public transportation. These programs address the need for enhanced safety and security, transit information, and advanced management tools.

Other activities identified in the deployment plan, but not reflected in the costs shown in Table 1, include integration of weather information into the TOC (short term), ramp metering (short to medium term), coordination with transit for the provision of information (medium term), coordination with the provision of in-vehicle information (long term), and the deployment of technologies to encourage alternatives to the single occupancy vehicle and enhance compliance with clean air mandates (long term). Ramp metering is recommended as a demonstration project on I-35 in Kansas in the short term, and for evaluation elsewhere in the medium term.

A number of ongoing activities have also been identified. These activities include coordination of arterial signal systems on freeway diversion routes, coordination with the Kansas Turnpike Authority, and coordination with emergency responders and local public works agencies. The deployment plan also includes transit applications such as video monitoring, automated scheduling and transit information, expansion of the automatic vehicle location system and personalized public transportation.

A number of priority activities for early deployment were identified for implementation within two years. These include "early winners," projects that have a relatively low cost, require a short development time, are relatively high priority, contribute to the Intelligent Transportation Infrastructure, and are expected to be successful and enhance the public image of ITS. Priority activities also include activities which set the stage for future ITS activities. Projects representing priority activities include:

REFERENCES

1.D.L. Schrank, S.M. Turner, and T.J. Lomax. Trends in Urban Roadway Congestion—1982 to 1991, Volume 2: Methodology and Urbanized Area Data. Research Report 1131-6, Texas Transportation Institute, September 1994.

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