Governor Deval Patrick today announced that the "GO Time" real time traffic information system is now operational along Route 6 on Cape Cod and will be expanded to highways statewide by 2015. The Governor made today's announcement at the Intelligent Transportation Society of America's transportation symposium in Boston where he was awarded the organization's Smart Solution Spotlight Award for his Administration's work in developing intelligent transportation systems to create a safer, cleaner, more efficient and sustainable transportation system.
"We are thinking creatively and using innovative technology to provide the real time information that can make a real difference in the daily lives of commuters," said Governor Patrick. "I am proud of the work performed by MassDOT in its efforts to connect with its customers and of the work we have accomplished to support intelligent transportation projects that improve our quality of life."
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) installed the first "GO Time" real time traffic information in summer 2012 along Interstate 93 and on Memorial Day 2013 expanded the system to include eastern I-90 and Route 3 south to Cape Cod. The system uses Bluetooth technology to measure average vehicle speeds and travel times. Real time traffic information begins today on Route 6 on Cape Cod and when completed GO Time will include 678 miles of state highway, including all major metropolitan highways.
"We have made a steadfast commitment to connect with our customers and make the system work better for them, whether taking public transportation or commuting on our state roadways," said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey. "Expanding GO Time real time traffic information is another dramatic step forward in assisting motorists in all regions of the Commonwealth."
The GO Time real time traffic system measures travel times between two points by anonymously tracking the Bluetooth enabled devices carried by motorists and their vehicles. The system complies with new federal legislation that requires real time traffic information to be provided to the public.
Temporary message boards currently in use will be replaced with permanent standard green federal highway signs with an embedded digital travel time display. The entire GO Time Intelligent Transportation System, when completed, will include 132 new travel time signs and 121 Bluetooth readers. The total cost of all locations now in operation and the statewide expansion is an estimated $17.5 million, with federal funds covering 80 percent of the cost.
MassDOT expects to install the GO Time system next to Interstate 91 from Connecticut to Northampton, followed by Route 24, I-195 on the South Coast, the Southern end of I-495, I-95 from Rhode Island to New Hampshire, the Northern end of I-495, Route 3 to Nashua, I-290 through Worcester, segments of Route 2, Routes 1 and 1A and on I-90 from Sturbridge to Chicopee.
"ITS America is excited to recognize MassDOT with our Smart Solution Spotlight award for their innovative and user-focused approach to solving transportation challenges," said ITS America President and CEO Scott Belcher. "By providing an estimated 2.2 million travelers with reliable public transit service using its Real Time Traffic Management System, MassDOT has opened the doors to a data driven system that helps reduce traffic congestion for commuters across the region. Others around the nation are following suit, and MassDOT's leadership in the use of real-time data exemplifies the significant real-world impacts that ITS technologies can have on improving our nation's surface transportation systems, and the traveler experience."
The GO Time information will also be available through MassDOT open data initiatives to provide feeds of real time information to web and Smartphone app developers and is the latest step in the Big Data initiative, opening transportation data for developers to assist in building a customer-friendly, healthy and sustainable transportation system.
In partnership with the Mass Big Data Initiative, MassDOT organized a "hackathon" in December 2013, inviting numerous groups with experience in data analysis. MassDOT made available many of its transportation data sources, including real time traffic data, volume counts and transit data. Hackers worked through the night, and presented their findings to MassDOT, with cash prizes awarded for the most compelling and insightful visualizations. Building on this success, additional MassDOT sponsored "hackathons" are planned.
"Big Data innovations can transform economies and help governments tackle major challenges," said Pamela Goldberg, CEO of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. "MassDOT is a leader in the Commonwealth's Mass Big Data Initiative, and we have been delighted to partner with state transportation leaders to expand public access to open data and to engage the Commonwealth's big data entrepreneurs in transportation initiatives. Today's announcement is another indicator of MassDOT's commitment to using technology-based solutions to improve the customer experience."