AARoads Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

New rules to ensure post quality. See this thread for details.

Author Topic: CDOT's Use Of VMSs Of Late...  (Read 670 times)

thenetwork

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 2733
  • Age: 2017
  • Location: Grand Junction, Colorado
  • Last Login: Today at 05:48:37 PM
CDOT's Use Of VMSs Of Late...
« on: November 19, 2021, 06:19:36 PM »

CDOT has been using variable message signs for years now -- at least well over 16 years since I first came out here.

Back then, especially along I-70 between Vail and Denver, when there weren't any major issues on the freeway, many of the overhead VMS listed driving times to 2-3 destinations.

Over time that practice has declined dramatically to where now only generic messages are displayed (Colorado Law -- Fasten Seat Belts).  On my most recent trip out of Denver then heading west, many of the VMS signs in the Metro had NOTHING displayed on them -- including morning and afternoon rush hours -- when driving times via multiple routes would've come in handy.

So why has CDOT gotten away from listing driving times, or not use the VMSs in some areas, while in other areas, they at least put something on the overheads to read while passing by. 

Another bone to pick with CDOT is all the money spent in the Denver Metro area on the smart lane technology on some of the freeways (portions of I-70/I-25/US-36) but for the 3 days I went through there during rush hours, I never saw any of those stretches using the lane markers nor the VMSs).  Is it that much of a drain on operating costs and budgets?
Logged

ztonyg

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 149
  • Location: Phoenix, AZ
  • Last Login: Today at 04:10:18 PM
Re: CDOT's Use Of VMSs Of Late...
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2021, 09:02:07 AM »

This isn't just a Colorado thing.

About 7 or 8 years ago ADOT in Arizona made a big deal about it's VMSs displaying travel times and even expanded the number of VMSs that displayed travel times. A few years later it even started posting travel times in rural areas.

However, as soon as a highway has a construction project the travel times for the area of construction seem to go away. Even long after the construction project is gone the VMSs where the construction was no longer display travel times.

For example. It would be useful for ADOT to display the travel time on the VMSs in Downtown Phoenix to 59th Ave / I-10 (which it used to prior to the Loop 202 construction). However ever since the construction project for the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway ADOT no longer displays travel times to any destination on W/B I-10 from downtown Phoenix. The only location displayed downtown is I-17 / Peoria Ave (even though the majority of traffic traveling W/B through Downtown Phoenix is going to continue W/B on I-10).

ADOT also used to display travel times along the E/B section of Loop 101 in North Phoenix / Scottsdale. However, after the construction project started, the travel times have gone away. It has several VMSs there displaying all sorts of other messages (or blank) but it refuses to display travel times at all on this stretch of highway.

Honestly, travel times are even more important due to construction but ADOT doesn't seem to care.
Logged

tdindy88

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1683
  • Last Login: Today at 12:16:17 PM
Re: CDOT's Use Of VMSs Of Late...
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2021, 10:08:16 AM »

I was in Colorado back in June and thought the same thing about the VMSs, travel times would have been very nice to have. Not just in the Denver area too, Colorado Springs could have used some along I-25. I saw a couple of permanent travel time signs along I-25 and thought that those would be nice to have as well around the state, maybe in lieu of using the VMSs. I didn't see any other signs like that in the state. Hell it'd be cool to have the travel times along I-70 perhaps from as far as Grand Junction to Denver.

Meanwhile in my state, Indiana, they have gone all-in on travel time messages on EVERY VMS that doesn't already have a construction message. We might actually have too many travel time messages which seems to be the opposite problem of Colorado.
Logged

TXtoNJ

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 768
  • Last Login: Today at 04:02:17 PM
Re: CDOT's Use Of VMSs Of Late...
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2021, 10:22:21 AM »

Best guess is that local municipalities don't like it when the drive times induce drivers to divert to surface streets.
Logged

thenetwork

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 2733
  • Age: 2017
  • Location: Grand Junction, Colorado
  • Last Login: Today at 05:48:37 PM
Re: CDOT's Use Of VMSs Of Late...
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2021, 10:54:23 AM »

Best guess is that local municipalities don't like it when the drive times induce drivers to divert to surface streets.

Maybe so in the city, but heading west on I-70 towards the Eisenhower Tunnel, Dillon and Breckenridge, there is at most TWO ways of getting there:  I-70 and the old US-6 alignments.

Showing drive-times, especially on weekends, would be beneficial to traffic, as some may sit out and wait until the traffic jams subside which in effect would thin out the peak traffic quicker.
Logged

TXtoNJ

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 768
  • Last Login: Today at 04:02:17 PM
Re: CDOT's Use Of VMSs Of Late...
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2021, 10:20:30 AM »

Best guess is that local municipalities don't like it when the drive times induce drivers to divert to surface streets.

Maybe so in the city, but heading west on I-70 towards the Eisenhower Tunnel, Dillon and Breckenridge, there is at most TWO ways of getting there:  I-70 and the old US-6 alignments.

Showing drive-times, especially on weekends, would be beneficial to traffic, as some may sit out and wait until the traffic jams subside which in effect would thin out the peak traffic quicker.

You'd think, but I'd imagine Keystone and A-Basin don't like it much when Breckenridge/Vail/BC/Aspen-bound traffic clogs up 6.
Logged

Pink Jazz

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1614
  • Real Men Wear Pink

  • Age: 33
  • Location: Queen Creek, AZ
  • Last Login: Today at 04:50:50 PM
Re: CDOT's Use Of VMSs Of Late...
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2021, 02:20:14 PM »

This isn't just a Colorado thing.

About 7 or 8 years ago ADOT in Arizona made a big deal about it's VMSs displaying travel times and even expanded the number of VMSs that displayed travel times. A few years later it even started posting travel times in rural areas.

However, as soon as a highway has a construction project the travel times for the area of construction seem to go away. Even long after the construction project is gone the VMSs where the construction was no longer display travel times.

For example. It would be useful for ADOT to display the travel time on the VMSs in Downtown Phoenix to 59th Ave / I-10 (which it used to prior to the Loop 202 construction). However ever since the construction project for the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway ADOT no longer displays travel times to any destination on W/B I-10 from downtown Phoenix. The only location displayed downtown is I-17 / Peoria Ave (even though the majority of traffic traveling W/B through Downtown Phoenix is going to continue W/B on I-10).

ADOT also used to display travel times along the E/B section of Loop 101 in North Phoenix / Scottsdale. However, after the construction project started, the travel times have gone away. It has several VMSs there displaying all sorts of other messages (or blank) but it refuses to display travel times at all on this stretch of highway.

Honestly, travel times are even more important due to construction but ADOT doesn't seem to care.

On the Loop 101 Price, ADOT has brought back travel times in the northbound direction, but not in the southbound.  Brand new color Daktronics DMS were installed, but only one of them is displaying travel times.
Logged

zzcarp

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 340
  • Age: 44
  • Location: Westminster, CO
  • Last Login: Today at 04:03:16 PM
Re: CDOT's Use Of VMSs Of Late...
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2021, 02:48:07 PM »

This has been a consistent complaint of mine for years. It seems CDOT would rather have the signs with some silly "DUI Enforcement is On" or "Colfax Closed on Saturday" than travel times that assist people in making decisions.
Logged
So many miles and so many roads

kwellada

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 99
  • Location: Tacoma, WA
  • Last Login: November 24, 2021, 03:39:35 PM
    • Robot Impurity Photography
Re: CDOT's Use Of VMSs Of Late...
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2021, 03:58:02 PM »

Could this be due to many people using navigation apps that report real time traffic?
Logged

jayhawkco

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 2660
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Aurora, CO
  • Last Login: Today at 09:55:40 AM
Re: CDOT's Use Of VMSs Of Late...
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2021, 03:58:46 PM »

Am I the only one who doesn't really feel like the travel times are all that worthwhile in the age of Google Maps/Waze?  I get it's better than leaving them blank, but it's not going to impact me a whole heck of a lot if I didn't have them at all.

Edit - Looks like Kwellada beat me to it.

GaryV

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 2247
  • Location: Southeast Michigan
  • Last Login: Today at 02:11:04 PM
Re: CDOT's Use Of VMSs Of Late...
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2021, 06:17:00 PM »

When I come across a VMS with times - "I-96 17 min" - I see that as a challenge to beat.
Logged

vdeane

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 12730
  • Age: 30
  • Location: Latham, NY
  • Last Login: Today at 05:43:35 PM
    • New York State Roads
Re: CDOT's Use Of VMSs Of Late...
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2021, 09:52:02 PM »

Am I the only one who doesn't really feel like the travel times are all that worthwhile in the age of Google Maps/Waze?  I get it's better than leaving them blank, but it's not going to impact me a whole heck of a lot if I didn't have them at all.

Edit - Looks like Kwellada beat me to it.
What about those of us who use our brains to navigate instead of outsourcing that to an app?  Plus while I know some people will use such things even when making routine trips where they should know the way, I'll never understand it.
Logged
Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position of NYSDOT or its affiliates.

zzcarp

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 340
  • Age: 44
  • Location: Westminster, CO
  • Last Login: Today at 04:03:16 PM
Re: CDOT's Use Of VMSs Of Late...
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2021, 11:12:20 PM »

Could this be due to many people using navigation apps that report real time traffic?
Am I the only one who doesn't really feel like the travel times are all that worthwhile in the age of Google Maps/Waze?  I get it's better than leaving them blank, but it's not going to impact me a whole heck of a lot if I didn't have them at all.

Edit - Looks like Kwellada beat me to it.

Of course I use Waze to get real-time traffic. And, sometimes Waze works like a charm and sometimes it is batcrap bonkers. It certainly does not always know the quickest route, and it often underestimates the time stuck in stopped traffic.

When the VMS on SB I-25 just north of 58th Avenue was working, it would give travel times to Speer and 6th Avenue. If it was 5 minutes and 7 minutes respectively, I knew it was free-flow traffic. If not, I knew the delay. Sometimes I'd have nearly free-flow to Speer and 22 minutes to 6th Ave so I knew that I could or should bail and take surface streets. Now this was before Denver's policy was complete gridlock in downtown on surface streets, but at the time it always seemed better for met to find a different way to be moving than to just be stuck.
Logged
So many miles and so many roads

kwellada

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 99
  • Location: Tacoma, WA
  • Last Login: November 24, 2021, 03:39:35 PM
    • Robot Impurity Photography
Re: CDOT's Use Of VMSs Of Late...
« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2021, 12:42:32 PM »

What about those of us who use our brains to navigate instead of outsourcing that to an app?  Plus while I know some people will use such things even when making routine trips where they should know the way, I'll never understand it.

I don't think this is a totally black and white thing. It is possible to use your brain and a navigation app to get where you need to go. Your brain isn't being downloaded the latest traffic info, accident reports, etc. But at the same time people should be training their memories to look for landmarks along routes they take regularly so that they're not dependent on a device telling them when to turn. Like any other tool, navigation apps are helpful when used wisely.

So yes, for any regular trip that goes through areas where traffic backups or accidents are possible, I turn on navigation just in case there's a need to avoid certain routes.
Logged

jayhawkco

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 2660
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Aurora, CO
  • Last Login: Today at 09:55:40 AM
Re: CDOT's Use Of VMSs Of Late...
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2021, 12:51:35 PM »

Am I the only one who doesn't really feel like the travel times are all that worthwhile in the age of Google Maps/Waze?  I get it's better than leaving them blank, but it's not going to impact me a whole heck of a lot if I didn't have them at all.

Edit - Looks like Kwellada beat me to it.
What about those of us who use our brains to navigate instead of outsourcing that to an app?  Plus while I know some people will use such things even when making routine trips where they should know the way, I'll never understand it.

Don't take this the wrong way, but you live in a metro area of less than 900,000 people.  I live in a metro area 3x as large.  Traffic is worse, and very highly variable here.  So I tend to Google Map out a lot of routes that I clearly know how to navigate myself.  For instance, from my house to downtown, there are four or five routings that are around the same mileage.  With no traffic at all, these vary by maybe 5 minutes or so in duration, so I could take whichever I wanted.  If I have bad luck with an accident or just general traffic, and I could possibly double my trip length compared to one of the other routings.  It's not always a matter of "not knowing where to go". 

vdeane

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 12730
  • Age: 30
  • Location: Latham, NY
  • Last Login: Today at 05:43:35 PM
    • New York State Roads
Re: CDOT's Use Of VMSs Of Late...
« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2021, 09:57:21 PM »

Don't take this the wrong way, but you live in a metro area of less than 900,000 people.
Yeah, and there's a big reason why: I'd never be able to stand the traffic congestion that larger areas have.  That said, the Northway can get interesting during tourist season (especially when the track is open; the four worst days of my evening commute all year, barring crashes and winter weather, are the Thursday and Friday before Travers weekend and Labor Day).  There used to be travel time signs, but they went away during the exit 4 project (as it was being widened where the NB sign was), and they never returned even after the VMS at that location was finally re-installed.

I certainly appreciate seeing them when traveling, even in free-flow traffic they're useful for people not familiar with the area.  I don't see myself ever using navigation apps - as a roadgeek, my routes are set for my clinching purposes, and nothing short of a full closure will make me divert.  Even for non-roadgeek trips, my need for routine is strong enough to make me loath to use other routes unless things are really bad (though I've also found that diverting is rarely actually useful, though it's at least possible now that the exit 4 project is done, but still not great as a couple of lights that were to be removed were retained; traversing that area on surface streets takes forever).  It's actually to the point that I feel slightly disoriented if I get somewhere by something other than my usual route.

I don't see myself embracing self-driving cars either for that reason.  Even EVs and their reliance on in-car navigation for charging give me pause.

I also tend not to use smartphones period as much as most people.  I have one, but it's really only a "provide access to the internet/email if I happen to be bored while waiting somewhere or need to quickly check something" affair, not something I regularly use for anything other than phone/SMS.  Aside from switching to Linux, pretty much everything I do related to computers and the internet is substantially unchanged from 10-15 years ago.  I even still use a separate point and shoot camera, though I'm not so radical as to still have a separate MP3 player (IMO the difference between an iPod and the VLC app on my phone isn't enough to count as a substantial change).
Logged
Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position of NYSDOT or its affiliates.

 


Opinions expressed here on belong solely to the poster and do not represent or reflect the opinions or beliefs of AARoads, its creators and/or associates.