Winning signage employs digital technology to gauge drive time

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You may not know it, but your cell phone is part of the electronic wizardry helping you and other motorists gauge how long it will take you to reach your destination.

Drivers headed west on Chandler Boulevard near Interstate 10 pass under digital overhead signs that have the ability to pick up signals emanating from an assortment of Bluetooth-enabled devices.

The resulting technology uses precise algorhythms to calculate time and distance to pre-established destinations.

And if that concept sounds like a winner, it is.

Chandlerhas been recognized by the Intelligent Transportation Society of Arizona, part of a nationwide group that promotes ITS concepts, for having implemented the best such project of its kind this year.

Chandler, in partnership with software developer OZ Engineering ofPhoenix, effectively integrated several new and existing technologies to display travel-time information on the large Dynamic Message Signs.

Those DMS electronic message boards operate from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, providing travel time information for commuters as they approach local freeways. The signs are strategically positioned to allow travelers to make route-choice decisions prior to entering the freeway.

InChandler, dynamic-message signs are located on westboundChandler Boulevard, eastof the I-10, and on northboundArizona Avenueand northboundPrice Road, southof the Loop 202 Santan Freeway.

To accurately capture travel times,Chandlerdeployed Bluetooth-based vehicle detectors along the arterial streets leading to the freeways.

The detectors perceive the presence of passing Bluetooth devices such as those found in hands-free speaker phones, cell phones, headsets and tablets used in the vehicle. As vehicles pass within range of the detectors, the travel time between their locations is calculated and used in determining travel times along arterial/freeway corridors.

The Chandler Boulevard DMS sign displays the time it takes drivers to reach the I-10 at State Route 143. ThePrice Roadsign gives commuters the travel times to U.S. 60 and to the Red Mountain Freeway. The sign onArizona Avenuecalculates travel time to the Loop202/I-10 interchange near Ahwatukee.

The Intelligent Transportation Society of Arizona is a state chapter of the national ITS organization, leading advocate for technologies that improve the safety, security and efficiency of the nation’s surface transportation system.

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