Intersection Advance Warning System
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
- Logistics & Transportation
- Traffic Monitoring
US Highway 2 at Kalispell, Montana, features a dangerous, non-signalized intersection that has been the site of numerous crashes. The two-lane, high-speed highway intersects with Springcreek Road/Dern Road and has no turn lane. The goal of the project was to improve safety at the intersection without adding lanes or installing signals. Because there is no turn lane, when eastbound cars need to turn left onto Springcreek Road they are forced to stop in the lane of travel and hope that cars approaching from behind see them and stop in time. Unfortunately, too many drivers didn’t see the stopped vehicles until it was too late, resulting in numerous crashes. The posted speed limit on that stretch of US Highway 2 is 65 mph, and the road is heavily traveled by large semis. Finally, funding issues made a build-out of the intersection unfeasible.
Officials decided to install SmartSensor Matrix to monitor traffic at the intersection; and signs placed in advance of the intersection to warn oncoming drivers that slow or stopped vehicles are present in the roadway ahead. When Matrix detects a slow or stopped vehicle at the intersection, it activates advance warning beacons and LED-rimmed signs that warn drivers on both the mainline and the side streets. Matrix was selected for a number of reasons. First, the sensor is easy to install and configure; loops were considered for detection, but are much more difficult to install and require lane closures. Second, Matrix has been used successfully at other intersections in Montana, so officials were comfortable with the sensor’s performance. Finally, the sensors were installed at a fraction of the cost the state would have incurred for a lengthy and expensive road-widening project. Project Team: The Montana Department of Transportation; Western Systems (Everett, WA); Stillwater Electric (Kalispell, MT); and Advanced Traffic Products (Everett, WA), an authorized Wavetronix channel partner.