New Tech in Ohio Warns Drivers of Traffic Congestion and Associated Dangers


Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Director Jack Marchbanks have introduced an innovative initiative leveraging technology to identify and communicate traffic congestion, particularly in high-congestion and high-crash areas. The initiative involves installing warning systems at 13 highway sites near major urban centers, which have been identified as problematic by ODOT.

Equipped with cameras, these sites will automatically detect slow or stopped traffic, triggering nearby message boards to alert approaching drivers about potential traffic hazards. In addition to on-site warnings, alerts will be disseminated through traffic apps like OHGO.

“As technology continues to evolve, we’re always looking for new ways to help prevent serious and fatal crashes on our highways,” DeWine said. “Although we’re confident that these warning systems will help prevent crashes, there is still no substitute for safe driving. For these signs to be effective, drivers must be paying attention.”

The primary goal of these warning systems is to address the rising number of “end-of-queue” crashes, where drivers fail to recognize slowing or stopped traffic, resulting in collisions at the tail end of the slowdown.

ODOT reported an increase in end-of-queue crashes to 8,811 in 2023. The introduction of technology at these 13 sites aims to decrease such crashes by at least 16%, anticipating a reduction of around 1,400 collisions. The first system was activated on I-70 westbound at State Route 310 in Licking County, a location associated with a fatal rear-end crash in November 2023.

The automated traffic queue warning systems share technology similarities with ODOT’s wrong-way driver detection systems in Cincinnati, Dayton, and Columbus. These existing systems have successfully identified nearly 300 wrong-way drivers, showcasing the effectiveness of such technology.

“I’m incredibly proud of the efforts our team has made to ensure Ohio is leading the way when it comes to deploying these new resources,” Marchbanks said. “These new warning systems, combined with Ohio’s toughened distracted driving laws, will surely save lives.”

ODOT is optimistic about the potential impact of these warning systems on road safety. The initiative aligns with efforts to mitigate distracted driving, with provisional crash data from the Ohio State Highway Patrol indicating a significant reduction in traffic crashes in 2023 compared to previous years.

“Education of distracted driving, along with this technology, will help achieve our mutual goals of increasing safety on our roads and reducing serious crashes,” said Colonel Charles A. Jones, Ohio State Highway Patrol superintendent. “We, as troopers, take it to heart that our job every day is to ensure that motorists make it home to their families, and we make it home to ours.”

While the full implementation of the automated warning systems at the remaining 12 sites will take approximately two years, ODOT is actively evaluating other highway locations in the state that could benefit from similar technology. This forward-looking approach reflects the state’s commitment to leveraging technology to enhance road safety and prevent avoidable accidents.



Source: The Trucker