Travel times on the go

November 12, 2008 4:46:03 PM PST
Commuters are used to their patience being tested while driving to and from work. Now those who use some busy suburban highways will take part in another test. PennDOT is launching a pilot program involving message boards along Routes 202, 30 and 100 in Chester County.

The signs have been up for a while, but starting on Monday, estimated travel times on will be displayed on eight big overhead road signs in Chester County, including frequently congested portions of Routes 202 and 30.

"This morning it took an hour to go 20 miles," said Becky D'Ambrosio of Coatesville.

Computers at PennDOT's Control Center will crunch the travel time numbers every 20 seconds.

Wednesday, speed sensors signaled travel time for a specific stretch of 202 as four minues. The thinking: If drivers see that number jump significantly, some might exit to local roads.

For now, program is only in Chester County, but is due to expand.

"So, in the next few months, motorists on the Schuylkill Expressway will see the same kind of messages teling them how long its going to take them, for instance from US 202 to US 1, or from US1 to 676," said Gene Blaum of PennDOT. "That's putting more information in the hands of travellers."

Later in 2009, PennDOT expects to be using the signs on Route 309 in Montgomery County.

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