Overcoming rural ITS challenges with innovation and partnerships.
Our team is developing plans to extend a traffic management system into rural Tennessee. As system deployments in urban communities near completion, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) identified I-75 in Jellico as one of the first rural Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) installations.
Traversing Jellico Mountain, rugged terrain and weather events contribute to severe injury and fatal crashes. Traffic monitoring capabilities will decrease incident response times and enable traffic management in advance of weather and roadway incidents.
Venturing into this new frontier comes with challenges—this corridor is beyond TDOT-owned communications and several areas lack power access, and the rocky terrain will escalate conduit construction costs. We explored non-traditional alternatives for communication and power that utilized corridor resources such as existing cell towers.
The selected alternative will provide underground power and fiber optic communications tying into AT&T, using cameras, beacons, dynamic message signs, and other devices for TDOT to manage traffic. The previously identified cell towers will serve as power sources for the ITS devices.
Given that this corridor is a gateway to the Smoky Mountains, a main route for southbound vacationers, and a major north-south trucking route, proactive traffic management means increased reliability of steady traffic flow over Jellico Mountain.
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