Office of Operations
photos of traffic merging onto congested highway, congestion in snowstorm, variable message sign, cargo, variable speed limit sign in a work zone, and a freeway at night
21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

Traffic Bottlenecks

Combating Bottlenecks


Kansas Enacts Law Enabling Buses to Use Interstate Shoulders

A new 2010 Kansas law clears the way for Johnson County to become just one of a handful of areas nationwide where buses may drive on interstate shoulders to skirt traffic congestion.

Gov. Mark Parkinson has signed a bill that allows the county to move forward with its bus plan for the Interstate 35 corridor between southern Johnson County and Kansas City.

The law will allow buses to run on shoulders only when traffic speeds dip below 35 mph on the freeway's main lanes. Buses could only exceed the flow of interstate mainlane traffic by 10 mph. Final rules will have to be approved by the Kansas Department of Transportation.

As of 2010, there are at least eight other metropolitan areas — including over 270 miles of bus-shoulder use in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region alone, and on I-66 in VA outside of Washington D.C. — that use some sort of peak hour congestion "jump" on the shoulders to bypass localized hot spots.

KC "Scout" program installs ramp meters in 2009

In late 2009 Kansas City began ramp metering at seven locations along a section of I-435. "Ramp metering has significantly increased the merging gaps that motorists have to enter the I-435 corridor from Metcalf to 104th Street. (Succeeding congestion reports) reflect a decrease in congestion along that corridor." The Kansas City "Scout" metropolitan traffic management system is a cooperative venture between KDOT and MoDOT and is specific to Kansas City's traffic, as that city is bi-located in both states. KC Scout is named for an iconic Sioux Indian scout statue in downtown K.C., and represents the "seeing ahead" aspect of intercepting traffic problems in real time and responding thereto. KC Scout is primarily an incident-responsive management bureau (i.e., for nonrecurring congestion) but the ramp metering and the recent addition of annual congestion indexing represent steps towards recurring congestion management too.