Office of Operations
21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

5.7 Use of ITS Equipment/Advanced Technology

During this evacuation, fixed variable message signs were activated on the interstate system and portable variable message signs were provided on both the interstate and surface streets to alert the public to the roadway closures and provide detour instructions.

The Utah Department of Transportation also used its fixed variable message signs outside of the incident zone to inform the public of the incident. Message signs approximately 50 miles to the north and 120 miles to the southeast of South Salt Lake City were activated.

Two tools suggested after this incident are:
  • Additional portable message signs for a large-scale incident. The Utah Department of Transportation has to contract for these resources. The signs could be purchased and used by Utah Department of Transportation resources.
  • Fixed message signs on more surface streets. There is a “tendency to underestimate variable message signs on surface streets.” However, in this instance, traffic was diverted away from the interstates to local surface streets, which could have used the additional information on traffic conditions.

February 6, 2006
Publication #FHWA-HOP-08-014