The SmartRoad: Technology for a Safer, more Efficient Roadway

Starting today, Pace buses are utilizing new “SmartRoad” technology on the Jane Addams (I-90) and making its service in the northwest suburbs more efficient, which should mean less traffic congestion for all of us! You might have noticed the SmartRoad technology by seeing the over-the-road signs installed every half mile between Barrington Road and the Kennedy Expressway on I-90.

This new technology provides real-time traffic and travel information to Pace Suburban Bus drivers as well as all of us. During times of heavy congestion, Pace buses will exclusively use these new Flex Lanes on the left inside shoulder of the roadway. However, at other times, the lanes will be open to commuters or emergency vehicles. This new technology will improve Pace’s already popular express service on I-90. 

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One of the ways the RTA proudly support projects like this is to help gather the best possible data so Pace can make informed and effective decisions when it comes to service planning.  Our 2012 market analysis of the I-90 corridor helped provide the insights needed to define where the park-n-ride stations should be built to best serve our passengers.  On the I-90 express route, travelers can use the Randall Road Park-n-Ride Station or the Northwest Transportation Center for a convenient, free place along the Tollway to park and catch buses to and from Rosemont, Elgin or Schaumburg.

Just like other modes of public transit, Pace’s Express Service saves people money. The cost of a round trip from Randall Road in Elgin to the Chicago Loop using these services is $4.50. The estimated cost of that same trip-using a car is $40.60 ($2.60 for tolls, $8 for gas, $30 for parking). When we can apply new technologies to existing infrastructure, we can do more to help the daily traveler save money while traveling more efficiently.

Express bus programs like this are the next phase of transit expansion in our region as they are more cost effective than rail expansion in our current economic climate. Soon, with help from IDOT, Pace will bring their Bus-on-Shoulder service to the Edens Expressway (I-94). Next year, we’ll see the launch of the Pulse Milwaukee Line, which will run from Jefferson Park Transit Center to Golf Mill Shopping Center in Niles along Milwaukee Avenue.

This is a good day for commuters across the region. And there are more good days to come.  

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