May 9, 2005 - Tennessee Department of Transportation
Commissioner Gerald Nicely along with Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam
started the countdown, and with the press of a button today, launched
TDOT SmartWay - Knoxvilles new intelligent transportation system.
The new system, controlled from the state-of-the-art Transportation
Management Center at the Knoxville TDOT headquarters, is expected
to make highway travel in the region safer, and more user-friendly.
SmartWay uses advanced technology that includes 70 cameras, 16 electronic
message boards, more than 200 speed congestion monitoring stations
to spot traffic flow interruptions and highway advisory radio stations
that broadcast on AM frequency 1620 . This equipment is used to
provide up-to-the-minute traffic information to drivers so they
can avoid congested areas. At the same time, it gives TDOT the tools
it needs to better monitor traffic delays and more quickly respond
to road problems.
Widening highways in urban areas cannot be the only option
for improving congestion. Utilizing this technology allows us to
communicate directly with motorists so they can make smarter choices
on the highway as they go about their day, TDOT Commissioner
Gerald Nicely said. Our first TDOT SmartWay system which was
initiated in Nashville two years ago has made a big difference in
helping clear up incidents, some by as much as thirty minutes.
Weve really been looking forward to the opening of
TDOT SmartWay. People who live in or drive through Knoxville are
tired of being stuck in traffic because of incidents, road maintenance,
and highway construction. While we cant get rid of the orange
barrels, TDOT SmartWay can help drivers know what to expect before
they leave their homes or offices, said Mayor Haslam. This
system will especially be a benefit to us as we begin the major
undertaking that includes the safety improvements downtown on Interstate
According to Nicely, TDOT SmartWay has the potential to add 15%
capacity to Knoxvilles interstate system without widening
The sharing of TDOT SmartWay intelligence is also a key to the
systems success. Starting today, camera images from TDOT SmartWay
will be fed directly to TDOTs website, www.tennessee.gov/tdot/tdotsmartway.
In the near future, local television stations will begin airing
live feeds from the TDOT SmartWay cameras to assist their viewers
on frequent newscasts.
TDOTs new SmartWay system was first implemented in Nashville
in June of 2003. Plans to expand the system into Chattanooga and
Memphis are already underway with the early components of TDOT SmartWay
being installed this year.