Atlanta turns to variable speed limit system to relieve highway congestion
Atlanta ranked as the 11th worst traffic city in North America, according to one study.
September 24th, 2012
02:31 PM ET

Atlanta turns to variable speed limit system to relieve highway congestion

Transportation planners in Atlanta, ranked 11th in North America for worst city traffic, are reaching into their bag of tricks for a way to control driving speeds based on real-time conditions.

The Georgia Department of Transportation will be installing new electronic variable speed limit signs along the northern half of Interstate 285. The speed limits will range between 45 mph and 65 mph, and they will fluctuate depending on traffic volume and weather conditions.

"We have been considering this legislation for about three years," said Georgia DOT Commissioner Keith Golden. "We want to give drivers a speed limit that they'll be more compliant to."

According The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the idea is to reduce stop-and-go driving and discourage frequent lane changes.

The whole system will be a relative easy project to set up, according to Golden. Work on the installation of the electronic signs is set to begin next month, and the system should be up and running by next summer.

“You’re able to move more traffic through with the variable sign system," Golden said.

Atlanta ranked as 11th worst traffic city (PDF)

Georgia isn't alone in this way of thinking. Washington, Virginia, Wyoming and other states have implemented a variable speed limit system along their highways.

According to a study by the Wyoming Department of Transportation, DOT officials from those states contend the system is working. Pat Persson, a district engineer in Wyoming, said the public reaction in general has been "very positive about these variable speed limits."

Traffic seems to be a concern for a lot of states. This month, the Texas Department of Transportation approved an increase in the speed limit on Texas State Highway 130 to a record 85 mph. The reasoning is the same as for Georgia - to help move traffic more efficiently.

According to Golden, there isn't necessarily a time frame for success for the Georgia project; however, if it manages to help congestion, then expect other highways in the Atlanta area, such as I-85, to receive the system as well.

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Filed under: Georgia • Wyoming
soundoff (163 Responses)
  1. icantdrivee55

    Once Anonymous gets ahold of the site FERRARI will become common sight.

    September 24, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mary

    If I'm not mistaken Cnn has used this photo before, maybe even this past summer. Anyone else notice?

    September 24, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ME

    It doesn't matter what the speed limit is, there will always be the driver in the far left passing lane driving 20 MPH under the limit causing artificial traffic jams.

    September 24, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • GothamsGirl

      You must definitely live in Atlanta. That is so very true!

      September 24, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mrvwbug

    This has already been implemented on I-80 in Wyoming, not sure how it will effect dense urban traffic, but out here it does a pretty good job of reigning in crazy truckers and SUV jockeys

    September 24, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Me

    This is already implemented in Seattle on I5 north, I90 between Seattle and Factoria (South of Bellevue), and I think on 520 (A Toll bridge which is why I don't know for sure). They want to do more. What a way to spend limited resources.

    Not really sure if it works as traffic is already doing the speed, or slower, that is posted. Doesn't help with truckers or idiots.

    September 24, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Colinc

    So, Atlanta's solution to their traffic problem is to... do nothing about it. Typical Atlanta.

    September 24, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Derrrr What

      did you not read the article? You must be from the south and lack the skills needed to actually read.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sheesh

    BAN CARS!!!

    September 24, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Arjuna

    We have this in Seattle, and it seems to do nothing at all to help traffic.

    September 24, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. The UK has been doing this for years

    This is done all around the UK and probably elsewhere in Europe. It works great to keep things moving. You idiots in the US just need to learn how to drive.

    September 24, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • heyhey

      Classy, just like Harry

      September 24, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jeremiah Diehl

    When the rapture happens, traffic is gonna get alot worse – Why The Rapture Must Happen

    September 24, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. LOL

    45LOL.. yea good luck with that. Why not just make it 15.

    hey guys... we are not moving but it says 45 up there... what gives. might as well say 130. when you aint moving aint nothing but a sign!

    September 24, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jaime

    This doesn't work. They implemented this in Seattle last year. Traffic is dead stopped and it'll say 45 mph. Makes me laugh every time

    September 24, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. William1956

    They need a speed limit sign that changes from 65 to 0 mph.

    September 24, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Hetman Ute

    I use variable speed at all times regardless of the posted limit. I am one of those guys you see driving like a maniac.
    I get from one place to another and do it well. I am a strong advocate of removing senile drivers who are a very real danger to all on the nation's roadways. They should not be driving yet feel they have no choice. Then someone is killed.

    September 24, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. William1956

    Or a speed limit sign that says you are now passing Atlanta please slow down and look at the broken down car on the left hand side of the road.

    September 24, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
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