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April 21, 2014

Three states develop $1.7M traffic management system

New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont share resources, funding for project

CONCORD — New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont are cooperating on a more than $1.7 million project to create a northern New England traffic network of traveler information.

Public safety and highway crews also will use the system as they mount responses to traffic accidents and changing weather.

“It will be very cool,” said Denise Markow, who oversees the state’s Transportation Management Center. “We’re very excited.”

The governor and the Executive Council recently authorized contract talks with the other states, with final consideration of a regional compact expected as soon as next month.

The system likely will come online sometime in the next 18 months.

“January 2016 at the outer end,” Markow said.

This could just be the start.

The data hub would let Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island join later, if they want.

“Our long-term vision is to create a regional, New England system,” she said.

Third party vendors, such as websites and television stations, could access the information to develop mobile applications for commuter use, Markow said.

State transportation officials agreed pooling resources made sense.

New Hampshire’s cost is about $530,000. The state will use federal funds. It will be a web- and Cloud-based system.

“A one-stop web service,” Markow said.

People throughout northern New England will find information about accidents, construction, traffic and changing weather crossing borders.

Traffic and safety management pros, meanwhile, will put information into the system that will go to travelers via both the web and electronic roadside message boards, but also let the managers react to situations on the highway.

“This helps with incident response,” Markow said. “We can go in and provide response planning.”

New Hampshire ruled out incorporating a motorist call-in component because of the potential for sending a mixed message to drivers.

“We’re very concerned about distracted driving,” Markow said.

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