Simulation revealed that, in Fargo, North Dakota, a freeway management system displaying incident warnings on DMS and integrated with adaptive signal control could decrease travel times by 18 percent and increase speeds by 21 percent.

6-10 August 2000
Fargo,North Dakota,United States

Summary Information

This paper describes the results of a simulation study to determine the impact of a freeway management system on incident-related congestion in Fargo, North Dakota. The study also investigates the benefit of coordination between the freeway management system and an arterial management system to enable adaptive signal control based on the demands of the additional traffic diverted from the freeways during an incident. Simulation allowed the estimation of the impacts of both systems on travel times during an incident resulting in the closure of one freeway lane for twenty minutes.

The highway network investigated in this study consisted of the area surrounding the intersection of Interstates 29 and 94 in Fargo. At this point, the interstates serve primarily local traffic in Fargo, which is the largest city in the four-city Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan area. The area had a population of approximately 166,000 in 1996. Included in the study area were four of the area’s most heavily traveled arterials, providing travelers with alternative routes for diversion around the incident, which was simulated to occur in the northbound lanes of I-29 just north of the intersection with I-94.

The simulation provided traveler information to drivers in the form of link travel times for all possible routes and, for the relevant cases. For the case investigating the integration of freeway information dissemination with adaptive signal control, the simulation software emulated the Split Cycle Offset Optimization Techniques (SCOOT), optimizing arterial cycle lengths, phase splits and offsets every five minutes with phase lengths ranging from 60 to 120 seconds.


A simulation model indicated that in a city of moderate size, such as Fargo, a freeway management system that displays incident warnings on DMS and is integrated with adaptive signal control system can decrease travel times by 18 percent and increase speeds by 21 percent.

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An Evaluation of ITS for Incident Management in Second-Tier Cities: A Fargo, ND Case Study

Author: Birst, Shawn and Ayman Smadi

Published By: Paper presented at the ITE 2000 Annual Meeting. Nashville, Tennessee

Source Date: 6-10 August 2000


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Goal Areas


Typical Deployment Locations

Metropolitan Areas


traffic signals, adaptive signals

Benefit ID: 2000-00145