It’s not often that intelligent transportation technology emerges from the background and becomes part of a major news story, but International Road Dynamics
’ virtual weigh stations played a significant role during Hurricane Irma. With Irma about to hit the southeast US in early September, the Florida and Georgia state authorities initiated mandatory evacuations for areas of the states expected to be most severely affected. There were two interstate highways heading north out of Florida: I-75 up the middle of the state and I-95, up the east coast into Georgia, then heads inland towards Atlanta and becomes I-16.
Georgia Motor Carrier Compliance Division (GMCCD), which is responsible for the state’s weight and safety enforcement, had the ability to reverse traffic flow on I-16, doubling the capacity of the route for people fleeing the danger area. However, manually blocking off I-16 on-ramps and stationing patrols at interchanges to warn motorists of the change of direction of traffic consumed significant personnel resources.
To get a clear idea of the traffic flow heading out of Florida, the GMCCD used data from several International Road Dynamics’ (IRD) virtual weigh stations. These showed that traffic, which normally amounts to around 30,000 vehicles on a typical weekend day, spiked at more than 80,000 as residents fled the approaching hurricane.
This data also allowed the GMCCD to see in real time when the flow was easing and it could safely return I-16 to its usual direction, easing demands on its personnel.
The flow reversal lasted for eight hours on September 9; the information from the weigh stations allowed the operation to conclude earlier than anticipated, freeing staff resources.