September 1, 2023

RK&K Receives “2023 Best TSMO Project” Award

National Operations Center of Excellence Honored I-270 Innovative Congestion Management Project in Maryland.

RK&K is honored to be part of the Design-Build team honored with the 2023 Best TSMO (Transportation Systems Management and Operations) Project Award from the National Operations Center of Excellence (NOCoE). The award recognized the I-270 Innovative Congestion Management Ramp Metering project in Maryland for its effectiveness regarding safety, congestion, and improving travel time reliability.

As the nation’s first highway project to use the Progressive Design-Build approach, RK&K was the Engineer of Record for the series of projects improving mobility and safety at key points along I-270. This project was the first deployment of Ramp Metering in the state of Maryland.

I-270 is a critical 30-mile interstate from I-70 in Frederick, Maryland to I-495 near Washington D.C., carrying over 200,000 vehicles per day in some segments. Recurring and non-recurring congestion and delays are often experienced along I-270.

RK&K’s Transportation group, in partnership with Maryland Department of Transportation, State Highway Administration (SHA), Concrete General Incorporated, and subcontractor Bruce & Merrilees Electric Company provided roadway design, planning, water resources, traffic engineering design and analysis services for the I-270 ICM. Services included:

  • Network level traffic analysis using VISSIM and Synchro/SimTraffic
  • Development of Concept of Operations (ConOps)
  • Interstate Access Point Approval (IAPA) analysis and documentation
  • Roadway design
  • Maintenance of Traffic (MOT) design
  • Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)/electrical system design and analysis
  • Transportation Management Plan (TMP) development
  • Traffic control device design
  • Environmental analysis
  • Permitting
  • Drainage, Stormwater Management and Erosion and Sediment Control
  • ITS integration and testing

Extensive traffic modeling of alternatives was completed for this project to identify the best use of the $100 million allocated for the project. Using a cost-benefit analysis tool, that RK&K developed previously for SHA, we ranked each improvement to determine the most cost-effective solutions to improve mobility and safety.

The team collaborated to develop 14 roadway improvements to address specific bottlenecks. Traffic responsive ramp metering was evaluated through detailed microsimulation and provided additional travel time savings.

RK&K completed ITS research during the bid to determine the appropriate ITS/ATM strategies to deploy. The ramp metering system manages congestion by limiting the number of vehicles that enter at each ramp throughout the system. RK&K collaborated with SHA to develop the Concept of Operations for the ramp metering system. Our team also assisted SHA with selection of the software vendor for ramp metering, including deployment of local and central software modules.

The operation of ramp metering began in 2021. Since it was the first deployment of ramp metering in Maryland, extensive coordination was required, both within the agency, with the public and with other agencies. Before the ramp metering went live, extensive public outreach was undertaken including development of educational videos, social media posts and traffic alerts to keep the public up to date on the project progress.

As a result of the program, a Regional Integrated Transportation Information System (RITIS) congestion scan showed:

  • For I-270 southbound traffic between MD 80 and I-495, up to 31 minutes of travel time savings were realized with ICM geometric roadway improvements and ramp metering.
  • Up to 10 minutes in travel time savings were due directly to ramp metering becoming operational.

RK&K, celebrating 100 years in 2023 was recognized as the “Design Firm of the Year” by ENR MidAtlantic. ENR also recognized RK&K as one of the best design firms in the magazine’s annual ranking of the Top 500 Design Firms.

RK&K is currently hiring. For a full list of opportunities, check out our Careers website.

RK&K was the Engineer of Record for the series of projects improving mobility and safety at key points along I-270. This project was the first deployment of Ramp Metering in the state of Maryland.

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