WYDOT announces automated speed limit pilot program

Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 10:44 AM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - In order to increase safety and to accommodate for Wyoming’s quickly-changing weather conditions, the Wyoming Department of Transportation is announcing an innovative pilot program to semi-automate Variable Speed Limit signs this winter.

The new automated program uses data from WYDOT sensors to adjust the speed indicated on the VSLs when employees may not be in the area to initiate the changes themselves. This results in quicker speed adjustments, which can match how quickly conditions change on Wyoming highways.

“The automation still has a human component. Speed limit changes prompted by the program can be adjusted or even vetoed by a boots on the ground employee like a trooper or highway maintainer,” said Vince Garcia, WYDOT program manager.

For example, if sensors indicate traffic can resume normal interstate speeds, but there is an active crash investigation and cleanup in the area, troopers can hold the lower speed to protect first responders and keep the traveling public safe.

The program will start with two sections of VSLs, one located along Interstate 80 between Laramie and Rawlins and another on Wyoming Highway 28 over South Pass. If the program is successful, it can be expanded to other VSLs around the state.