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Foothill Freeway Congestion Relief Plan
The Foothill Freeway (Interstate 210) is a vital component of the Los Angeles County and Ventura County freeway network. This heavily traveled corridor varies from three to six lanes including High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV, or carpool) lanes.
The main objective of the I-210 Congestion Relief Project is to better regulate vehicle flow upon entering the freeway system. This is being accomplished with advanced metering equipment and technology for use with on-ramp meters, freeway-to-freeway connector meters and HOV Bypass Lane metering.
New on-ramp meters along a 50-mile corridor of eastbound and westbound I-210 are fully operational from the San Bernardino County line to the Golden State Freeway (I-5) in Sylmar.
Freeway-to-freeway connector meters:
Freeway-to-freeway connector meters have been installed at nine connectors to transition motorists onto I-210 from State Routes 2, 57, 118, 134 and 605. To date, four connectors are activated (SR-57 and SR-605) and the other five are scheduled for activation in 2010. Nowhere in the nation, or the world, has freeway-to-freeway connector metering been used with such innovation and to the extent as in Los Angeles County.
HOV Bypass Lane meters:
The I-210 Congestion Relief Project includes metering all HOV Bypass Lanes to better manage the flow of carpool lane users onto the freeway mainline. HOV Bypass on-ramp lanes are metered separately from single-occupant on-ramp lanes
Fact Sheet (PDF)
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the I-210 Congestion Relief Project?
Motorists at on-ramps waiting to enter I-210 have found that non-stop streams of vehicles on the mainline make it difficult to merge onto freeways. The goal of the I-210 Congestion Relief Project is to utilize ramp metering to manage the flow of vehicles entering the freeway as well as to address other safety concerns. This improvement will also help to alleviate unnecessary weaving that occurs while entering the freeway and when trying to exit with quick, last minute maneuvers. Very often, it is these last-minute maneuvers that causes accidents. The meters will help to ease congestion around an incident on the system, when they unfortunately occur.
How did this project come about?
Caltrans was involved in research and software design of an innovative and adaptive metering system when funding from Governor Schwarzenegger's Strategic Growth Plan became available in 2006. Caltrans was able to deliver this Congestion Relief Project in less than two years. The I-210 corridor was a perfect fit to implement this unique system because of its 50-mile length, numerous long on-ramps and connection to so many other major arteries like Routes 2, 118, 134 and 605.
Which freeways have activated ramp metering?
The I-210 Congestion Relief Project includes the entire 50-mile route from the San Bernardino County line to Interstate 5 near Sylmar. Ramp meters and freeway-to-freeway connector meters became active on the I-210 corridor from the San Bernardino County line to Pasadena beginning March 2008. Ramp meters on I-210 from Pasadena to I-5 were activated June 10, 2009 and those on southbound US 101 between Rancho Road in Thousand Oaks and Las Virgenes Road in Calabasas became active June 15, 2009. Ramp meters on northbound US 101 within these same limits will be activated on a future date.
Why has Caltrans installed stop lights on the freeway? (Freeway-to-freeway connector metering)
The lights are not the same kind of stop-and-go lights that are on streets and highways. These traffic lights are freeway-to-freeway connector meters that are technologically advanced to read and calculate data to better predict and adapt to congestion. The metering system is able to respond to real-time traffic situations, congestion and incidents that motorists are unaware of ahead on the freeway corridor. The goal is to better control the flow of traffic on I-210, which is one of the most heavily traveled and congested east-to-west freeway corridors in Los Angeles County.
How can ramp meters improve my commute?
On-ramp meters collect and transmit information in real-time using fiber optics and algorithms. The data collected from each ramp meter and freeway-to-freeway connector meter is compiled to predict what may be happening further ahead on the route and adjust meters to prevent congestion from too many vehicles simultaneously entering the freeway. The metering system us able to re-adjust when accidents or other incidents occur and can also calculate historical data of traffic flow from the past 5 or 10 minutes of from the past weeks, months or years to predict traffic patterns. A short wait on the ramp will result in smoother, consistent traffic flow on the mainline, resulting in faster travel time and less congestion and delays for everyone.
Has construction completed? What is left to do?
Construction has completed and all equipment has been installed, but Caltrans has yet to activate five freeway-to-freeway connector meters. As of June 10, 2009 all on-ramp meters along the corridor (east- and westbound) are now active. In March and April 2008, four freeway-to-freeway connector meters became fully operational from northbound I-605 and from northbound SR-57 to east- and westbound I-210. By fall 2009, Caltrans will activate metering on five more freeway-to-freeway connector interchanges onto the east- and westbound I-210 from Routes 2,118 and 134.
It seems that there are ramp meters at every on-ramp along the I-210. Why so many?
Yes, every entry point on the east- and westbound I-210 corridor from the San Bernardino County line to the I-5 Interchange has been metered. This amounts to 1,000 ramp meters to better control the flow of traffic onto the heavily traveled corridor.
Who monitors the meters?
With the assistance of information gathered through fiber optic cables and wire loops beneath the pavement, Caltrans Ramp Metering Staff at the Los Angeles Regional Transportation Management Center remotely monitor, collect data, set appropriate metering rates and make adjustments at any given location on the entire I-210 corridor. In addition, staff performs on site monitoring and evaluations at meter locations, as needed. .
Traffic is bottlenecking at some ramp meters. Why is this happening when the flow on I-210 has improved?
With any new system, there is an adjustment and familiarization period, however, motorists will see an improvement in their overall travel time on the mainline freeway.
It appears that congestion at the meters causes impatient drivers to cut in line rather than wait.
As with all law enforcement issues on state-owned freeways and highways, all illegal maneuvers are the responsibility of the California Highway Patrol. The public is asked to plan ahead and expect delays while motorists become familiar with these improvements. A short wait at the ramp meter will result in smoother, consistent traffic flow on the mainline, resulting in faster travel time and less congestion and delays for everyone.
Why now? I've been driving I-210 for twenty years and there has never been a problem.
While you may not experience gridlock today, it is the responsibility of Caltrans to look 20 to 30 years into the future and prepare for population growth and more vehicles. In fact, population and vehicle growth is steadily climbing and this trend is expected to continue.
FAQ Fact Sheet (PDF)
For further questions, please contact-
Public Information Officer
100 South Main Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012