I-17 101 traffic interchange

Grants will help ADOT improve commercial vehicle safety

Grants will help ADOT improve commercial vehicle safety

November 28, 2016

PHOENIX – Pilot projects using technology to make highway work zones safer and commercial vehicle inspections at the border more efficient will begin in early 2017 thanks to federal grants recently awarded to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

The Commercial Vehicle Information Systems and Networks grants, totaling $581,000, are from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

“These projects will make our work zones safer and improve how efficiently we inspect trucks that bring billions of dollars in commercial goods into our state,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said. “It’s another way ADOT is making our highways Key Commerce Corridors that improve the quality of life in Arizona by moving products and people.”

A work zone notification system will use emerging vehicle communication technologies to alert commercial drivers that they are approaching construction or incidents on freeways, and also make them aware of variable speed limits, traffic congestion and lane closures.

While the primary goal is reducing crashes and injuries, the pilot project is also designed to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion in work zones.

It’s a joint project involving ADOT, the Maricopa County Department of Transportation and the University of Arizona. One work zone will be chosen on a highway managed by ADOT, while a second work zone will be on Maricopa County 85, which runs from the Agua Fria River in Avondale to State Route 85 near Buckeye.

The $337,000 project will begin in early 2017, with pilot demonstrations in place by August 2018.

The second project will connect separate technologies used by state and federal inspectors at the Mariposa Border Port of Entry in Nogales to allow officers with ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division to make more-informed decisions about which commercial trucks to pull aside for expanded inspections.

Mariposa is Arizona’s busiest commercial port, processing the majority of the $30 billion in imports and exports that cross the Arizona-Mexico international border, including much of America’s winter produce.

Screenings by ADOT and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration officers are based primarily on visual inspections of trucks and documents presented to officers in Rapid Enforcement Lanes. The two agencies have separate computer systems with different information about trucks crossing the border. Some trucks cross several times in the same day.

This $224,000 project, expected to be completed by summer 2018, will build an interface that allows state and federal inspectors to share safety and credential information about trucks crossing into Arizona from Mexico. That will allow inspectors from both agencies to make inspection decisions based on more complete information on each truck, trailer, cargo and driver.

The shared information will be available by computer before a truck reaches the inspection booth. Combined with the truck’s weight and historical information from earlier border crossings, ADOT officers can make decisions quickly on whether to pull trucks aside for a closer look or allow them to continue north.