Morristown, N.J. — Louis Berger was awarded a 2018 Engineering Excellence Honor Award by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Maine for its work on the Adaptive Signal Control Technology System project in Warwick, R.I. Each year, ACEC sponsors an awards program to recognize engineering projects that epitomize quality, innovation, value and client satisfaction.

Similar to so many metropolitan areas nationwide, the city of Warwick faces transportation and circulation concerns. In particular, the notoriously busy Airport Road corridor posed a significant public safety concern for local residents. Louis Berger took a holistic look at the community and saw an opportunity to improve traffic and safety by implementing a pilot program for state-of-the-art adaptive signal control (ASC) technology.

“Utilizing this data, the traffic signals are adjusted in near real-time to safely and expeditiously move traffic through the corridor,” said Thomas Harley, vice president at Louis Berger. “The system reduces motorist travel time, delays and stops which helps cut down idling and decreases fuel consumption and emissions. This also has a positive impact on traffic corridor safety.”

Through a grant sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Louis Berger designed and installed ASC at eight signalized intersections located along the 1.5 mile corridor. The system sends data to a remote “brain” and optimizes signal timing for arterials, side streets and pedestrian crossings through infrared detection coordinated with web-based, near real-time ASC. This improves traffic corridor safety and reduces motorist travel time, delays and stops, thereby decreasing idling, fuel consumption and emissions.

Louis Berger brought together stakeholders, including the Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC), Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) and FHWA to implement this first of its kind transportation project in Rhode Island. The ASC system on Airport Road utilized federal funding to create a safer arterial through a residential and industrial area with minimal cost and construction impact to the traveling public. Designed, bid and constructed in 20 months, the ASC system has been successfully operating for more than one year.