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The flex route system is a lane control system that uses overhead signs, cameras, and electronic message boards to let drivers know when an additional lane is available for use during morning and afternoon peak travel periods. Flex Route technology helps manage congestion and improve safety for highways that frequently experience traffic congestion during peak travel periods.
Flex Route Locations
- Completed: US-23 between M-14 and M-36 (9 Mile Rd.) in Washtenaw County
- In Construction: I-96 from Kent Lake Road to the I-275/I-696/M-5 interchange in Oakland County
- In Design: US-23 extension from south of M-36 (9 Mile Rd.) to the I-96/US-23 interchange in Washtenaw County
How do MDOT Flex Routes work?
MDOT's Flex Routes are monitored by the department's Transportation Operations Centers (TOC). The TOCs are a seven-day-a-week operation that houses dispatchers from MDOT and Michigan State Police. The agencies share resources and information by monitoring traffic sensors, distress calls and video feeds from closed-circuit TV cameras. They also coordinate their efforts with law enforcement agencies and other transportation officials.
This includes an intelligent lane control system consisting of overhead signs, cameras, and electronic message boards, which TOC employees monitor and adjust as needed. If a traffic condition develops, the TOCs will adjust the Flex Route through electronic lane control signs mounted above each lane. These signs show motorists which lanes are available and provide the recommended speed for the current travel conditions.
Additionally, traffic incidents are managed with assistance from MDOT’s Freeway Courtesy Patrol and several new crash investigation sites that are strategically located along the corridor.
Why not just add another lane?
A 24-hour fix simply is not necessary on corridors that typically experience traffic slowdowns only during regular peak travel periods. It is more cost-effective to use the shoulder as a temporary third lane than it would be construct a third lane. Employing Flex Route technology increases capacity within the existing infrastructure for less money.