SE Michigan Regional Transportation Operations Coordinating Committee – October 2020




Date: October 23, 2020                                                                                                                       

Time: 9:00 AM

Meeting Held: Virtual Microsoft Team Meeting sponsored by Michigan Department of Transportation

Freeway and Arterial Operations Update

Aaron Raymond from MDOT reported on freeway and arterial operations issues.  He reported that freeway traffic volumes had returned to 80% of the level before the pandemic shutdown in March of 2020.  There are still traffic incidents on the freeways, and the Freeway Courtesy Patrol is still functioning  

MDOT has designated a TSMO Engineer at SEMTOC, and his initial work has been concentrated on traffic signal operations.  He is coordinating his efforts with local road agencies.

A central traffic system is expected to be operational next month.

TIM Partnering Workshop Plans for 2020

Jeff Young from the Washtenaw County Road Commission reported that the TIM Partnering Workshop for 2020 to be held at the Washtenaw County Community College in Ann Arbor on May 21, 2020 has been postponed to May 13, 2021. He is working to confirm the panel scheduled to discuss traffic planning for University of Michigan football games . Dennis Neubacher has agreed to provide a traffic reporters perspective on daily freeway traffic operations.

Traffic Planning for Detroit Events.

Carl Berry provided notes with the following information:

First, will be the Thanksgiving Day Parade, It will be a virtual parade only. People showing up in the downtown area will be encouraged to return home, and watch the parade in the comfort of their own homes. The parade and where it will be taking place will not be announced to the public.

The North American International Auto Show will be taking place the last week of September into the first week of October 2021. The planning has already started, and it will be the biggest show in the country. As the year progresses I will keep everyone up to date.

Some other events are already in the planning for 2021, and from the looks of it, 2021 will be a very busy year for everyone.”

Driverless Vehicle Corridor Between Downtown Detroit and Ann Arbor

Collin Castle from MDOT reported on the driverless vehicle corridor planned between downtown Detroit and Ann Arbor.  MDOT has retained Cavunue for the pre-creation process – a planning process that will outline the technologies to be deployed and suggest a funding process for the operation.  This is not intended to be a “Lexus Lane”.  It is intended to serve many modes of travel. 

This is intended to be a first-of-its kind connected vehicle corridor to improve transportation across Southeast Michigan and continue Michigan’s leadership in smart infrastructure and technology.  Canvenue is a company founded by Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners and was selected to lead the project by the state of Michigan.  The first phase of the project will test technology and explore the viability of a more than 40- mile driverless vehicle corridor.  The project will draw on an advisory committee of autonomous mobility companies, including Ford, GM, Argo AI, Arrival, BMV. Honda, Toyota, TuSimple & Waymo.

The project envisions connecting Detroit and Ann Arbor along with key communities and destinations along Michigan Avenue and Interstate 94 in Wayne County and Washtenaw County with an innovative infrastructure solution that allow for a mix of connected and autonomous vehicles, traditional transit vehicles shared mobility, and freight and personal vehicles.  It will build on existing investments made by the state of Michigan and local communities in smart infrastructure and transit and will link key destinations including the University of Michigan, Detroit Metropolitan Airport, and Michigan Central Station.  The corridor includes up to a dozen Opportunity Zones, where expanded mobility will connect individuals, small businesses, and communities to Southeast Michigan’s most important industrial, technological, and academic clusters.  This includes leading test tracks, universities, automotive companies, and key economic anchors.

Cavenue will work with the Michigan Department of Transportation, the Michigan Office of Future Mobility and Electrification, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, and industry and local project partners throughout Phase One of the effort, expected to last approximately 24 months.  Cavnue expects to draw upon an ecosystem of partner firms in mobility, infrastructure and technology, planning, development, research, and engineering.

Initial project partners include Ford Motor Company, which has pioneered mobility innovation in Michigan for more than 100 years; the University of Michigan, with its CAV research center and world-class Mcity test facility; Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) and facilities along the proposed corridor, and the American Center for Mobility (ACM), a leading test facility.  Ford’s chairman Bill Ford envisioned a connected corridor linking Detroit to Ann Arbor as part of the company’s Michigan Central development.  In June 2018, Ford outlined his vision that the company’s new Corktown innovation hub would be a critical east end node in the circuit running from Detroit to Ann Arbor and Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

Cavenue will develop OEM neutral standards and technology for the implementation of the corridor and permit connected and autonomous vehicles meeting specified safety and other standards to operate on the corridor regardless of the vehicle manufacturer.  In developing OEM neutral standards for implementation of the corridor, Cavnue will draw upon a advisory committee of automotive and autonomous mobility companies including Argo AI, Arrival, BMW, Honda, Ford, GM, Toyota, TuSimple, and Waymo.

Fire Service Report

Canton Fire Chief Christopher Stoecklein reported that the SE Fire Chiefs Expo scheduled for Novi in April has been postponed until 2021.  Fire and emergency response have been slowed by COVID precautions.  Responders may have to do personal protective equipment if they face exposure to the virus.  There has been a decrease in run volumes between March and June of 2020.  The SE Michigan Fire Chiefs are monitoring legislation that could affect emergency management .Since July he has noted an increase in traffic volumes and an associated increase in response times.

COVID Impacts on Ctty of Detroit Transportation Operations

Tony Geara from the City of Detroit on the impacts of the COVID pandemic on transportation operations in the city.  This included impacts on traffic crash type and severity.  There have been more crashes and speeds have been higher.  There have been more angle crashes but less rear end crashes.  Traffic volumes are down.  There have  more fatal and serious injury crashes.  Truck volumes are back to historic levels. Pedestrian movements have been reduced.  Because of more reports of speeding in residential areas speed cushions have been installed in several areas.

Statewide Traffic Incident Management

Dawn Miller reported on statewide traffic incident management activities.

Mi-TIME National Traffic Incident Management Responder Training

  • Mi-TIME total training sessions: 376 (most recent 10/9/20)
  • Total responders trained: 8222 which is 25.3% of Michigan responders
  • Goal: 50% (16,278) of Michigan responders trained by 12/31/22
  • Fire/rescue have 49.5% trained, Law enforcement 22.8%, DOT/Roads 34.9%, others less than 20%

National Traffic Incident Response Awareness Week (NTIRAW) – November 9-15, 2020

  • Planning for activities this week to increase awareness of responders and the motoring public of traffic safety when encountering traffic incidents
  • National slogan is “Slow down. Move over. Be safe.”
  • Live TIM demonstration planned outdoor at Delta Township Fire Dept to promote responder and public awareness of safely responding to incidents on roadways
  • Live demonstration will require strict adherence to COVID-19 screening, wearing masks and social distancing minimum of 10 feet

2021 Traffic Safety Summit March 9-10, 2021

  • TIM Sampler submitted as a breakout session including: Responder Safety & Why Effective TIM is Essential – Ron Tennant; Mi-TIME update – Dawn Miller; Multi-Vehicle Crash Response Kit/Plan – Victoria Bordner
  • Conference format still to be determined
  • MDOT Traffic & Safety scholarships – 10 available; only 4 used last year   

Next TIM Action Team Meeting: December 2, 2020 – Microsoft Teams Meeting. Contact Dawn Miller at [email protected] to be invited to meeting.