"Traveling Smart: High Tech Traffic Management on the New Jersey Turnpike," 1994

The amazing part is that the Turnpike Authority actually knows if traffic needs to be diverted. It can change the speed limit to reduce congestion and even warn motorists of problems on the road. Here, I'll show you.

This 46-mile stretch of the Turnpike from Interchange 8A to Route 46 is one of the smartest roads in the country. Embedded in the pavement are about a thousand sensors that detect the flow of traffic. They are part of the Turnpike Authority's "Automatic Traffic Surveillance & Control System," or ATSCS. Information from these sensors is transmitted to the traffic operations center in New Brunswick. If an accident or traffic jam is detected, the nearest of three State Police substations is notified.

Background audio of police notification.

Motorists can be warned and even rerouted with these changeable message signs. There's 73 of them. The signs are also used to communicate variable speed limits and speed warnings. With road sensors and changeable signs the ATSCS can keep tabs on the Turnpike 24 hours a day.