Why Are There Traffic Lights On I-270?

Have you noticed what seem to be traffic lights during rush hour on entry ramps on I-270?

They are ramp meters; ramp meters are a part of the I-270 Innovative Congestion Management (ICM) Project, a traffic-congestion improvement project spearheaded by the MD Department of Transit’s State Highway Administration.

Ramp meters are a tool that have been used for decades in multiple big cities across the country. Ramp meters are installed along the entrance ramps to freeways where they regulate the rate at which vehicles can enter the main highway, with the goal of reducing congestion on the highway.

Some opponents of ramp meters have asserted that the meters can cause backups that spill off into the entry ramps’ feeder streets, in addition to causing merging troubles off of some ramps. Supporters say that the meters help to reduce overall congestion on 270, particularly in the local lanes.

MD plans to continue installing ramp meters on I-270, with completion expected at the end of summer 2021. To learn more about the I-270 Innovative Congestion Management (ICM) Project, you can click here.

What are your thoughts on ramp meters?

Image courtesy of the MD DOT SHA website.

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