Why Are There Traffic Lights On I-270?

by Daniel Garay

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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9 comments

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CJO October 29, 2020 - 4:35 pm

Not excited about these

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Gary N October 29, 2020 - 5:18 pm

About the dumbest idea ever . They had that down in Va on 95 inside the beltway. NOBODY pays attention to it. The idea of accelerating up to speed is the only thing that helps traffic on a highway entrance . Not the opposite.

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Kathy G October 29, 2020 - 7:11 pm

Stupidest thing I’ve ever heard

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Pamela Evans October 29, 2020 - 10:15 pm

Will make things worse. Stop building more cities until you build more roads.

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Steve October 29, 2020 - 10:25 pm

On ramps to 270 are congested enough as is. Adding ramp lights will only back up feeder roads more, adding more congestion, more pollution instead of focusing on adding either CAPACITY or INCENTIVES to work from home. So misguided by shortermism.

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Sean October 29, 2020 - 10:26 pm

In theory it could work… but who am I kidding we can’t even merge correctly or move over when in the left lane doing 60…

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Ron October 30, 2020 - 8:19 am

I’ve seen ramp meters in California and Virginia, they tend to fall into disuse as things get more congested suggesting they only work if you aren’t, so I think they are a waste of money and only work if traffic density allows.

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Eric’s Muscle Cars October 30, 2020 - 11:42 am

And who’s brilliant idea was this?

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Steven Newton November 3, 2020 - 4:43 pm

They work. https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/fhwahop14021/sec1.htm. Would you rather have tolls?

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