New signboards posted on a key highway artery leading into Boston will give motorists real-time traffic information, state officials said today, emphasizing that they are trying to improve the “customer experience” for drivers.
The signs posted on Interstate 93 notify drivers of travel times between interchanges. For example, on I-93 at Pelham Street in Methuen, southbound drivers now see a sign telling them how long it will take to drive to the Route 128 interchange in Woburn.
A total of 22 message boards have been set up. The total also includes several signs on highways approaching Interstate 93. On Interstate 95 northbound in Neponset, for example, drivers can see the time it will take to reach the Braintree split, officials said.
“We are very excited to be announcing today for the first time in the Commonwealth’s history real-time traffic data on our roads for our customers coming up and down 93 from the New Hampshire border to Canton,” Transportation Secretary Richard A. Davey said at a news conference.
The Real Time Traffic Management pilot project cost $1.2 million for the signs and software. Officials said plans call for the project to be expanded to other parts of the state.
In addition to allowing people to consider alternate routes, Davey said, the signs “should reduce stress levels,” giving people greater control over their days.
“If you need to call ahead and say you’re going to be late for a meeting, for example, because traffic is so difficult or you might be home early to pick up the kids, we’ll be able to give you that information today as opposed to wondering, guessing, and praying. We’re actually going to give our customers some real information,” he said.
Davey and other officials, who gathered at the state highway operations center in Boston, also announced that seven new permanent online cameras, plus two portable cameras, would be made available for people interested in road conditions on Cape Cod, a crucial topic for many during the summer months.
The new cameras bring the number of cameras trained on Cape traffic to 14, officials said.