September 23, 2011
Colorado State Police, along with the Silverthorne Police Department, have run the first tests of a new technique used to control heavy traffic flow on the highway. According to 9 News, the departments are planning a second run of trials this weekend on a 27-mile stretch of I-70 between Silverthorne and Empire Junction in Colorado.
The technique known as pacing puts squad cars into traffic with travelers. These “pace cars” either travel in the center or left lanes, with lights on, at a pace of between 45-55 MPH. The technique is designed to even out congestion and slow traffic down, creating a safer environment on the road and causing fewer accidents to occur.
The first tests were run August 13, between the Eisenhower Tunnel and Silverthorne, to great success. The Saturday trial had approximately 1,200 to 1,500 vehicles per hour traveling the corridor with no crashes reported. The results are in their early stages though and officials say it is too early to judge the campaign’s success. That is why they are hoping to mimic previous conclusions in heavier traffic conditions that are expected for this Sunday’s run. Experts say there could be between 1,800 to 2,300 vehicles per hour traveling the stretch of road this coming weekend.
More tests are scheduled for later this year, and if successful, the technique could be put to use in the line of duty as early as winter of 2012.