MDOT Looking Out for Motorists During Holidays (PHOTOS AND VIDEO INCLUDED)

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> According to AAA, U.S. average gas prices dropped below $2 per gallon on December 21 for the first time since March 25, 2009. That means even more people will be on the road during the holiday season. In preparation for the increase in travelers and shoppers, the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) is putting additional effort into monitoring the state’s highways to make sure everyone is able to enjoy the season with their friends and loved ones.
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> Using traffic cameras, congestion analysis technology, radar and temperature sensors, along with local agency communication, MDOT’s Traffic Management Center (TMC) observes the most traveled highways in the state to ensure the safety and mobility of the traveling public. MDOT’s TMC is the information hub or nerve center of Mississippi’s highway management system. Information is collected, verified, and disseminated to necessary stakeholders like the media, other state and local agencies, and the traveling public. The center is staffed 24/7 and there are two other TMC centers, on the Coast and in Hattiesburg.
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> Started in 2008, the TMC functions as the key technical and institutional hub to bring together agencies and service providers to focus on the common goal is to optimize the performance of the entire transportation system. Technology for traffic management has become a part of MDOT’s major projects that have been developed to improve efficiency and ensure the safety of the traveling public. With 507 traffic cameras and 26 Dynamic Message Signs, the TMC can inform motorists of real-time traffic conditions. This month, the TMC is putting further emphasis on the most traveled routes and areas that may experience the greatest amount of congestion as a result of the holiday season.
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> At the click of a button, important traveler information about Mississippi’s highways is sent to approximately 100,000 people across the state. The TMC releases traveler information in many ways:
> · Traffic alerts are sent via email or text to people who sign up on MDOTTraffic.com
> · Information is released through our smartphone app
> · Travel information and alerts can also be accessed by calling Mississippi 511
> · Dynamic Message Signs
> · Highway Advisory Radios
> · Social media outlets
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> The operations of the TMC are vital to the safety of the motorists in Mississippi and are heavily involved in emergency response. This year the TMC has sent out:
> · 9,000 total traffic alerts
> · 3,000 accident alerts
> · 1,600 weather alerts
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> Using these avenues of communication, MDOT is able to notify the public of concerns that may impact their route to be with friends and family, holiday shopping and everyday commute to work or school. MDOT’s three free travel resources provide an opportunity for Mississippians to know before they go this holiday season:
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> MDOTTraffic.com
> MDOTTraffic.com is one website with multiple options. You can locate welcome centers and rest areas, view live traffic feeds via cameras on major Mississippi highways, and sign up for email or text alerts about traffic delays and road conditions and customize your alerts according to your trip or daily commute. Over 16,000 users are registered on MDOTTraffic.com.
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> MDOT Traffic App
> Our free smartphone app is designed as a mobile companion for MDOTTraffic.com. There you can access traffic alerts, traffic cameras, and traveler information about your trip or route. Our smartphone app has been downloaded over 74,000 times and is available from the App Store and Google Play.
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> Mississippi 511
> A free service available 24/7, callers can dial 511 for on demand, route specific information along U.S. interstates and state highways. Mississippi 511 complements our other travel resources – MDOTTraffic.com and the MDOT Traffic mobile app. In 2014, Mississippi was in the top 10 for the number of calls to a state 511 system. We’ve received 90,000 calls to our 511 system this year. We receive anywhere from 200 to 300 calls per day.
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> MDOT wants to ensure that every Mississippian can enjoy their holiday season by making it to their destination safely. For more information about MDOT’s Traffic Management Center and MDOT’s travel resources, visitMDOTTraffic.com, download the smartphone app or call Mississippi 511.
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