• Sectors: Transportation

Georgia DOT’s Regional Traffic Operations Program reduces traffic across 12 counties

Atlanta, Georgia, United States - In Atlanta, population growth and geographic expansion brought traffic along popular commuter corridors to a crawl. With limited options for changing their roadway network, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) needed a novel solution for reducing the commute times, safety incidents and emissions related to congestion.


million in peak-hour congestion cost savings


million motorist hours eliminated

The approach

Since 2010, Arcadis has helped GDOT deliver unique Active Arterial Management (AAM). They coordinated with local agencies to support operation, management and maintenance of the infrastructure, as well as the development of innovative operational strategies. GDOT’s Regional Traffic Operations Program now manages over 1,900 traffic signals across 12 counties using advanced detection technologies, control strategies and communication architecture to optimize traffic flow.

“We saw a region trying to manage its congestion problem across different agencies and priorities. There was enormous potential for improved traffic flow if all required resources were managed under one team. That would effectively deliver the ultimate goals of the program to the region.” -Shahram Malek, Project Manager

The outcomes

Atlanta’s never been known for its quick commutes. But a population explosion in the Metro Atlanta area – more than 80 percent growth over the past two decades – and expansion of regional boundaries pushed its roadway capacity to the limit. The congestion came with negative impacts on reliability, safety, air quality and quality of life.

The roadway layout, a mostly radial network of arterials and interstates, left the region with few options for improving traffic flow. If the network couldn’t be built bigger, could it be made smarter? That’s what Shahram Malek, vice president, hoped.

Arcadis worked with GDOT to strengthen its RTOP by building a collaborative culture between our team’s resources, GDOT, local agencies and a multitude of innovative ITS vendors. They envisioned one program that delivered services to support regionwide goals and provided transparent, accessible reporting to all stakeholders.

Sharing resources (infrastructure and human) and field asset control would enhance network management, data-driven decision-making and collaboration between GDOT working teams and stakeholders.

Broad network, extensive collaboration

As the Program Manager, Arcadis performed all CE&I services for installations and maintenance conducted by contractor partners. The project management team led six consultants, two contractors, two system/software providers, and 24 local government agency stakeholders across multiple departments.

Arcadis helped optimize the teams’ potential by creating an environment for enhanced regional cooperation, pursuing technology that allowed engineers to stretch their capabilities, and remaining nimble enough to take on unforeseen challenges such as the I-85 bridge collapse in 2017.

Some of the project milestones included:

  • GDOT Transportation Management Center can now monitor and control traffic signals.
  • Regional communication network cuts across various agencies’ networks to deliver a unified traffic control network.
  • Video sharing architecture across all RTOP agencies.
  • Real-time performance measure reporting dashboard.

RTOP, comprised of 840 traffic signals across 12 counties, leverages digital tools and improved communication for monitoring and controlling the region’s traffic flow. Intuitive displays and system features help teams share insights on network problems and potential remedies.

Project expansion gets the green light

GDOT’s improved traffic signal operation is improving traffic operations and reliability, eliminating more than 10 million motorist hours and saving more than five million gallons of fuel. ITS America awarded the project a Smart Solution Spotlight Award for demonstrating how public agencies can use technology to reduce traffic delays and optimize efficiency while remaining cost effective.

The resounding success has led to 400 percent program expansion of the original scope to manage congestion using AAM in the Atlanta Metro area and beyond. Arcadis is working closely with GDOT to advance the project. It recently hosted an innovative design thinking session with GDOT working teams and stakeholders to determine the best path forward for future phases of the program.

As RTOP expands, and Connected Autonomous Vehicles become more prevalent, Atlanta’s penchant for congestion might become a thing of the past.



million in peak-hour congestion cost savings


million motorist hours eliminated


million gallons of fuel saved

Questions about this project

Shahram Malek

Vice President +1 770 384 6631 Ask me a question
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