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Indiana Department of Transportation

INDOT > Traffic Operations > Travel Times Travel Times

INDOT has installed Travel Time Signs and Dynamic Message Signs along metropolitan interstates to let motorists know the minutes of travel to upcoming destinations and provide them with road information that allows them to change their travel plans or seek alternate routes if necessary.

While many states have chosen to display travel times on Dynamic Message Signs (DMS), INDOT deploys separate Travel Time Signs and DMS so the travel times are still available to motorists when downstream lane-restricting incident information is displayed on a DMS – the most critical time to have travel time information. The Travel Time Signs and Dynamic Message Signs complement each other: the DMS will tell of the specific problem and location, while the Travel Time Signs will provide valuable supplemental information regarding travel times.

Travel Time Signs

Travel Time Signs are traditional panel signs, usually with two destinations shown and electronic inserts indicating the minutes of travel to those destinations.

Because Travel Time signs include distances to downstream locations, they enable motorists to determine if the posted travel time reflects free-flow conditions or congestion ahead. Motorists use this travel time information, along with downstream lane-restricting information which is displayed on Dynamic Message Signs (DMSs), to make informed decisions about their trip ahead.

INDOT deployed the first Travel Time signs on westbound I-80/94 in northwest Indiana in January 2010. Five additional Travel Time Signs were completed and activated in August 2013 in northwest Indiana, completing the deployment of six signs in this area. An initial 14 Travel Time Signs in the Indianapolis area were deployed in stages from February 2012 to June 2012. Six additional signs were deployed in the Indianapolis area in January 2014, four of which are Thru Traffic Travel Time Signs, which allow major through traffic movements to determine the quickest way through the Indianapolis area, by either using I-465 or by traveling through downtown on I-65 or I-70.

Seven additional Travel Time Signs are proposed for deployment in Fiscal Year 2016 in the Indianapolis area, two of which will be Thru Traffic Travel Time Signs. Approximately 12 additional signs are proposed beyond Fiscal Year 2016 to complete the Travel Time Sign deployment in the Indianapolis area.

Dynamic Message Signs

DMS are electronic traffic control devices that provide dynamic (changing, not static) operational and guidance information to motorists, such as incident, traffic, and road condition information, emergency alerts, and other driver advisories at strategic locations on and adjacent to high-volume freeways – ideally in advance of a major decision point or suitable alternate routes. Motorists can utilize this information to divert, delay, or even cancel their trip and avoid the delays.

INDOT has installed 60 overhead Dynamic Message Signs in Indiana. A total of 37 are located in the Indianapolis area. Another 12 signs are in northwest Indiana, near Chicago, while southern Indiana near Louisville has nine signs. Two signs are located in the Fort Wayne area. The first overhead Dynamic Message Signs in Indiana were deployed in 1998. Additional Dynamic Message Signs are planned in the Indianapolis area and in northwest Indiana through Fiscal Year 2016.

Sign Funding

Most travel information signs are financed using Federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds. CMAQ funds can only be used on eligible projects in counties that are either in Non-Attainment or Maintenance status for National Ambient Air Quality Standards. These funds can only be used on very limited types of transportation-related projects.

CMAQ funds cannot be used for any other purpose, such as the majority of highway projects (such as resurfacing, bridge work, or added capacity projects). INDOT intends to secure CMAQ funds for planned future Travel Time Signs and Dynamic Message Signs.

Contact Information

Edward D Cox
Managing Engineer Corridor Operations
Indiana Department of Transportation
Traffic Management Center
8620 East 21st Street
Indianapolis, IN 46219