The Illinois Tollway is making dramatic gains in integrating GIS within the Tollway environment, said Kurt Lebo, GIS Manager for the Tollway. The organization purchased ESRI's ArcGIS Server in 2005 and used it to slash time spent on lane closure approvals.

"If someone wanted to close down a driving lane for maintenance or other issues, they would send a fax or call the designated Tollway staff, who would in turn go through a bunch of manual processes to determine what lane could be closed and when. It often took them days to figure all this information out," Lebo said.

The Lane Closure application uses event table and linear referencing tools and ESRI's mapping system to show staff where closures are scheduled or proposed on a per-lane basis along the entire tollway system.

"You no longer have to talk or go to three or four people to make a decision on closing a lane. You have most of the information at your fingertips," Lebo said. Some of the available information within the application is average daily traffic, recommended closure charts, other scheduled or recurring closures, and a means of accessing event information, such as a baseball game, that may have a great impact on tollway traffic.

Previously, staff worked from 7:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. to enter a day's closure requests into the Tollway's old system. Now they typically finish data entry by 9:30 a.m.

"The managers can log on to the application and see all proposed lane closures and with the click of a button, may 'approve' or 'not approve,'"

Lebo said. Lebo's team also created a linear referencing system that integrates mileposts on the 274-mile system with GIS data so users can determine how many lanes exist between two mileposts. Staff can schedule where closures will happen on the tollway system with greater precision.

The Lane Closure tool using ArcGis Server serves as a means to use ESRI's technology to effectively manage lane closures. This has been a great tool as the Tollway is undergoing a $5.3 billion Congestion-Relief Plan, and project coordination is of the utmost importance.

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