Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle has released $833,000 to implement the first phase of an Advanced Traveler Information System for H-1, H-2 and H-201 (Moanalua) Freeways to help motorists avoid traffic and reduce their commute times.

This project is part of the $1.87 billion public infrastructure construction plan unveiled by Governor Lingle in December to stimulate the economy and create jobs. Progress of all 1,521 projects included in the plan can be tracked on the Governor's Web site.

In addition to building more roads, the state Department of Transportation (DOT) is pursuing alternative and innovative methods to reduce traffic congestion and maximize roadway efficiency. One of these methods includes the deployment of an Advanced Traveler Information System (ATIS) that will provide drivers with accurate and timely information, allowing them to make informed decisions about their travel routes and patterns.

This project will cover the purchase and installation of equipment that will lay the foundation for future ATIS enhancements -- including a 511 travel information Web and phone service. The funds will be used to purchase and install traffic detectors/sensors, which will allow DOT to determine vehicle speeds and travel times, as well as variable message signs and other media that can disseminate this information to motorists.

Governor Lingle previously released $345,000 for a consultant to begin development of the system. This $833,000 allotment will be matched by $3,332,000 in federal funds.

Design of the first phase is completed. Construction is scheduled to begin in July 2009 and be completed in December 2009.

The Advanced Traveler Information System is one part of a larger plan by the Hawaii DOT to deploy a comprehensive Freeway Management System (FMS) that will include elements such as additional closed-circuit television cameras, additional variable message signs and incident detection and management strategies to maximize the efficiency of our roadway system.

The total cost of the FMS is estimated to be around $59.5 million. More than $47.5 million of this cost will be covered by federal funds.