US-23 north of Ann Arbor is debuting a new traffic system named "Flex Route". Using cameras and monitors,

it allows for using the inside median or shoulder lane to be used for regular traffic flow when needed. The goal is to keep traffic flowing when they are accidents, or simply when there is heavy congestion. For example, a University of Michigan football game draws over 100,000 fans. Many of those travel to and from the game along US-23.

M-DOT's video explains how it works.

This first project should be up and running very soon. If it's successful, you can count on M-DOT to expand it around the state, much like round-a-bouts.

Is a Flex Route plan needed here? Anyone who's been stuck on I-94 or US-131 on a Friday afternoon would probably yell "yes". The guess here is, when the next round of highway rebuilds rolls around, this would be a perfect time to make the inside shoulder lane more drive-able that it currently is. The Interstate 94/US 131 interchange and surrounding area was just rebuilt a few years ago, and the highway between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek seems to undergo maintenance yearly, so it may be awhile. Also, between Battle Creek and Kalamazoo, it might not be very appealing to some drivers to be driving that close to a concrete barrier. But again, it's just during congested traffic times.

Don't be surprised to see Flex Routes around here in the next decade or two.



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