The I-80 SMART Corridor project is an ongoing up-gradation project to incorporate an intelligent transportation system (ITS) to the Interstate 80 (I-80), a major transcontinental corridor connecting California and New York City, US. The project will play an integral role in the transportation network of the San Francisco Bay area.

By taking a safety, mobility and automated real-time traffic management (SMART) approach, the project will enhance safety and travel time reliability, as well as reduce traffic accidents.

The latest technology is being deployed to improve the traffic flow along the roadway from the Carquinez Bridge to the Bay Bridge within the Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.

The project is being developed through a partnership between the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the Alameda County Transportation Commission (Alameda CTC), the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA), the West Contra Costa County Transportation Committee (WCCTAC) and ten municipalities along the corridor.

The first phase of the 20-mile (32.18km) project began in July 2016 while full activation is scheduled for the second half of 2016.

I-80 SMART Corridor project background

I-80 Corridor, between the Carquinez Bridge and the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge, is one of the most congested corridors in the San Francisco Bay Area, carrying approximately 29,000 vehicles on an average day.

The current traffic flow system and other facilities on the corridor are insufficient to meet increasing traffic needs, resulting in traffic congestion and an increased number of accidents.

A safe and efficient traffic flow regulation system was thought to be critical to maintaining the vitality of the bay area.

Intelligent transportation system (ITS) on I-80 SMART corridor

The bay area is the first in the region to deploy an ITS for existing infrastructure.

The ITS will guide drivers with accurate, real-time information to enhance efficiency and safety for the corridor. The system eliminates the need to construct new roads and widen existing ones.

Components of SMART Corridor project

The I-80 SMART Corridor project will install adaptive ramp metering, incident management systems, signs and traffic information boards.

Traffic flow can be managed in real-time using adaptive ramp metering, making it safe for the drivers to enter the corridor. The meters are coordinated and able to adjust the rate at which traffic can be left through and thus reduce merging collisions and alleviate congestion on local streets and San Pablo Avenue.

With incident management systems, real-time information will be provided to the motorists in case of incidents, which could prevent unexpected lane changes, provide easier access for emergency response vehicles, and reduce congestion and secondary accidents.

Trailblazer signs will be installed on San Pablo Avenue and crossing arterials to intimate the drivers when to return to the corridor. Signal timing improvements will also be made to improve traffic flows and bus operations on the Avenue. Also installed will be traffic information boards to inform the drivers about the traffic conditions, expected travel times and travel alternatives ahead.

The interstate information and local arterial information will be integrated into a single region-wide system, which will support the management and coordination of traffic along the corridor and San Pablo Avenue in real-time.

Benefits of the project

The project will yield traffic flow and safety benefits, including increased safety and roadway operations throughout the corridor, as well as reduced travel time, congestion and accidents.

It will also improve access for emergency vehicles, and reduce incident recovery time and transit travel time along the arterials of the corridor and San Pablo Avenue.


The total investment for the project is estimated to be $79m, which is being funded by state, regional and local funds. State funds are being sourced from the Corridor Mobility Improvement Account (CMIA) and the Traffic Light Synchronization Programme while local finances are being provided by Alameda and Contra Costa.