US states will spend federal stimulus funds on smart road projects that use information technology to reduce congestion instead of investing more on traditional road and bridge construction projects.

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) survey reports that the change in investments will enhance capacity and performance of existing infrastructure.

From this perspective Colorado is planning to spend on high-tech weather alert systems along Interstate 70 where snow and ice can imperil winter truck traffic through the Rocky Mountains.

Ohio plans to install $15m of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) including traffic cameras, electronic message boards and weather advisory radios in the Cleveland and Akron areas.

The investments will improve transportation flow in high-occupancy vehicle lanes and electronic tolls to further reduce congestion, fuel consumption and emissions.

$74m in stimulus funds is earmarked for the ITS purchases along 72 miles of highway in the Philadelphia area of Pennsylvania.

This will reduce traffic delays and idling-related pollution by adding 59 closed-circuit video cameras and 39 electronic traffic signs to the roads.

Pennsylvania already has 175 cameras feeding into its system to help control traffic flow on the highways.

The US Department of Transportation’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration’s report in January 2009 states that ITS projects got underway more quickly than new road construction projects.