T3 Webinar Overview

Variable Speed Limits Systems: Are They for Everyone?

View Webinar: link to this webinar's archive materials

Date:   Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Time:  1:00 PM – 2:30 PM ET
Cost:  All T3 webinars are free of charge
PDH:  1.5   View PDH Policy

T3 Webinars are brought to you by the Professional Capacity Building (PCB) Program of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (U.S. DOT) Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO). References in this webinar to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public, and does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the U.S. DOT.


Variable speed limits (VSL) systems utilize information on traffic speed, occupancy, and volume detection, weather, and road surface condition to determine appropriate speeds at which drivers should be traveling, given current roadway and traffic conditions. The use of VSL during less than ideal conditions, such as traffic and weather conditions, can improve safety by decreasing the risks associated with traveling at speeds that are higher than appropriate for the conditions and by reducing speed variance in traffic. In addition, VSL can be used to dynamically manage speeds during planned (rush hour congestion) and unplanned (incidents) events. Used in conjunction with managed lanes and other active traffic management (ATM) strategies, VSL can respond to downstream congestion to eliminate or delay bottlenecks and mitigate the possibility of crashes.

This webinar will present recent research results on state of the practice of VSL systems through comprehensive literature review and agency interviews, particularly on experiences from deployments in the U.S., and insights into successful and best practices from the following perspectives: planning and policy, design, deployment, and standards, operations and maintenance, and outcomes.

Learning Objectives

Attendees of this webinar can expect to learn about:

Target Audiences

The target audiences for this webinar include state and local transportation agencies, Traffic Management Centers (TMC), Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) and ITS program managers, and transportation and community planners and engineers. Target audiences also include consultants, academia, vendors, government officials, researchers, students, and those who are concerned with the effectiveness of VSL systems and applications.


Jimmy Chu, Transportation Specialist, U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

photo of Jimmy Chu

Jimmy Chu is a Transportation Specialist on the Traveler Information Management Team at FHWA in Washington, D.C. In this position, Mr. Chu oversees the Travel Time on Dynamic Message Signs program. He also manages the Transportation Management Center Pooled-Fund Study. He provides technical support to State agencies relating to traveler information programs. Prior to joining FHWA, Mr. Chu worked at the Virginia Department of Transportation for 25 years and was the manager of the TMC in Northern Virginia. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Maryland.


John McClellan, Freeway Operations Supervisor, Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) Regional Transportation Management Center (RTMC)

photo of John McClellan

John McClellan has worked for MNDOT since 2002. Mr. McClellan’s group is responsible for monitoring 700 Metro freeway traffic cameras, locating incidents, deploying overhead signs, coordinating response with State Patrol, and dispatching the Freeway Incident Response Safety Team (FIRST). Mr. McClellan is a regular presenter to first responders on highway safety and emergency traffic control.


Jiaqi Ma, Research Scientist and Project Manager, Leidos, Inc.

photo of Jiaqi Ma

Dr. Jiaqi Ma works at the Saxton Transportation Operations Lab of the FHWA Turner Fairbank Highway Research Center. His areas of expertise include connected automated vehicles, Intelligent Transportation Systems, traffic modeling and simulation, network optimization, planning for operations, travel demand forecasting, and data mining. He has managed and participated in many research projects funded by U.S. DOT and State DOTs, covering a wide range of areas including active traffic management, vehicle automation-based Speed Harmonization, Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control, bottleneck identification and mitigation, and Benefit/Cost analysis of Traffic Incident Management Strategies. He is a Member of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Standing Committee on Vehicle-Highway Automation, a member of the TRB Subcommittee on Travel Time Speed and Reliability, and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Bryan Katz, Vice President, Engineering, Toxcel, LLC

photo of Bryan Katz

Dr. Bryan Katz has more than 15 years of experience leading traffic operations and traffic safety research projects. He has led several projects related to variable speed limits, considering both operational and safety impacts. Dr. Katz is an active member of several professional organizations including the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, Transportation Research Board committees, and the Virginia Section of the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

Vinh Dang, Freeway Operation Engineer, Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), Northwest Region

photo of Vinh Dang

Since 2000, Vinh Dang has managed the freeway operation program which he has worked with multiple teams to operate the Region’s TMC and to deploy numerous advance ITS systems and strategies for transportation and traffic management. Mr. Vinh is a graduate of the Portland State University with a degree in civil engineering and has worked for WSDOT in various capacities for more than 30 years.