Variable Speed Limits

I-95 North Variable Speed Limits

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has installed variable speed limits (VSL) to enhance safety in the I-95 North corridor between mile markers 115 and 130 in Caroline and Spotsylvania counties, and the City of Fredericksburg.

Crashes have occurred when northbound vehicles traveling at speed unexpectedly encounter stopped or slowing traffic flow due to congestion or lane closures for incidents and highway work zones.

New LED signs displaying variable speed limits between 35 mph and 65-70 mph are paired with dynamic message boards in this section of I-95 North. Drivers will adjust their speed based on real-time information about delays and conditions on the road ahead. Gradually slowing traffic as it approaches congestion will help to reduce the risk of crashes, and stop-and-go travel conditions.

The variable speed limit signs are located every half-mile to one mile in the project corridor, with a total of 48 speed limit signs, installed in pairs.

The new signs will be illuminated starting Thursday, June 16. For several days after illumination, the variable speed limit signs will display only the maximum speed limit of 65-70 mph to help motorists adjust to their presence.

Beginning on Wednesday, June 22, the system will be fully activated to display variable speed limits between 35 mph and 70 mph. 

Speed limits will be reduced only when necessary. Speed limits posted on variable speed limit LED signs are enforceable just like regular speed limit signs. 

NOW UNDERWAY!

Variable Speed Map

Benefits
of Variable speed limits:
  • Seeks to reduce crashes 
  • Increases vehicle throughput
  • Fewer stop-and-go conditions 
  • Informs travelers of conditions on the road ahead

 

 

Vehicle detectors will collect traffic speed and volume data, which will be fed into a software program to recognize when traffic is approaching unstable conditions (for example, very high volume and fast speed) and assign incrementally lower speeds. Once traffic flow stabilizes, the posted speed limit will return to the maximum speed. Speeds can also be lowered manually by operators at VDOT’s Traffic Operations Center to create safer conditions in work zones, in weather events, and around traffic crashes.

Variable speed limits were recommended for this section of I-95 North as part of the I-95 Corridor Improvement Plan. Based on the expected success of this deployment, VDOT anticipates the implementation of VSL at additional locations throughout the Commonwealth.

Learn more:
• Commonwealth Transportation Board presentation
• Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)