The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) will implement a pilot program this winter that will “semi-automate” Variable Speed Limit signs in an effort to increase highway safety when the weather turns bad.

On October 19, WYDOT announced that the pilot program will be installed along I-80 between Laramie and Rawlins and on Wyoming Highway 28 over South Pass.

While Variable Speed Limit changes are usually initiated by WYDOT and Wyoming Highway Patrol personnel, under the new pilot program, they will be automatically adjusted using data from WYDOT sensors. WYDOT says that this will result in quicker speed adjustments during rapidly changing weather conditions.

WYDOT says that the system is only partially automated because troopers or other personnel can still override the Variable Speed Limit system in the case of a crash or other emergency.

“The automation still has a human component,” said Vince Garcia, WYDOT Intelligent Transportation Systems program manager. “Speed limit changes prompted by the program can be adjusted or even vetoed by a boots on the ground employee like a trooper or highway maintainer.”

If the pilot program is successful, WYDOT plans to roll it out in other locations.

Drivers are reminded that the speed indicated on the VSLs is the legal speed limit. Motorists should always drive according to current conditions and be ready to adjust speeds in case of changing road and weather conditions.

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