Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 15, 2003

For more information, contact:
Michele Compton, 816-607-2027

Project Update

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. - Kansas City Scout, a 75-mile traffic management system soon to serve the greater metropolitan Kansas City area, celebrates a milestone with the completion of work along nearly 19 miles of Interstate 435 that runs from the Triangle in Missouri to I-35 in Kansas.

“We’re pleased with the project’s progress,” explains Ray Webb, manager of the Scout project. Although the entire system isn’t scheduled to be ready until the end of this year, the Kansas and Missouri departments of transportation required that the I-435 section be completed ahead of time.

“The idea is to start testing field equipment and software before we go live,” says Webb. Scout contractors and consultants are now flipping switches on equipment to make sure the connections are good and that everything’s operating -- and stays operating – as it should.

“Right now we have about 18 cameras along, or leading into, that 19-mile stretch of 435 that are up and running,” explains Webb, “but there are days when we unexpectedly lose a camera or two. We don’t want that to keep happening when we’re officially operating.”

For the most part, glitches and kinks are to blame for recent problems. “Problems with a project as large as Scout, particularly because it involves so much technology, are inevitable,” says Webb. “That’s why it’s so important to start working out the kinks as soon as possible. Using 435 as the system’s testing ground allows crews to spot problems and gives them a chance to troubleshoot before drivers are expected to rely on Scout.”

While Scout continues testing throughout this summer, drivers along the 435 stretch will occasionally see a large, black message board lit up with a test message: “Coming soon: Kansas City Scout. Late 2003.”

Being able to remotely type and post a message on those boards from Scout’s Traffic Operations Center in Lee’s Summit is a big part of the system’s ability to alert drivers to real-time traffic conditions, according to Webb. He says the message boards are another example of how important it is to “work out the bugs” now to ensure that things will go “as smooth as possible” later.

###