Be honest — does a day ever go when you don’t see an orange cone during your commute? That little traffic cone probably has you seeing red — or rather, orange.
The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada understands motorists are frustrated, and rightfully so. Orange cones can cause unplanned traffic delays, but they also represent jobs, progress and growth.
As the transit authority, transportation planning organization and regional traffic management agency, the RTC is in a unique position of funding roadways, bridges and pedestrian-bicycle projects for Clark County and its cities.
As the region added thousands of new residents and jobs that demand commercial, public and private infrastructure investment, hundreds of roadway and infrastructure projects also received needed funding via the Fuel Revenue Indexing program beginning in 2014. That meant more orange cones to navigate and more frustrated motorists who suddenly had their commutes disrupted.
A centralized information point-of-contact became a necessity.
Enter Seeing Orange, an RTC-based initiative and collaborative service launched in 2015 with the goal of helping motorists better navigate and plan for their commutes. How? Working with city, county, public and private entities, Seeing Orange provides accurate and timely information to residents’ questions about road construction and traffic signal issues on its website, SeeingOrangeNV.com.
An extensive map displays roadway construction projects underway throughout the valley, explains what’s being done and includes the expected end date of each project.
A comment form is available on the website for anyone with questions. Every single inquiry is read, and a representative will acknowledge it within 24 hours and respond within 72 hours. Seeing Orange also includes a hotline at (702) 928-CONE (2663).
Another component of Seeing Orange is the development of two coordination committees — one looking at long-term projects, and the other looking at what’s happening right now.
The RTC restructured one of its committees, the Regional Project Coordination Committee, to look at long-term construction projects in the valley in an effort to coordinate work long before it starts.
Looking at active construction sites, the Cone Management Working Group meets monthly to ensure they are coordinating to the best of their ability. Members are workers who are in the trenches, and they work together to help avoid things like completing a project or roadway, only to have that same roadway torn up months later by a different agency.
Partners of the Cone Management Working Group include the local jurisdictions, such as the cities and county, utility and telecom companies, general contractors, underground contractors and barricade companies – basically anyone who needs to get into the roadway. As a result, the RTC and other entities in Southern Nevada are better coordinated, transparent and most importantly, holding one another accountable.
Since the Seeing Orange launch, the RTC has partnered with the crowd-sourced traffic navigation app Waze to provide motorists with even more real-time information. Waze is a free, real-time crowdsourced traffic navigation app powered by the world’s largest community of drivers.
The RTC shares road closures, detours and real-time traffic accidents with Waze. The two-way data share of publicly available traffic information creates the most accurate update on up-to-the-minute roadway conditions.
‘Love the Cone’
The RTC recently re-launched Seeing Orange during National Infrastructure Week in mid-May with the “Love the Cone” campaign, a tongue-in-cheek approach to direct motorists, especially newcomers, to the Seeing Orange website.
“Orange cones translate to jobs, progress and growth – ultimately improving the economy and quality of life for everyone in the region,” said Tina Quigley, RTC general manager. “We understand motorists’ frustration, and we thank them for their enduring patience as we all work together to make Southern Nevada a better place to live, work and visit.”
The Love the Cone campaign includes videos detailing the “pain and humiliation” these orange beacons endure. It’s one reason the RTC and KTNV teamed up to provide important weekly updates on the station’s website.
Now, just maybe, the orange cone will get some much needed love while residents get jobs, progress and growth.