Feds Open the Money Spigot for Connected-Car Projects
In Pittsburgh, city transportation officials are expanding a program of which tests adaptive traffic lights, which combine artificial intelligence in addition to real-time sensor data to adjust signals in a way of which improves traffic flow.
In San Francisco, transit leaders are examining how variable-priced tolling on the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge might reduce congestion in addition to figuring out how to prioritize commuters who use nearby carpool in addition to ride-share pickup areas.
In suburban Columbus, Ohio, workers are installing road sensors in addition to retrofitting school buses, snowplows, in addition to additional government vehicles with connected technology of which allows them to share real-time information on road conditions in addition to critical safety concerns.
These three projects in addition to a dozen or so others are part of the latest push coming from the U.S. Department of Transportation to promote advanced technology. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx greenlighted $65 million in brand new federal grants last week of which fund those efforts, creating the announcement at The White House Frontiers Conference in Pittsburgh.
The latest group of grants will be divided among two programs. Eight fall into the advanced transportation technology program, which hands out $56.5 million for projects of which are designed to relieve congestion or link poorer neighborhoods with employment opportunities, education, in addition to health services. A separate program, the Mobility on Demand Sandbox, provides almost $8 million for 11 projects of which will use smartphone apps in addition to open-data platforms to better connect transit riders with their destinations, sometimes by partnering with ride- in addition to bike-sharing companies.
All of This specific activity is usually an outgrowth coming from the DOT’s Smart City Challenge, which called on municipal leaders to present detailed plans earlier This specific year for how technology could improve their transportation networks in addition to deliver larger societal benefits. Unsure what sort of response to expect for the first-of-its-kind competition, federal officials were bowled over when 78 cities coming from across the United States submitted bids.
If a downside emerged, of which was of which the DOT could only select one winning bid. Although Columbus, Ohio, eventually won the $40 million in federal grants in addition to additional associated benefits, Foxx in addition to others didn’t want momentum in additional cities to fade. Rather than awarding all the money to an individual city This specific time, the DOT spread the money around to 19 specific projects, many of which sprung up inside the Smart City applications.
Pittsburgh, one of seven finalists coming from the inaugural competition, will receive $10.9 million to continue in addition to expand Surtrac, its adaptive traffic-light pilot of which of which runs in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon University, where Foxx made his announcement last week. Already deployed at 50 intersections on the east side of the city, the smarter light network has already reduced travel times by 25 percent in those areas in addition to idling time by 40 percent, according to Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto.
Along similar lines, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority received $3 million to deploy a system for freight operators of which uses automated optimized dispatching in addition to coordinated traffic signals in addition to vehicle speeds to reduce truck congestion in addition to fuel usage. The Los Angeles Department of Transportation received $3 million to develop signals of which detect red-light violators in addition to adjust signals to prioritize pedestrian travel in addition to safety a time when deaths of pedestrians have risen about 7 percent across the state.
Among additional notable grants covered:
Denver: The city will receive approximately $6 million to develop connected-car technologies of which aim to alleviate congestion caused by a daily influx of 0,000 commuters each work day.
Dallas in addition to Phoenix: Dallas Area Rapid Transit in addition to Valley Metro Rail in Phoenix received $1.2 million in addition to $1 million, respectively, to integrate mobile ticketing across transit services on smartphone apps.
Los Angeles: Separate coming from the aforementioned grants, Los Angeles County received $1.35 million to spearhead an on-demand partnership with ride-hailing in addition to ride-sharing company Lyft. Their work will also involve a companion project in Seattle.
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Federal officials trust findings coming from these experiments shed brand new light on how cities will offer seamless in addition to more efficient transportation inside the future, when higher populations might otherwise cause further gridlock in addition to exacerbate additional problems. Automakers in addition to tech companies are rushing to develop autonomous technologies of which offer some promise in these areas; the DOT-funded grants, on the additional hand, emphasize connected-car technology such as vehicle-to-vehicle communications in addition to the use of shared-vehicle services. Foxx says he wants to cast a wide net in seeing what works.
“We’ve tried to be less prescriptive,” he said. “We think of states as the laboratories of democracy. Cities will be laboratories of transportation innovation. Rather than us decid[ing] in Washington how of which evolves, we think the best place is usually inside the cities.”