A US$1m federal grant will enable transportation agencies to make better use of travel data to help people get around more efficiently in Arizona’s Sun Corridor, the fast-growing region stretching from the Phoenix area through Tucson to the border with Mexico.
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) and partner agencies will use the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) grant to create Sun Cloud, a transportation data portal intended to inform infrastructure investments and improve mobility and safety in the region.
MAG, the transportation-planning agency for the Phoenix region, will serve as project manager to create the cloud-based repository and online portal for data contributed by ADOT, the Pima Association of Governments, the Sun Corridor Metropolitan Planning Organization, and the Sierra Vista Metropolitan Planning Organization. The goal of the project is to help leaders make transportation investments that improve safety and mobility on roadways, as well as streamlining the process of completing federally required environmental reviews.
ADOT was among nine state departments of transportation that received a total of US$8.4m in FHWA Accelerated Innovation Deployment (AID) Demonstration grants. Besides being a resource for transportation planning, the new online tool will be of value to businesses and members of the public. For example, instead of going to multiple agencies to seek information about a specific roadway, homeowners, university students, business owners and others will be able to easily access authoritative information in one place. The data will involve traffic, socioeconomic and environmental details, crashes and project plans for Maricopa, Pinal, Pima, Santa Cruz and Cochise counties. The data will all be available in formats that enable use in mobile applications.
“Sun Cloud provides a vehicle for in-depth coordination across planning boundaries,” said MAG chair Gail Barney, mayor of Queen Creek. “It will help us look at the Sun Corridor as a whole to assess the collective impact of transportation projects and help us focus on specific strategies.”
Greg Byres, leader of ADOT’s multimodal planning division, added, “Having accessible, usable and high-quality data and analytical tools is vital to moving people and goods more efficiently in the Sun Corridor and helping Arizona’s economy compete globally.”