USDOT announces grant for ITS technologies at New York State’s border crossings

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The US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has announced a US$7.8m grant to implement a variety of ITS technologies to provide real-time information to travelers and reduce delay at the USA/Canada border.

The Niagara International Transportation Technology Coalition (NITTEC), Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA), New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), and partnering agencies, have received the funding to implement a regional mobility management system in order to increase safety and to optimize regional transportation efficiency in Western New York, particularly at the USA-Canada border crossing. The agencies have received the grant under FHWA’s Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment (ATCMTD) program, which was established under the ‘Fixing America’s Surface Transportation’ (FAST) Act, a long-term transportation infrastructure bill passed in December 2015 that addresses concerns outlined in USDOT’s Beyond Traffic report.

The new system will improve border crossing performance, reducing travel time for residents and visitors and enhancing the safety of commercial vehicle operations. It will link to NFTA systems to expand the existing smart mobility regional system. The project will include:

• Coordination of real-time and forecasted multimodal, multi-agency transportation network information via 511NY and other applications;

• Upgrading the regional advanced traffic management system (ATMS);

• Integration of NYSDOT and New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA) road weather information system (RWIS) units currently in place to provide information for motorists at the border;

• Implementation of a robust in-vehicle weather forecast and alert system to warn truckers and motorists of inclement weather and delays;

• Improvements to coordination among first-responders by integrating additional 911 computer aided dispatch (CAD) systems, and expanding the regional information exchange network.

“We are using innovative technology to tackle border congestion and improve travel efficiency,” explained US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Accurate travel information will be an important tool in improving the flow of people and goods across the USA/Canada border, benefiting both individual travelers and businesses.”

Kimberley A Minkel, executive director of NFTA, said, “As the primary provider of public transportation services for Erie and Niagara Counties, we continually seek ways to improve regional mobility through the deployment of advanced technologies. We look forward to working with NITTEC, the NYS Department of Transportation, and our other key partners through this collaborative effort to achieve these goals.”

US Senator Charles E Schumer (D New York), commented, “It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to keep our crossings efficient and secure. Congestion, accidents, bad weather, and more, all waste countless hours and cost our economy millions of dollars every year.

“That’s why I have long fought to make sure the USA and Canada are working together to alleviate the avoidable and costly delays at our vital crossings. This smart, multi-million dollar federal investment will allow NITTEC, NFTA, and NYSDOT to partner together to use high-tech equipment to reduce travel times, enhance security, better manage emergencies, and increase efficiency in Western New York. This will benefit the businesses, residents and travelers that utilize WNY border crossings every day, and help spur growth throughout the entire regional economy.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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