At an event today (April 18), in its home city of Knoxville, Tennessee, Gridsmart Technologies founder and CEO Bill Malkes, together with Mayor Madeline Rogero, will formerly launch a new partnership and traffic management infrastructure for one of city’s most heavily trafficked areas.
Deployed at no cost to Knoxville or its taxpayers, the infrastructure includes the first official deployment of the company’s new Streetsmart wi-fi travel-time collection devices that will give the city’s traffic managers the ability to study and reduce congestion from West Towne Mall to Bearden Hill.
The technology will provide traffic managers with immediate feedback, allowing them to modify traffic signal timing and post warnings as congestion builds. In addition to reducing congestion, the Streetsmart installation will become a critical piece of traffic infrastructure as Knoxville considers whether to become a testbed for connected and autonomous vehicle/Smart City technologies. Rogero met with transportation leaders late last year to research the possibility, and is continuing her due diligence.
Gridsmart is installing six of its Streetsmart wi-fi travel-time collection devices to reduce local gridlock and position the city as a progressive transportation leader. Streetsmart represents the latest technology in the company’s portfolio, with the system using anonymous wi-fi or Bluetooth signals generated in vehicles to follow them as they advance past multiple devices along a city street, building data on origin/destination, speed, and congestion issues. As part of this initiative, the company upgraded two of its existing Gridsmart intersection management systems with updated versions of its iconic Bell Cameras, that provide intersection actuation, traffic data collection, and situational awareness, and eliminates the need for the installation of multiple cameras, while reducing cost.
In total, the scheme will see two Streetsmart and Gridsmart systems working in conjunction with each other, and four standalone Streetsmart systems in operation. The Streetsmart and Bell camera-based Gridsmart systems used together will allow traffic managers to detect traffic congestion immediately, allowing them to send alerts, change traffic signal timing, and push overhead alternate routes, before major problems occur. The new Gridsmart equipment is in addition to the city’s planned deployment of an advanced traffic management system (ATMS), which is part of an approximately US$9m multiyear project to upgrade Knoxville’s 20-year-old traffic control system.
“Eventually, we aim to have a smart traffic system that will interact with smart cars, sending signals back and forth that will allow both to operate more efficiently,” explained Jesse Mayshark, spokesman from the Mayor’s Office. “If you have a completely connected traffic system, with a smart traffic infrastructure and smart vehicles moving through it, you have this constant communication going on. If it makes sense for a car to go at 27mph instead of 31mph to hit green lights, then that information will be available and acted on in real time. That’s the long-term big picture.”