Multidisciplinary engineering and infrastructure consultancy Parsons Corporation, together with its partners and sponsors, has launched ‘Transforming Intersections’, its first Smart Cities Challenge competition that offers the winner improved citywide traffic management services.
With increasing populations, growing development, and demand for new services, managing a city’s transportation network has become a complex mobility challenge for many urban authorities. However, Parsons suggests the solution could be as simple as transforming an intersection. The company notes that more than four million hours of annual vehicle delays are caused by poor signal timing alone within the USA, and 40% of all pedestrian accidents happen at intersections. Through its Smart City Challenge, Parsons wants to shorten commute times and improve mobility and safety at intersections, reducing the amount of time citizens spend at red lights while allowing drivers to reduce their fuel consumption by 20% with well-timed signals.
Parsons’ Transforming Intersections challenge is for cities, counties, and other public agencies that own or operate traffic signals and have a desire to enhance mobility, increase safety, and improve operational efficiencies. Entrants have until October 18 to complete a short application form. Semifinalists will be awarded two or three workshops with the company’s smart-city experts to help develop their final applications, and define their visions for transforming intersections. The challenge winner will receive a free trial pilot for one year, which includes integration costs, software costs, and technical support for that period. For planning purposes, Parson will also provide the winner with details regarding options to remove or continue with the services after the trial.
One of the options available to the winner will be Parsons’ cloud-based Intelligent Intersections platform that allows cities and counties to make use of existing data to provide automated traffic re-timing based on changing traffic patterns, enhancing mobility for the region. In addition, connected vehicles can communicate with traffic signals, which will lead to more efficient and environmentally friendly driving with a smaller carbon footprint and, ultimately, safer intersections. Using the platform, traffic signal owners can also provide priority to transit and emergency vehicles or automatically extend green cycles for pedestrians needing extra time to cross the street.
“Starting today, cities and counties in the United States, Canada, and beyond can apply to collaborate with us to use new mobility technologies to address the challenges their transportation networks face every day,” said Andrew Liu, senior vice president of smart cities at Parsons. “The winner of the smart cities challenge will receive a free one-year trial of our Intelligent Intersections solution for their transportation corridors.”
Parsons’s chairman and CEO, Chuck Harrington, added, “Every year people spend more than a week and a half of their life sitting at red traffic lights. By changing intersections through our Transforming Intersections challenge, we will not only revolutionize how cities move, but we’ll provide people with some of their valuable time back to do things other than sit at a traffic light. Our goal is to give cities the opportunity to increase their mobility, reduce their carbon footprint through reduced idling of vehicles, and keep their city moving.”