Two more Smart City Challenge finalists get USDOT funding for ITS programs

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The US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has announced funding for two more of the finalists in the USDOT’s Smart City Challenge program, which will be used to implement a variety of ITS technologies.

The FHWA has awarded a US$10.9m grant for San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) for a variety of intelligent transportation system technologies (ITS) that will help relieve congestion, improve travel options, and improve safety for commuters, including pedestrians and bicyclists.

The agency has also given a US$5.9m grant for the NW 33 Innovation Corridor Partnership to implement a variety of ITS technologies on US Route 33 in the cities of Marysville and Dublin in Union County, near Columbus, Ohio, which support the state’s Smart Mobility Initiative.

The awards are part of a larger investment totaling US$56.6m to fund advanced technologies in various areas in the country under the FHWA’s Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment (ATCMTD) program. Established under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, departments of transportation (DOTs), local governments, transit agencies, and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) were invited to apply for ATCMTD funding that could be used on ITS and other cutting-edge technologies.

In San Francisco, the SFMTA will use the ATCMTD funds to encourage ridesharing and carpooling by creating dynamic pickup curbs, which reserve spaces for drop-offs and pick-ups by time of day for these vehicles. It will also set up regional carpool lanes to speed up travel time and provide incentives for carpooling. The funding will also go toward making intersections safer and more accessible for pedestrians and cyclists in the city’s neediest communities by deploying smart connected traffic signals, which will also provide signal preference to priority vehicles, such as emergency and public transit. In addition, San Francisco will deploy a connected tolling system that implements congestion pricing to encourage carpooling, ridesharing, and public transit ridership.

The NW 33 Innovation Corridor Partnership, created by the cities of Marysville and Dublin and Union County, will put the funding toward a wide range of connected vehicle applications that will serve numerous communities in rural and suburban areas, and improve access to employment centers along the US 33 Corridor. The technologies will include queue warning, speed harmonization, dynamic signal timing, and pedestrian warning systems on local street networks. The project also includes dynamic ridesharing and carpooling to selected major employers along the corridor to expand travel options to jobs. The funds will also support other smart mobility technologies on routes in the Columbus metropolitan region.

“Transportation is not just about moving from one place to another, it’s about building stronger communities,” explained US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This grant offers the people of San Francisco better access to jobs, education, and an array of essential services to improve the quality of life. Union County has experienced tremendous growth in the past decade and is now home to Ohio’s major employers. These grants will make it easier for residents to commute to those jobs and access more opportunity.”

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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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