USDOT provides ITS funding for two Smart City Program finalists

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The US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has announced funding for two 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$6m grant for Denver’s Smart City Program that will create more sophisticated traffic management centers, relieve freight congestion, and enhance pedestrian safety. The agency has also given a US$10.8m grant for Pittsburgh to implement a variety of intelligent systems technologies to support the city’s ‘Smart Spine’ corridors.

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.

The ATCMTD scheme funds technologies that address the concerns outlined in the USDOT’s Beyond Traffic report that was issued last year, and examines the challenges facing the USA’s transportation infrastructure over the next three decades, such as a rapidly growing population and increasing traffic. ATCMTD was established under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. State departments of transportation (DOTs), local governments, transit agencies, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), and other eligible entities were invited to apply for funding to be used on ITS and other cutting-edge technologies under the program.

Denver will use the ATCMTD funds to implement three intelligent vehicle projects: a Connected Traffic Management Center (TMC) and Connected Fleets; Travel Time Reliability as a City Service for Connected Freight; and Safer Pedestrian Crossings for Connected Citizens. The technologies include dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) equipment deployed in 1,500 city fleet vehicles to enable signal priority for truck platooning and for a freight efficiency corridor. The trucks also will be equipped with a system that automatically detects when a pedestrian is in close range.

Pittsburgh will use the new ATCMTD grant for ‘Smart Spine’ corridors in the city that connect with primary commercial centers and amenities. The technologies will include expanding the network of connected, real-time adaptive traffic signal controllers to promote more optimized transit operations. The city will also complete an LED smart streetlight conversion of nearly 40,000 street lights that, in addition to providing energy savings, will be equipped with traffic detection and air quality sensors.

“These grants consider all travelers in giving them more information to plan their trips ahead of time and avoid traffic congestion,” said US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Denver residents will be equipped to travel in a smarter fashion, which in the end saves time and supports the entire region’s economic growth. Technology is helping communities connect to key highways that link to commercial and employment centers, so residents in the Pittsburgh region will have more access to jobs and opportunity.”

FHWA Administrator Gregory Nadeau added, “In addition to helping commuters travel more safely, these grants will help America’s businesses deliver goods and products more efficiently. These infrastructure technologies will improve connections between isolated neighborhoods and major centers of employment, education and healthcare. It’s about improving the quality of life and supporting the cities’ economies.”

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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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