In today’s busy cities, improving transportation through innovation and technology is the most effective way to move beyond congestion and create safer roadways. While people generally consider it the government’s responsibility, it’s a partnership between the public and private sectors that will deliver the best ideas and the most efficient traffic solutions. When we combine our efforts, we’ll ultimately save more lives, drive commerce and protect the environment.
The Renew Atlanta Program
Atlanta’s North Avenue Smart Corridor, a product of the Renew Atlanta Bond and TSPLOST Programs, is a prime example of productive collaboration. The project’s management team is comprised of both public and private sector members. Under the leadership of Deputy Program Manager Keary Lord, it’s responsible for delivering the most connected corridor in the state of Georgia.
Through the optimization of signal operation and communications networks, the stretch along North Avenue from Freedom Parkway to Northside Drive now actively serves as a living lab for active, multi-modal traffic management through technology deployment and data analytics.
Through Lord’s early experience in the private sector and subsequent work in the public sector, specifically with Douglas County, he’s a strong supporter of the collaborative approach.
Today’s roadways have seen a continuous rise in distracted driving and accidents. While there’s an urgency among local governments to solve the growing dilemma, solutions are limited by practicality, cost and a working list of taxpayer needs. By leveraging the technology of the private sector to improve transportation safety and supporting it through government programs and public policy, we’ll be able to do more with less. They’re the perfect complement to each other, and the reason that collaboration between the public and private sectors is so critical.
The North Avenue living lab
Atlanta’s objective in designing the North Avenue living lab was to create a corridor capable of testing the latest innovations and transportation safety technology in the world. The program solicited viable accident-reducing adaptive technology solutions from the private sector and chose several to pursue.
Two impressive transportation solutions were submitted by Applied Information. They introduced their connected vehicle technology, which successfully moves paramedics and fire trucks more quickly and safely through the corridor, thereby reducing emergency response times. They also offered their TravelSafely app, which is currently in the hands of approximately 600 test users, 300 of which are working with the Renew Atlanta program.
Many of the deployed technologies are still in beta testing or have advanced to pilot programs. Applied Information’s connected vehicle technology and their TravelSafely app performed incredibly well, and plans for expansion into other corridors in the near future are in the works.
Expansion into other corridors and beyond
Applied Information’s connected vehicle technology is also being deployed on Campbellton Road in Atlanta, one of the most used corridors on the south side of the city. In the first phase, the public bus transit system will be given transit priority along the route, allowing for reduced travel time for passengers.
Phase II will be a “complete streets” project that includes rapid transit, transit priority, a connected vehicle system and the TravelSafely app. It will effectively encompass all the elements of mobility.
The Renew Atlanta program is also entertaining the idea of an autonomous shuttle along North Avenue. The Phase I effort will travel between Ponce City Market and North Avenue MARTA station. Coincidentally, the GA DOT is deploying connected vehicle technology on Ponce De Leon Avenue, which is also along the circular return route from the MARTA station.
Atlanta is preparing for the future generation of transportation. By leveraging the strengths of both the private and the public sectors, the Renew Atlanta program will deliver the highest level of innovation and deploy technology that streamlines the city’s transportation infrastructure, and ultimately saves lives.
To listen to the full interview with Keary Lord featured on TravelSafely radio, click here.