FutureStructure

Pittsburgh Receives $10 Million for ‘Smart Spines’ Traffic Sensor Program

The sensors will help balance traffic and move it more quickly, and allow buses, public safety or freight vehicles to communicate with traffic signals so they can move through intersections more efficiently.

by Ed Blazina, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette / October 11, 2016
Pittsburgh's Golden Triangle Flickr/R.A. Killmer

(TNS) — Pittsburgh didn’t win the federal Department of Transportation’s $50 million Smart City grant earlier this year, but it is getting nearly $11 million to help implement some of the traffic proposals in the grant application.

The $10.9 million Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act grant from DOT announced Friday by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey will pay for “smart spines” that use information gathered from a network of sensors to balance traffic and move it through areas more quickly. Another aspect of the improvements would allow buses, public safety or freight vehicles to communicate with traffic signals so they can move through intersections more efficiently.

“This grant is an opportunity to deploy an adaptive signal network through our neighborhoods and job centers,” Mayor Bill Peduto said in a statement. “The deployment of new technology will help pedestrians, bikers, drivers and transit riders navigate our roads more safely and efficiently.”

When U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx reviewed Smart City applications from Pittsburgh and six other cities this summer, he stressed they all had good ideas and the department would do what it could to find other funds to help them implement parts of their plans. The smart spine was a key element of Pittsburgh’s application.

The spine called for six streets that empty into the Golden Triangle — Penn, Liberty, Fifth, Forbes and Second avenues, and Bigelow Boulevard — to feed traffic, vehicular and social media information into the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center. That collaborative, led by Pittsburgh and Allegheny County and operated by the University of Pittsburgh, would use the data to monitor traffic and control signals on those streets, similar to the Surtrac system developed by Carnegie Mellon University that helps move traffic in East Liberty and Larimer.

The changes could begin within one year.

©2016 the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.