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Atlanta’s Second Smart Transit Corridor Takes Shape

A bus-rapid-transit route in the works along Campbellton Road in southwest Atlanta is set to get signal prioritization and other improvements to improve the commute.

Traffic will eventually flow a little more smoothly down Campbellton Road in southwest Atlanta.
The eight-mile stretch from Enon Road to Lee Street is becoming Atlanta’s second “smart city corridor,” this one with a focus on transit and transportation upgrades and connectivity.
“Campbellton Road is what we are calling our Smart Transit Corridor,” said Troy Galloway, traffic manager for the Renew Atlanta program. Renew Atlanta is an infrastructure improvement initiative, funded via transportation bonding.
“We are using technologies that were proven along North Avenue and putting them into action solving issues we have in other parts of the city,” Galloway added, referring the Atlanta’s first smart city corridor, which served as a “living laboratory” to deploy and test IoT technologies.
The North Avenue Smart Corridor, which opened in October 2017, was a joint effort by the city of Atlanta and the Georgia Institute of Technology. It includes more than 100 IoT sensors at 18 intersections, offering vehicle-to-infrastructure communications, among other improvements.
In addition to traffic signals that yield to buses by switching to green, motorists along Campbellton Road may want to download the TravelSafely app, which connects drivers’ smartphones to traffic signals, offering features like countdowns to signal changes.
“To assist transit vehicle operations along the corridor the Glance product will be used,” said Galloway, referring to smart city technology produced by Applied Information Inc., one of the private-sector partners on the project. “The unit will allow the buses to communicate to the signals via 4G and radio, to allow the buses to progress the corridor with green lights.”
“The same technology will also be used for emergency vehicles to improve safety and response time for the fire department,” he added.
The $23.7 million Campbellton Road Smart Transit Corridor project — which includes the smart corridor technology improvements and the bus-rapid-transit planning — is set to be complete by December 2021, according to the Renew Atlanta website. However, various developments will come online before then, Galloway said.
“The minor upgrades are ongoing, and the Glance product should be installed within the next couple of months,” said Galloway.
The third-party Glance Smart City Supervisory System technology will give signal prioritization to buses operated by the Metropolitan Atlanta Regional Transit Authority (MARTA) at 23 intersections along Campbellton Road from the Oakland City MARTA station to I-285. The area includes landmarks like Tyler Perry Studios, Oakland City MARTA Rail Station and the Greenbriar Mall.
“The Smart Cities technology being deployed on Campbellton Road will simply make the buses work better and the ride more enjoyable with less unnecessary stops at intersections,” said Bryan Mulligan, president of Applied Information, in a statement. “Now the travel time for buses can be less than cars, which makes taking the bus more attractive than driving.”

Skip Descant writes about smart cities, the Internet of Things, transportation and other areas. He spent more than 12 years reporting for daily newspapers in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and California. He lives in downtown Yreka, Calif.