U.S.DOT awards funds to Dallas, San Diego for new technology initiative to fight congestion

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced that the Dallas and San Diego areas will receive $14 million as the nation’s first demonstration sites for new Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) technologies that help fight congestion and enhance travel. The Integrated Corridor Management (ICM) initiative will help the Dallas and San Diego metro areas become “living laboratories” in the fight against congestion. The U.S. DOT made the announcement on Dec. 7.

“These communities are leading the way by using state-of-the-art technologies to create a commute that is safer, less congested and more convenient.” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in a press release in Research  and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA). “America can’t simply build our way to a more modern and efficient transportation infrastructure. These projects will show the rest of the nation that bumper-to-bumper traffic doesn’t have to be the status quo.”

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) will contribute $3 million for an $8.3 million project. DART will use a transportation management model to predict travel conditions 30 minutes into the future, allowing diversion of traffic to other routes during freeway incidents and special events along US-75. Travelers will have access to real-time information about traffic, public transit and expected travel times, through wireless and web-based alerts.

The San Diego Association of Governments and its partnering agencies will contribute $2.2 million for a $10.9 million project. San Diego will use ITS investments along I-15 to enable a “smart” traffic management system that combines road sensors, video and traveler information to take steps to reduce congestion. It will deliver information to commuters via the internet and message signs and will enable managers to adjust traffic signals and ramp meters to direct travelers to HOV lanes, HOT lanes, bus rapid transit and other options.

Since 2005, ICM has laid the groundwork for transportation agencies to use existing roads, intersections and other elements of urban transportation networks more efficiently.

The demonstrations will build on past findings about ICM to provide a first-hand evaluation of the real-world impact. The new technology will avoid the dangers of text-messaging and other distractions behind the wheel that result in distracted driving.

The initiative is jointly sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and RITA.