University of Ala. receives $8M DOT grant to fund traffic control technologies

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently awarded more than $8 million to the University of Alabama’s (UA) Alabama Transportation Institute (ATI) to fund the use of modernized technology to improve traffic control systems in west-central Alabama through the Advanced Connected Transportation Infrastructure and Operations Network (ACTION) project, Yellowhammer News reports.

The grant comes through the federal Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment (ATCMTD) Program. In addition to the grant, approximately $8.3 million will come from various partners in the state for a total funding of about $16.3 million over a three-year period.

“This nationally competitive award enhances the growing recognition of UA’s research enterprise,” said Dr. Shashi Nambisan, executive director of ATI, in a statement to the news agency. “The award reflects the combined efforts of several researchers and transportation related centers at UA and our partners who teamed up to address critical transportation system needs in West Central Alabama,”

The ATCMTD program provides funding for institutions to improve transportation systems, reduce traffic congestion, and improve safety for the traveling public by providing technology, such as sensor systems and cameras, communication technologies and traffic signal systems, as well as mobility tools for drivers. The technology from the ACTION project will be placed on freeways and other roads in and around Tuscaloosa.

“It is outstanding news that DOT has awarded UA funding for Alabama’s advanced technology initiative,” said Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) in a press release. “The program will address transportation needs in west-central Alabama that are critical to improved quality of life and economic vitality. I look forward to the lasting impacts the implementation of this initiative will bring to the community.”

“The project will substantially mitigate congestion, improve travel time reliability, and enhance safety for motorists, pedestrians, and in the region, all of which are critical for the region’s economic vitality and interstate commerce,” Nambisan added, according to the news agency.

The ACTION partnership includes the ATI, the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT), the Tuscaloosa County Road Improvement Commission, the cities of Tuscaloosa and Northport, and other local and regional industry stakeholders, including manufacturing and trucking. UA will also supply the partnership team with researchers from its Center for Advanced Public Safety, Center for Advanced Vehicle Technologies, and the University Transportation Center for Alabama.