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Smarter Urban Tech Gives Transportation New Data to Leverage

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Smart transportation technologies are enabling innovative understandings in areas like parking, micromobility safety, intersection activity, and more. According to officials, the information they are able to gather makes fresh innovations possible.

At the Smart Cities Connect Conference and Expo on November 28, 2023, Melissa McMahon, parking and curbspace manager at the Department of Environmental Services in Arlington County, Virginia, Jacques Coulon (mobility innovation manager in Orlando, Florida), Dennis Randolph, traffic engineer for Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Josh Schacht, manager of the smart mobility program in Alexandria, VA, will discuss smart transportation systems.

Cities are now better able to comprehend how residents are moving and where system improvements are necessary thanks to new batches of modern transportation data.

A bright intersections pilot will be launched in Alexandria, Virginia, in collaboration with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, and it will consider users like cyclists, cars, pedestrians. The study intersections will be filled with five distinct transportation data tools.

According to Josh Schacht, manager of the bright mobility program in Alexandria, the pilot project will act as “both a product and an process.”

The end result is that we learn more about this intersection. During a clever transportation panel at the Smart Cities Connect Conference and Expo in late November, Schacht stated that this process is also being conducted to evaluate all of the various vendors, their strengths and weaknesses, and help us understand how we can scale one of many of those in other parts of town.

Transportation officials in Orlando, Florida, further south were ready to show that e-scooters did not pose a serious risk to users or other people on the street by using injury data related to micromobility.

According to Jacques Coulon, the city’s manager of mobility innovation: “we were able to demonstrate that there really haven’t been a lot of issues” and “due to these machines, there has not been an increase in the number of deaths and injuries among pedestrian and scooter riders.”

Coulon stated during the panel that “we were ready to get our commissioners on board as part of the narrative Aand consequently, we then have a fully developed program that is progressing.”

Whether they are intelligent traffic management solutions, modern technology to bring order to the curb, or systems to improve parking efficiency, data underpins intelligent transportation systems.

The value of data “is in multi-levels of decision-making,” according to Melissa McMahon, parking and curbspace manager for the Arlington County Department of Environmental Services.

With better programs and models at the jurisdictional and administrative levels, we can, in theory, accomplish more in the big things. However, McMahon added in some of her remarks, “It’s likewise all the way down to the individual level”

Smart streetlights and bright roadside beacons are part of Arlington’s comprehensive system, and they can send data about traffic activity at a specific location on the street to the cloud. According to McMahon, the area has also started” some basic data-sharing protocols, which is ready to merge with state transportation data for additional impact.”

A work-zone data exchange platform is another project with the aim of centralized and disseminating countywide information to drivers about which work zones are affecting right-of-way.

In order to better manage traffic flow, payment enforcement, and congestion, the county is currently in the first year of a three-year plan to implement online parking.

In reference to the parking pilot project with technology firm eleven-x, McMahon said “There are opportunities where we don’t have data today. By placing sensors in the street and knowing where cars are, we are collecting brand-new data that has never existed before. After that, we must determine how we use it.”

Viktor Musil

Victor Musil, pen name for Edouard Py, advocates for inclusive, people-centered city development. His work underscores the importance of ethical considerations and equitable access, shaping the discourse on urban innovation worldwide.

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