San Diego, Dallas receive funds to demo congestion technology

Last week, the Department of Transportation’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) announced a $14 million award to San Diego and Dallas to deploy technologies meant to reduce congestion and enhance traffic management. As part of the Integrated Corridor Management (ICM) initiative, the cities’ transportation departments will work with RITA to show how technology can improve safety and reduce time behind the wheel, officials said.

“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.” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, said in a statement. “America can’t simply build our way to a more modern and efficient transportation infrastructure.

Jointly sponsored and managed by the the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and RITA, the ICM initiative has been in operation since 2005. The program is designed to find ways to use existing infrastructure more efficiently. The two projects in Dallas and San Diego represent the first “living laboratories” demonstration for the program, where tests and past findings will be implemented in real-world situations, agency officials indicated.

In Dallas, the 8.3 million project will help the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) predict travel conditions 30 minutes into the future, giving travelers access to real-time information on traffic and expected travel times through wireless and web-based alerts.

San Diego’s Association of Governments will use intelligent transportation systems (ITS) along I-15 to reduce congestion. By enabling a “smart” traffic management system, the city will use a combination of road sensors, video and traveler information to adjust traffic signals and ramp meters. The $10.9 million San Diego project will deliver information to commuters via the Internet and message signs along I-15, directing travelers to HOV lanes, HOT lanes, bus rapid transit and other options.

Both DART and the city of San Diego fronted money of their own to demonstrate the technologies, $3 and $2.2 million respectively.

“These projects will show the rest of the nation that bumper-to-bumper traffic doesn’t have to be the status quo,” Sec. LaHood said.

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