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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-17-003     Date:  March/April 2017
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-17-003
Issue No: Vol. 80 No. 5
Date: March/April 2017


Hot Topic

by David Harris

Using Advanced Technologies to Tackle Congestion

Drivers in the United States spend, on average, more than 40 hours stuck in traffic each year. The Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment (ATCMTD) program, a new program within the Federal Highway Administration, funds cutting-edge technologies that help reduce congestion, improve safety, lower operating costs, and maintain infrastructure.

This program is part of the answer to the concerns outlined in Beyond Traffic, the report issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation in 2015 that examines the challenges facing the country’s transportation infrastructure over the next three decades. The ATCMTD program was established under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act of 2015.

“Technology can help improve the highway system and make it work better for everyone,” said former Federal Highway Administrator Gregory G. Nadeau. “The Nation can make more efficient use of the transportation system by maintaining it in good condition and knowing in real time what’s happening out on the highways. And the ATCMTD program is designed to do just that.”

Available Funding

Each fiscal year from 2016 through 2020, a maximum of $60 million will be available for awards under the ATCMTD program, through 5 to 10 grants not exceeding $12 million to each qualifying entity. These grants will make up no more than 50 percent of total proposed project costs, with the remainder coming from non-Federal sources. State departments of transportation, local governments, transit agencies, metropolitan planning organizations, and other eligible entities may apply under the program.

"Technology can help improve the highway system and make it work better for everyone."
— Former Federal Highway Administrator Gregory G. Nadeau

First-Round Recipients

FHWA published the first solicitation for proposed projects on March 22, 2016, and announced the award recipients on October 13, 2016. The U.S. Secretary of Transportation selected the following eight projects for a total amount of $56.6 million.

A Connected Region: Moving Technological Innovations Forward in the Niagara International Transportation Technology Coalition Region. To reduce congestion in the Buffalo-Niagara area, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority will use a $7.8 million grant to deploy connected vehicle technologies to alert commercial vehicle operators of border wait times and available parking.

ConnectSmart: Connecting TSMO [Transportation Systems Management and Operations] and Active Demand Management. The Texas Department of Transportation received more than $8.9 million to expand person-trip capacity by providing a broad range of innovative mobility options to commuters, such as shared-use bicycles, ridesharing services, and unified payment across transit and other shared-use services.

Denver Smart City Program. In Denver, CO, the city and county received $6 million to implement three intelligent transportation systems projects. The technologies will include dedicated short-range communications installed in 1,500 city fleet vehicles.

Freight Advanced Traveler Information System. This large-scale deployment in southern California involves automated, optimized dispatching and traffic signal-vehicle speed coordination to reduce truck congestion and fuel usage. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority received a $3 million grant for the deployment.

Implementation of Advanced Technologies to Improve Safety and Mobility Within the Promise Zone. The Los Angeles Department of Transportation received $3 million to implement technology that enables traffic signal systems to detect vehicles that violate red lights and adjust signal timing to hold a longer all-red duration interval. The technology also can use personal wireless devices to prioritize pedestrian travel and safety at intersections.

NW 33 Smart Mobility Corridor Deployment. Marysville, OH, received nearly $6 million to deploy corridor-focused connected vehicle applications in rural and suburban environments. The NW 33 Innovation Corridor between Dublin and East Liberty, OH, serves one of the largest concentrations of manufacturers in the Columbus region. The project will improve access to large employment sites and enhance economic development.

SmartPGH. Pittsburgh, PA, received nearly $10.9 million to deploy “Smart Spine” corridors that layer environmental, communications, energy, and transportation infrastructure technologies to improve connections between isolated neighborhoods and major centers of employment, education, and health care.

San Francisco Smart City. In San Francisco, the city and county will use its nearly $11 million grant to implement connected dynamic tolling for the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, combined with incentives for high-occupancy vehicle and transit use to reduce congestion.

The timeframe for implementation of these projects is expected to be 2 to 4 years. Project awards are expected in June 2017.

David Harris is the program manager for the deployment of advanced transportation and congestion management technologies in FHWA’s Office of Operations.




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