Four cities to pilot traffic-data platform to improve roadway congestion, safety

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Four cities have announced plans this week to pilot software that gathers data from environmental and traffic sensors to help reduce congestion and improve public safety. Austin, Texas; Fort Smith, Arkansas; Walnut Creek, California; and Westminster, Colorado, will test new software, called Parsons Intelligent Intersections, the software company Parsons announced this week.

In Austin, the city will gather data from existing sensors and traffic signal controller units at intersections along one corridor. When the data is routed back to an online dashboard built by Parsons, it’ll allow Austin traffic engineers to visualize traffic flows and re-time traffic signals based on the incoming data. According to the city, it will allow signals to be re-timed 20 times more frequently.

The projects come after the company this week announced the cities as winners in a “smart cities” competition. After a free, six-month pilot period, officials in Austin will evaluate the program to determine whether it improved traffic congestion, air quality or roadway safety.

“Austin is committed to smart city innovation and the Smart Mobility Office is currently working with a number of private companies to test, pilot, and prove emerging technologies that will help us achieve our mobility goals,” Austin transportation assistant director Jason JonMichael said in a press release.

Using other platforms, cities such as Detroit and Washington, D.C., have in recent years similarly used intersection data to attempt improving traffic congestion.

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