The City of Dallas, TX has received a grant for $4 million US from The U.S. Department of Transportation to begin work on the city’s first testbed for smart transit technology.
A 1.5-mile (~0.9 km) stretch of the S.M. Wright Highway is being rebuilt into a pedestrian-friendly boulevard. The S.M. Wright Highway has divided a low-income, minority neighborhood since the 1950s. Key outcomes for both the physical reconstruction and technological improvements to the highway will be to improve pedestrian safety while also improving traffic flow. The city is still considering which technological installations should be included. According to Ghassan Khankarli, interim director of the City of Dallas’ department of transportation, possible installations include:
- connected-vehicle technologies that allow traffic signal controllers to communicate with vehicles, to better synchronize traffic lights, and inform drivers about impending traffic-signal changes;
- pedestrian crosswalk buttons that are activated by the presence of pedestrians, rather than by touch;
- smart-transit bus shelters that inform riders of estimated times of arrival, Wi-Fi and charging ports; and
- connected-vehicle tech that will give emergency vehicles and/or buses priority to pass through intersections.
The S.M. Wright project was one of 46 applicants that requested more than $205 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration. The S.M. Wright project’s total cost is estimated at $79 million, and its completion date is estimated at late 2023 or early 2024.
“This year, in addition to ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) technologies to reduce congestion, the grants will fund projects that support autonomous and connected vehicle technologies,” a DOT release stated. “The program selections this year look to the future to help ensure that our nation’s highway network is able to accommodate the many advanced technologies on the horizon.”