GWINNETT DOT FINISHES CONNECTED VEHICLE TECHNOLOGY MASTER PLAN

(Lawrenceville, Ga., Nov. 25, 2019) – Gwinnett County’s Department of Transportation has finished an innovative plan for making future travel safer and smoother with technology that alerts drivers about key traffic information – such as the approach of emergency vehicles and pedestrians in crosswalks – in real time.

The Connected Vehicle Technology Master Plan was conducted with assistance from Georgia Tech. The plan identifies potential safety and mobility benefits of connected vehicle infrastructure, lays out the groundwork for a Smart Corridor pilot program along Peachtree Industrial Boulevard and provides some guidance for future projects in Gwinnett and metro Atlanta.

As envisioned, equipment mounted on traffic signals or nearby cabinet boxes will monitor traffic and relay timely information to drivers’ smartphones or cars with smart technology.

“This is such an important tool for us to have in our toolbox,” said Gwinnett Department of Transportation Deputy Director Tom Sever. “It can provide drivers with additional information so it’s safer for them, for pedestrians and for emergency services. Connected vehicle technology is coming and it’s something we should definitely take advantage of, but it’s important that we proceed with a thought-out plan. The Connected Vehicle Technology Master Plan will help us move forward in a smart, coordinated way.”

To help develop the master plan, Georgia Tech selected Gwinnett for one of the inaugural $50,000 Georgia Smart Communities Challenge grants. The program also included research and data analysis by the Georgia Tech faculty. The County also contributed $100,000 in SPLOST revenue for the study.

Many car manufacturers have said they plan to start including smart technology in their vehicles as a standard feature starting in the 2022 model year. The master plan did an assessment of the state of the industry best practices for connected vehicle technology, which is still evolving.

In conducting the study, the County, Georgia Tech and consultant AECOM interviewed representatives from several governments experimenting with connected vehicle technology, including the city of Atlanta, Cobb County and the city of Marietta. They also met with several Gwinnett cities and community improvement districts that want to support the implementation of connected vehicle technology to address transportation challenges in their areas.

Under a 5-year timeline in the master plan, the deployment of the technology begins along Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in 2020. Motorists driving along this corridor would be able to receive messages about signal timing, the approach of emergency vehicles and buses, construction and maintenance, blocked railroad crossings and pedestrians.

“Peachtree Industrial Boulevard was selected for the initial deployment because the southern part of the road has heavy traffic patterns while the northern part is more rural, providing a fuller picture of the technology’s capabilities,” Sever said.

As part of the initial deployment, the County will install equipment on emergency vehicles at fire stations west of I-85 that allows traffic signals to change before the emergency vehicle arrives so that backed-up traffic at intersections can clear out of the way. Transit buses will also be able to change traffic signals, allowing them to better stay on schedule.

From 2021 through 2022, the County will focus on additional testing and evaluation of the installed equipment as well exploring additional capabilities. The plan also calls for continuing to expand the technology to more intersections countywide.

By 2024, the County plans to broaden the connected vehicle-related communications system across Gwinnett to accommodate the significant number of new vehicles that will be equipped with connected vehicle capabilities.

To view the full plan, visit bit.ly/CVTechPlan.

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