The U.S. Transportation Department is set to award $94.8 million to 59 advanced technology projects aimed at boosting road safety, transit reliability, and supporting transportation by drones and sensors. The move follows the dedication of $500 million in the November 2021 infrastructure law for “Smart” mobility initiatives over five years. The grants aim to improve transportation by fostering innovations that enhance daily life, making it more efficient, safer, and sustainable. The grants will be awarded to various states across the United States with the aim of addressing different transportation challenges.
Among the recipients of the grants include Detroit, Michigan’s largest city, which is getting $2 million to create smart intersections by deploying AI solutions. The technology will use existing traffic cameras to prevent traffic accidents by predicting and preventing them in advance. The smart intersections are also expected to improve traffic flow within the city, a problem that has persisted over the years.
To address wrong-way driving events, New Jersey has won $2 million for sensors that will be mounted on highways and interchanges to detect and alert drivers in real-time. Meanwhile, New York is set to receive $2 million for an app that allows visually impaired subway and bus customers to navigate their trips more safely. The app will also be beneficial to other New Yorkers who find navigating the transit system challenging.
Los Angeles is set to receive $2 million to integrate transit trip planning with event ticketing for major events such as the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Cleveland will receive $1.8 million for smart traffic signals that will provide the right of way to emergency vehicles, while Harris County, Texas, is set to receive $2 million for sensors in a new flood warning system.
The grants will also support innovative transportation by drone technology, with three tribal nations in North Dakota set to receive $2 million for medical care, equipment deliveries, and drones’ transport. Virginia’s Eastern Shore project will also receive $1.9 million to use drones to supply medical equipment in remote areas. Massachusetts will receive $2 million to use drones and sensors to monitor and analyze railroad infrastructure under threat from groundwater changes.
Most of the projects linked to “connected vehicle” technology, such as cellular transmissions, will help prevent crashes and enhance transportation safety levels. The move follows a 10.5 percent rise in fatalities on American roads in 2021, with 42,915 lives lost, the highest since 2005, after drivers’ behaviors became riskier following COVID-19 lockdowns’ expiration.
In conclusion, the $94.8 million grants awarded to 59 advanced technology projects underscore the importance of technology in transportation to improve transportation safety levels, daily life, efficient, reliable, and more sustainable. The grants will help address different transportation challenges facing American roads today, with most of the projects rooted in connected vehicle technology. Additionally, they will help alleviate traffic congestions, promote timely delivery of medical care and equipment, and enhance transportation experiences, particularly for the visually impaired.