DENVER — Denver is testing new technology that would allow cars and traffic signals to wirelessly "talk" to one another, which they say may help move more people around the city faster and safer.
It's called Connected Vehicle Technology, and Denver has become the "test bed" for the rest of the country.
"We’ve increased by 100,000 people in just the last few years," said Michael Finochio, the Engineering Manager at the Denver Traffic Management Center. "Our transportation infrastructure is under strain because of that."
With the help of Connected Vehicle Technology, the city believes it has the opportunity to increase the intelligence of the transportation system, as opposed to fighting the growth.
Here's the idea: Eventually, intersections would be radio equipped and vehicles would have units on board. The two devices can wirelessly communicate with each other about all kinds of hazards, slowdowns, collisions, emergencies and road conditions.
For example, connected vehicles would help traffic signals determine how much “green time” to give, especially during peak period travel times.
Down the road, drivers using this technology would also receive notifications if they're at risk of hitting a pedestrian or if someone is about to run a red light as they're nearing an intersection based on detecting a high rate-of-speed.
Eventually, all of this data would feed directly into Denver's Traffic Management Center (TMC) so the city could monitor real-time events.
For example, if two cars crash in the middle of the intersection, the vehicles would "talk" to the TMC and notify it if airbags went off, so the TMC could alert emergency response and start redirecting traffic.
During snow season, if vehicles are skidding on a bridge, the vehicles would be able to "talk" to the TMC so a snow plow can be alerted and receive priority green lights at traffic signals while they are en route to respond.
"By making the infrastructure smarter we’re going to make a lot of improvements to the transportation system," Finochio said.
The system is expected to be deployed on city streets over the next three years.
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