We’ve heard of the mind boggling technology of driverless cars, and Atlanta is one of the first cities in the U.S. to prepare for them in the future. The $3 million North Avenue Smart Corridor Project—covering a 2.3 mile stretch from the Coca Cola main office tower and Georgia Tech to Ponce City Market, where nearly 29,000 vehicles pass on some days—will have high-tech features. They’ll include adaptive traffic signals, high definition cameras, video surveillance and other technology to enhance safety while picking up traffic pace along North Avenue.
Georgia already leads the nation with 300 adaptive traffic signals. Monitoring traffic flow by making real-time adjustments in timing as needed, they work with video surveillance. Signals can wait a little long-er to turn green to give pedestrians time to make crossings. “Connected vehicle systems” alert drivers to slow down in school zones and allow emergency vehicles to preempt traffic signals and speed through intersections.
Traffic technologies are becoming state of the art in Atlanta, a city needing them. Technology now helps empty parking garages at Philips Arena, cutting the 90 minute time in half at a recent event. Georgia Tech is making plans to analyze data from sensors along North Avenue to set benchmarks for congestion relief.
“We want to be the early adopters,” says GDOT Transportation commissioner Russell McMurry of new traffic technologies, which not only can save time but lives. He envisions other Smart Corridors in the Metro with the Buckhead Loop being a prime candidate. Driverless vehicles aren’t going to happen real soon because of various hurdles, but when they come Smart Corridors are likely to be places where the transportation of the future will be introduced.
–Dr. Paul Hudson