NYC has been chosen by the U.S. Department of Transportation to pilot $20 million in new communication technology in city vehicles, with functions that would alert drivers to issues with traffic signals, vehicles in blind spots and impending red light violations, among other measures.
The pilot program, announced Monday, will add devices to as many as 10,000 cars, MTA buses and limousines that often travel through Midtown and Brooklyn, yielding anonymous data that will ideally reduce traffic congestion, limit greenhouse gas emissions and prevent crashes. Research has shown that the technology could "reduce unimpaired vehicle crashes by 80 percent, while also reducing the 4.8 billion hours that Americans spend in traffic annually," according to a release.
The technology will be installed on street infrastructure and in city vehicles on a voluntary basis by early 2017. It's too soon to say how many city agencies will participate, but officials tell the Wall Street Journal that the MTA and some trucking associations will adopt the technology, as well as some taxis. An app for pedestrians will soon be available as well.
“Today’s announcement is a big step forward for the future of how we move in this country, from our rural communities to our biggest cities,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “It has been a core mission of the Department to support promising new technologies, and through these types of smart investments we are opening the door to a safer and cleaner network and expanding how future generations travel.”
The same technology was tested in Ann Arbor on more than 2,700 vehicles in 2012. Along with NYC, the technology will also be implemented in Wyoming and Tampa, Florida.