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North Avenue’s congestion, collisions and emissions
Well before it became a Smart Corridor, North Avenue was familiar to many Atlantans. Its connections to business, education and transit hubs kept it buzzing with activity. But the constant flow of drivers, cyclists and pedestrians made it a hotspot for collisions and heavy emissions outputs.
City leaders hoped digital solutions could make the area safer and more efficient. As part of its Renew Atlanta initiative, the city turned North Avenue into The North Avenue Smart Corridor – a “living lab” to test technology-driven solutions for safe, efficient and environmentally friendly mobility.
Digitally transforming the traffic ecosystem
Connectivity would be essential to gathering data and making enhancements to the real-world traffic network. Arcadians designed an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) that would allow various third-party technologies to communicate seamlessly.
The result: a digitized traffic ecosystem that can sense and adapt. A network of hundreds of Internet of Things sensors across 26 signalized intersections combines artificial intelligence with traffic theory to improve the flow of transit and protect travelers.
Advanced video detection systems and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications track traffic statistics such as speed and volume. The network can identify modes of travel, allowing bicyclists and pedestrians to safely traverse crosswalks without pushing a button. When an emergency arises, it prioritizes the fire engines and ambulances responding to calls. Similarly, the system can accommodate special traffic patterns used for events like the Super Bowl, which the city hosted in 2019.
All activity along the corridor is monitored from a digital mobility center installed and maintained by Arcadians. There, team members – including experts from the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Georgia Department of Transportation – continually observe the network and test potential improvements.
To enhance the value of the data the ITS collects, the team released a free app for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to use along the corridor. It shares helpful traffic information, such as signal timing, and alerts users to impending hazards, like an approaching vehicle that is traveling above the speed limit.
Smart, safe and sustainable mobility
Progress regarding safety has been remarkable, with accidents down 20-35% along different sections of the corridor. The new system also consumes less energy than before, supporting the team’s mission to improve the environment along with mobility and safety.
The safer, more efficient journeys on North Avenue might only be the beginning. City leaders hope the North Avenue Smart Corridor will serve as a platform for “smart city” efforts around Atlanta, where data unlocks better solutions for citizens.