A $12 million federal grant will allow the Central Florida region enhance intelligent transportation systems aimed at pedestrian safety and easing congestion.
The University of Central Florida, Florida Department of Transportation, and MetroPlan Orlando will receive the $11.9 million from the Federal Highway Administration to test the technology of smart cities in the rapidly-growing city of Orlando. The results have the potential to become national models for other growing locations.
“Partnerships are powerful. That’s why this is possible. And because UCF is a little city, we are in a good position to test these technologies in real-world situations,” said Engineering Professor and Chair of the Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering Department Mohamed Abdel-Aty.
“The goal is to improve pedestrian safety and congestion. We aim to become a showcase for the future.”
UCF stated that intelligent transportation systems equipment will be installed on and around UCF’s main campus. Among technologies to be tested:
- PedSafe, an innovative pedestrian and bicycle collision avoidance system
- GreenWay, which uses advanced traffic signal technology
- SmartCommunity, for trip planning apps
- SunStore, which integrates FDOT data
- Autonomous and Connected Vehicles
“This project puts Central Florida on the cutting-edge of technology in transportation – and it’s only the beginning. Once the technology is tested, we can then take the lessons learned and expand it to all of Central Florida,” said MetroPlan Orlando Executive Director Harry Barley.“MetroPlan Orlando will be the forum where local governments and transportation organizations will come together to discuss how this can be deployed regionally.”
“MetroPlan Orlando will be the forum where local governments and transportation organizations will come together to discuss how this can be deployed regionally.”
Development of the Creative Village in Downtown Orlando, hosting the future site of UCF Downtown, will see plans for the technology to be implemented. The project resides in one of the largest transit-oriented developments in the Southeast with the Lynx Central Station, Sunrail, and Lymmo bus rapid transit.
“UCF is uniquely positioned to advance smart transportation systems technologies,” the university stated. “It is home to the nationally recognized Center for Advanced Transportation Systems Simulation, which conducts research in the area of traffic safety, intelligent transportation systems, traffic simulation, transportation demand analysis, and transportation planning concepts and methods.”
Students have long called for UCF and county officials to increase traffic and safety measures on Alafaya Trail and University Boulevard due to its high volume of traffic and frequent incidents.
In September, a 19-year-old student was killed crossing University Blvd.
While there are no significant plans for projects such as pedestrian bridges, the funding will seek for technologies to prevent crashes and incidents involving pedestrians.