New Technology to Improve Safety for Both Cyclists and Pedestrians
A new pilot program in the cities of Cambridge and Somerville, Massachusetts seeks to tap into emerging technologies in the hopes of improving traffic safety.
Advanced technologies able to detect, and react to, pedestrian and cyclist activity on our busy roadways stands at the heart of a smart city pilot program in Cambridge and Somerville. Both cities are already part of Vision Zero, an international initiative to eliminate traffic fatalities.
Each city has already made numerous roadway modifications—including separate bike lanes, lower speed limits, and dedicated bus lanes. Once completed, the program is expected to serve as a model for other municipalities to follow.
New Technology Leads the Way
City planners in both Cambridge and Somerville are currently working on a high-traffic, mixed-used corridor between the two cities. The new program, known as Data Driven Comprehensive Road Safety, combines video-based traffic measurement, statistical analysis, and artificial intelligence with signal monitoring, video streaming, and machine learning.
The data produced will allow officials to identify high-risk interactions between vehicle drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. This information will help cities design intersections going forward, generating data which is then used to measure the risk to human safety.
With this information in place, traffic planners hope they can dramatically lower the time required in order to make safety interventions. Advisors say the data collected—including traffic volume, pedestrian counts, and near-miss incidents, will allow municipal planners to better understand the causes of traffic-related injuries.
A spokesman for the Department of Traffic, Parking, and Transportation in Cambridge notes the program aligns with the city’s commitment to the safety of residents. They add the monitoring aspect of the program as developed will safeguard individual right-to-privacy.
Somerville’s Director of Transportation and Infrastructure also notes the city’s data-driven approach to public policy. They hope this program will help eliminate severe injuries and fatalities caused by traffic incidents.
Representatives for the technology partners behind the program both hope the open-source, open-architecture nature of the program will help other municipalities quickly adopt the technology in the very near future.
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