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City joins national traffic signal challenge

Friday, October 26, 2018 by Katy McElroy

The city of Austin has recently deployed technology that allows connected cars to communicate in real time with the traffic signal controller at five intersections in town, making it the first city in Texas to enter the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Signal Phasing and Timing (SPaT) Challenge through the National Operations Center of Excellence. Two more projects are planned to be completed in 2019. The tech, called dedicated short-range communication technology, is meant to increase pedestrian and vehicle safety. When installed on a traffic signal, the little devices “broadcast industry standard Basic Safety Messages in the immediate vicinity of the intersection to surrounding vehicles equipped with on-board units. The Basic Safety Messages indicate vehicle position, motion, brake system status and size, and provide vehicles with SPaT information as well as MAP data, which is used to illustrate intersection geometry using high-resolution formatting.” The federal goal for the challenge is “to achieve deployment of DSRC (dedicated short-range communications) infrastructure with SPaT broadcasts in at least one corridor or network (approximately 20 signalized intersections) in each of the 50 states by January 2020.” You can read more about the challenge at This map shows the locations of the intersections that have received or will be receiving the technology.

traffic signal with device

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