Florida preparing for smart travel

The Florida Department of Transportation has re-released a request for proposals

to create a fiber-optic network to provide an "intelligent transportation

system."

The "Florida Fiber Network" would provide highway motorists with common

messages, such as warnings of crashes, detours or extreme fog, mostly using

electronic signs.

"The key is to use technology to save motorists' time, money and — in

some cases — their lives," said Dick Kane, the Florida DOT's spokesman.

The RFP was originally released last fall, but no businesses offered

proposals mostly because the project required a single company to take on

the entire project, adding up to about 2,000 miles, Kane said.

After no offers were made, the Florida DOT met with several businesses

to find out how to make the project more appealing. The updated RFP allows

businesses to bid on all or part of the project.

Kane said the department understands that many companies will bid on

the more profitable areas, such as a stretch from Tampa to Orlando, leaving

gaps in rural areas. The DOT, Kane said, would then fill in the gaps using

a microwave relay system or finishing the fiber-optic connection by itself.

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