DOT seeks applications to reduce accidents, gridlock

The Transportation Department issued a request for information Dec. 18 about applications that are available to fight traffic congestion and improve the safety and performance of the country’s transportation system.

The department’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) will identify technology and stakeholders to partner on SafeTrip-21, a multi-application field test of safety and congestion-reducing technologies, which will be launched at the 2008 Intelligent Transportation Systems World Congress in New York City next November and integrated into other test locations. Comments are due Jan. 11.

SafeTrip-21 builds on research into the use of information, navigation and communications technologies to prevent accidents and alleviate congestion by providing drivers with real-time safety warnings, traffic and transit information, and advanced navigational tools.

“The solution to today's traffic problems does not have to be just about building new roads and infrastructure," Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said. "By harnessing existing technology and adapting it for transportation needs, we can dramatically improve safety and reduce congestion for the traveling public.”

A team from RITA’s Volpe National Transportation Systems Center has been assembled to lead the SafeTrip-21 initiative, working closely with the automotive, information technology and consumer products industries, as well as other public and private partners. Transportation just named Robert Suda, associate chief information officer for integration and operations, to head the Volpe Center, effective Jan. 14.

“SafeTrip-21 will further the research and deployment of technologies that can warn drivers in real time about dangerous and congested conditions, road hazards and other vehicles with enough time to avoid an accident or alter their route,” RITA Administrator Paul Brubaker said.

SafeTrip-21 aims to expand and accelerate the department’s vehicle infrastructure integration program to test and deploy safety and congestion-reducing technologies while continuing to research the viability of nationwide deployment. Vehicle infrastructure integration lets vehicles and roads communicate like a network through sensor technology. SafeTrip-21 will incorporate lessons learned in operational tests currently underway in partnership with automakers, equipment suppliers, and state and local governments in Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, New York and Virginia.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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