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Orlando would not have applied to participate in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge if it didn’t think it had a good shot at winning. And looking at the ways in which the city has already taken a focus on innovative transportation, you can see why officials are pretty confident.
Orlando is competing against 77 other cities across the country to show how innovative it is in transportation by using technology. The U.S. DOT will narrow down the stand-out cities to five in March and then later choose one winner, which will receive $50 million to go toward enhancing the city infrastructure for innovative transportation — not to mention the bragging rights of being a nationally recognized Smart City.
So how does Orlando already stand out? In various ways, if you ask city of Orlando spokeswoman Cassandra Lafser. Here, she breaks down five ways Orlando has implemented transportation initiatives:
- Intelligent transportation system: “The city was one of the first to develop an intelligent transportation system that networked almost all 500 traffic signals in the city with redundant path, high-speed communications, integrating multiple vehicle detection methods to improve intersection operations, numerous traffic cameras to provide remote monitoring of traffic conditions and to facilitate quick dispatching of emergency and repair crews, state-of-the-art emergency vehicle pre-emption and response route planning systems, and dynamic message signs to provide real-time traffic information to travelers.”
- Smart parking: “Our smart parking meters and Park Me/Park Mobile apps provide users a convenient way to find and pay for parking in Downtown,”Lafser said in an email response.
- Transit signal priority system:“The city developed the transit signal priority system that helps to move Lymmo and I-Drive buses through these corridors. Currently, FDOT is looking at the city’s model and how to expand it statewide.”
- Bluetooth reader:“Bluetooth reader installation has begun this year in downtown and in the Edgewater/Drive Vassar intersection to collect real-time data providing critical information that will help with further improvements to improve pedestrian and traffic movement.”
- Bike share:“Juice Bike Share with its mobile app functionality for utilizing.” Orlando’s bike share program launched last year in downtown, and now the program has 200 bikes in 30 hubs throughout Lake Nona and Winter Park. It offers tourists, business professionals, and more an easier method of short distance transportation.