TRAFFIC & ROADS

USDOT adds new technology to improve road safety

Jun 20, 2024, 7:11 PM | Updated: Jun 21, 2024, 1:45 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — The Department of Transportation announced that $20 million of federal funding will be used to program intersections along the Wasatch Front to communicate with emergency vehicles and buses to improve safety on Utah’s roads.

UDOT will put new technology in select vehicles that will turn their traffic light green when they approach, opening the way for emergency vehicles. The V2X project will help emergency vehicles get places faster, and help busses catch up when they’re behind schedule.

USDOT said the end goal is is save lives.

The technology works automatically without any needed help from the driver.

USDOT said approximately 500 intersections and 300 vehicles have the detectors and computers on board, with plans to greatly expand the V2X project this year.

The next step of the project, according to USDOT, is asking automakers to get on board. USDOT would like all vehicles to eventually have the ability to get notifications from areas where accidents or road hazards could occur, like intersections and bridges.

“How many times we see on (Interstate 80) these huge pileups, because there’s a crash, and then hundreds of vehicles end up piling up into it because they can’t see it.” Shailen Bhatt, Federal Highway Administrator, said. “This is about giving them the vision, giving them the access.”

The technology uses wireless sensors and connectivity. If it’s built into cars, people could get notifications without depending on their phones. USDOT said the goal is to get the technology into a quarter of the signalized intersections in the 75 top metro areas.

In Salt Lake City, 20% of intersections have the technology, as the city is one of the few pilot markets for the program.

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USDOT adds new technology to improve road safety