Reflecting a growing trend in Gwinnett-area transportation and economic development, the county was awarded one of four grants by the Georgia Tech-led Georgia Smart Communities Challenge.
These communities were chosen from a pool of applicants from around the state to receive grant funding and participate in a yearlong Smart planning study.
The Georgia Smart Communities Challenge is a first-of-its-kind opportunity for communities of any size in Georgia to receive funding and support that enables them to envision, explore, and plan for their “smart” future. Communities will be given $50,000 in grant funding, a partnership with a Georgia Tech research team, networking opportunities, and access to additional, unique resources to execute their projects. These unique resources include connections to industry experts and access to technology solutions provided by our provider-partners.
Connected Vehicle Technology Master Plan
Gwinnett County, in partnership the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), and the cities of Berkeley Lake, Duluth, Norcross, and Suwanee, and Dr. Angshuman Guin (Professor Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech), will use Georgia Smart grant funding to evaluate traffic management technologies for improved vehicle mobility throughout the region. The project will improve safety, connectivity, and quality of life for community members.
This transportation study will bridge the gap between the Gwinnett County ITS Master Plan Update (March 2017) and the Peachtree Industrial Boulevard (PIB) Smart Corridor project scheduled to begin in 2019. The Connected Vehicle Master Plan will be used to evaluate seamlessness and compatibility with other transportation systems, develop a public outreach strategy, and evaluate important benefit/cost considerations. The PIB Smart Corridor project is envisioned to be the backbone of a smart technology roadway network which will ultimately cover the entire Atlanta region. Initially, this pilot will cover 50 intersections over a 20-mile stretch of roadway through areas which experience some of the highest
traffic counts in the region. Using a smart risk approach, Gwinnett’s traffic system will demonstrate what is possible with recent scientific advances.
Currently, the majority of signalized intersections in Gwinnett County are controlled utilizing pre-timed time-of-day signal plans. Each plan is based on the estimated volume for each approach to the intersection for a time of day. Using these traffic counts, engineers apply their judgment, training, and knowledge of local travel patterns to develop a signal timing plan which maximizes throughput. This system can be remarkably efficient because peak travel periods can be reasonably anticipated. However, the system is not “smart” inasmuch as the timing plan does not respond to real-time conditions.
Gwinnett County desires to set the standard for the application of connected vehicle technology. This project will use the latest technological advances in traffic management systems to improve traffic congestion and reduce crashes in the Peachtree Industrial Boulevard corridor. Beyond that, County leadership envisions that this project will be the first of several and will have broad applicability in the Atlanta region and across the country. The project will show how to set up a connected vehicle system, including costs, benefits, applications, equipment, both hardware and software, and personnel requirements. The project will help agencies charged with traffic safety and mobility manage expectations, costs, and fully realize the benefits of these new technologies.
Gwinnett County staff and its consultants are ready to collaborate with its Georgia Tech research partner, Dr. Angshuman Guin during the project. Dr. Guin will assist Gwinnett County to evaluate sensor networks, 5G broadband, and data storage and processing capacity required to support connected vehicle technology. Dr. Guin will also assist in performing traffic operations simulations to solve complex engineering problems for the region as well as perform a safety analysis to maintain a high level of safety across all systems.
Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Chairman, Charlotte Nash expressed support for the project, saying “I am particularly thrilled about the prospect of experienced Gwinnett DOT staff members working with their Georgia Tech research partners to help us challenge the status quo, make bold recommendations, experiment and adapt technology. Together, using a smart risk approach, we can implement a traffic system which is at the cutting edge of what is possible with recent scientific advances.” GDOT State Traffic Engineer Andrew Heath, also had encouraging works, stating “The proposed improvements reimagine traditional approaches to addressing traffic and safety and lay the groundwork for what will be a truly transformative system.”