In what seems like a quirky use of technology, Freight North Texas is working with the North Central Texas Council of Governments to eliminate the need for truck drivers to stop at red lights.
The thinking behind reducing the number of red lights truckers experience is actually rooted in science. Class 8 commercial motor vehicles give off significant emissions while idling. Texas also has the highest number — 13 — of transportation bottlenecks on the Top 100 list compiled annually by the American Transportation Research Institute. These are reasons why planners are working to deploy technology that would reduce truck stoppages, ease congestion, and eliminate unnecessary emissions in communities.
The North Central Texas Council reportedly chose planning and design consultants Kimley-Horn to carry out what is being hailed as the “Freight Priority” program. The program’s goal is to identify 500 traffic lights across the Dallas-Fort Worth region and adapt technology that minimizes truck stoppages over five years. Kent Kacir, project manager at Kimley-Horn, noted this is a first of its kind and the Garland and McKinney communities are expected to see the initial rollout.
“Once we know that a truck is within a particular area of an intersection that we have granted rights to control, then our signal goes down from the cloud to the local agency’s traffic signal to extend that phase an additional four or five seconds,” Kacir reportedly said.
The plan appears to be to start implementing Freight Priority over the next few months. It’s a free service for truck drivers and fleet operations hauling loads through the region. The app leverages a truck’s telematics system, connects with Cloud-based technology, and then uses GPS coordinates to share the vehicle’s location. Other connecting apps essentially ping traffic lights to keep them green long enough for truckers to cruise through. The system uses speed and estimated arrival times to make it all work.
“We have in development as we speak a dashboard that will be available to anybody. Then, if you’re a local agency operator — let’s say the city of Garland — you will be able to go to it and, with special privileges, look into deeper details of your traffic management system and be able to pull out of that specific details on which signal actually gave the most benefit to the trucks,” Kacir reportedly said.
Once in place, truckers would save time and fuel expenses while the communities get a reduction in emissions.
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