WFLA Web Staff - TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) -- Tampa will be among the first cities in the country to participate in a pilot program that will allow vehicles to communicate with each other about traffic conditions, which would improve safety and reduce traffic jams.
On Sept. 14, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) awarded a $2.4 million contract to the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA).
This award will be used, in a THEA partnership with other local agencies and private sector stakeholders, to conduct an innovative "Connected Vehicle (CV) pilot program" designed to make transportation safer, smarter and greener.
The THEA CV pilot program would outfit cars, buses and roadside equipment with technology, so that they can communicate with each other about various traffic conditions. The proposal's main goals would be improved safety for vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists; improved traffic flow and transit trip times; and reduction of Tampa Bay's carbon footprint.
"We're bringing transportation into the 21st century, and Florida is going to be at the center of it all," said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.
"Tampa will be among the first cities in the nation to use the latest technology to make it safer and easier to drive."
"This was a national award. I believe THEA excelled because of our collaborative efforts with both the public and private sector. And also because the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway and Meridian Avenue offer an ideal setting for a CV pilot program," said THEA Executive Director Joe Waggoner.
"The CV technology we are piloting can make Tampa a national leader in transportation innovation safety and efficiency. We are excited for THEA and for Tampa Bay."
In addition to improved traffic and pedestrian safety applications, the pilot program will also seek to demonstrate and measure the impact of CV technology's ability to make transportation smarter by combining CV technology with cell phone and "smart car" apps; greener by tracking emission reductions achieved through improved travel patterns; and adaptable by integrating CV technologies with existing transportation systems and infrastructure.