Pittsburgh gets $10.9 million federal transportation grant

The $10.9 million Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act grant from DOT, announced by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, will pay for “smart spines” that use information gathered from a network of sensors to balance traffic and move it through areas more quickly. Another aspect of the improvements will allow buses, public safety or freight vehicles to communicate with traffic signals so they can move through intersections more efficiently. The spine called for six streets that empty into the Golden Triangle — Penn, Liberty, Fifth, Forbes and Second avenues and Bigelow Boulevard — to feed traffic, vehicular and social media information into the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center. That collaborative, led by Pittsburgh and Allegheny County and operated by the University of Pittsburgh, would use the data to monitor traffic and control signals on those streets, similar to the Surtrac system developed by Carnegie Mellon University that helps move traffic in East Liberty and Larimer.