Up to $300,000 will be awarded for projects in southwestern Pennsylvania communities

Alongside Carnegie Mellon University’s Traffic21 Institute, Mobility21 is proud to sponsor the Smart Mobility Challenge to demonstrate how innovative technology can improve mobility.

This challenge is inspired by Traffic21’s years of successful collaboration with the City of Pittsburgh to become a globally recognized smart city test bed and the desire to demonstrate how suburban and rural communities can also benefit from innovative transportation technology.

2017 Winners

Neshannonck Township and Lawrence County-wide

Alexandre Jacquillat and Vibhanshu Abhishek

The population of Lawrence County relies extensively on private modes of transportation in daily commutes and other trips. An important opportunity to reduce the costs of travel lies in technological solutions to better connect commuters and promote shared modes of transportation, for instance among employees of the same firm. This research proposes to develop a mobile platform to enhance information sharing and coordination among commuters, so public transportation and peer-to-peer ride-sharing opportunities can be identified and leveraged. Through the pilot deployment of this platform, it will assess its impact on travel behaviors and its overall efficacy. Ultimately, this research can contribute to the ongoing development of technological solutions to promote ride-sharing, reduce the costs of travel, mitigate transportation-induced emissions, and enhance access to urban areas.

Dormont and Mt. Lebanon

H. Scott Matthews and Sean Qian

Dormont and Mount Lebanon are two adjacent and critical municipalities in the southern suburbs of Pittsburgh, which happen to share parking, transit, traffic signaling, and congestion management challenges across a shared Business Rt 19 corridor. We propose to work collaboratively with them over time to develop innovative solutions in a shared corridor, but will initially focus on parking data analysis and management. We will produce a web application that can provide parking information across the municipal boundaries, and consider pricing changes to enhance revenue.

The Municipality of Bethel Park and the City of Greensburg

Bernardo Pires and Greg Cerminara

The Intelligent Mobility Meter (IMM) is a portable data acquisition and analysis platform for the collection of fine-grained statistics on pedestrian, cyclist and vehicular traffic. This project proposes to further improve the IMM performance while tackling challenges that affect the local governments in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Specifically, we propose to: 1) collect novel real-world large-scale datasets of visual data that will help further improve the automated detection, classification and tracking algorithms of the IMM; and 2) provide real-world valuable traffic studies and actionable information to local government entities. To achieve the goals the project we are partnering with the Municipality of Bethel Park and the City of Greensburg, and with leading engineering firm Michael Baker International. The local governments will guide the deployment of the meter to the locations that are most critical for infrastructure decision making and pledge to deploy the portable meters as necessary for the collection of the data. The CMU research group will use the data to improve the IMM algorithms and to analyze the specific traffic needs and challenges as requested by the municipalities. Finally, Michael Baker International will provide the necessary traffic engineering expertise and guidance so that the project’s output will be useful and actionable for the municipalities.

Cranberry Township

Sean Qian

“Cranberry Township is a Progressive Municipality that works to maintain traffic efficiency on its transportation networks. Cranberry Township’s unique geographical location at the junction of Interstates 79 and 376 (PA Turnpike) can pose interesting challenges in coordinated operations.
Specifically, the Township operates a Coordinated Signal System that relies on historically Generated Signal Timings, coupled with real time technology to manage day to day operations on the local network. Unfortunately, any scheduled or unscheduled events on the limited access highways can cause havoc with our efficient operation.

Together we are proposing to incorporate real time data inputs monitored from both social media and INRIX against historical INRIX data from these limited access highways to trigger predictions of traffic delays. These predictions could then be directed to several directives, such as dynamic message boards, smart phone applications, social media and text messages, to alert the public of the anticipated delay. Those predictions also alert the Cranberry traffic system of the issue to allow for adjustments to the operating traffic plan on the real-time basis.”

McKees Rocks Borough

Sean Qian

A CSX intermodal rail terminal is planned to open in late 2017 on a parcel of land located immediately north of the McKees Rocks Bridge in the Borough of McKees Rocks and Stowe Township, PA. The development will consist of an intermodal facility that will accommodate approximately 50,000 lifts per year opening year (2018) and 136,000 lifts per year at full buildout (2023). Access to the terminal is proposed via an improved Michael Alley to Island Avenue (SR 0051). It is expected to generate a significant number of trucks in the Borough of McKees Rocks, which adds additional burdens on the existing roadway in the Borough. The terminal may bring in heavy congestion to individual roadway drivers. A traffic impact study was conducted indicating a minor congestion increase with the new infrastructure. This research project conducts an in-depth analysis of the potential traffic impact in high temporal and spatial resolutions. Using the data collected in the traffic impact study along with other relevant data sets possessed by CMU Mobility Data Analytics Center, we simulate individual cars and trucks, and model their route choices, travel time and mixed traffic flow conditions. The result includes the travel time, travel delay, vehicle-mile-traveled and emissions for each road segment and intersection by time of day. We will also examine the effectiveness of potential traffic management strategies, specifically West Carson Street Extension and truck routing.

Borough of Millvale

Stefanie Danes, Don Carter and Stephen Quick

The Regional Transportation Alliance notes that Pittsburgh’s various modes of transportation are not well integrated into an overall mobility system. This is nowhere more evident than where they cross paths, such as at Millvale’s gateway, where the downtown street grid, the Route 28 exit ramps, the railroad, Girty’s Run, and the riverfront converge within the space of less than 500 feet. It is a very multi-modal place, yet every mode of transportation interferes with the others, causing both access and safety problems. The goal of this project is to improve accessibility and safety at this complicated intersection and, in turn, to transform this gateway location into a catalyst for further revitalization of the Borough. Building on design concepts created in a graduate urban design studio in the fall, the Remaking Cities Institute research team will develop a set of interventions in the built environment that improve access and safety and contribute to the borough’s economic and social vitality. The proposed improvements will range from short-term tactical moves to long-term investment in infrastructure and landscape. The final product will include a comparative analysis of the proposed interventions.

Challenge Partners assisting in promoting the challenge and input on proposals include the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, the Regional Transportation Alliance of Southwestern Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and Community and Economic Development. These partners may also provide guidance and support to municipalities for further deployment of innovative ideas.

Special acknowledgment to the Hillman Foundation and the USDOT University Transportation Program for their support of Traffic21 and Mobility21.