By Jeff Todd
DENVER (CBS4) – The City of Denver is hoping to spend $12 million to study how smart cars and smart traffic signals can improve flow around the city.
“It’s a revolution for my industry, the transportation industry,” said Michael Finochio, a Denver Public Works employee. “It’ll change the way the traffic signal works completely. So that the traffic signal can essentially make a better decision.”
Denver got a $6 million grant from the federal government and will likely match the amount to study smart traffic flows for the next four years.
But Finochio says Denver’s study will go far beyond traffic lights.
Freight trucks will also be outfitted with technology to encourage efficient travel. Pedestrian crosswalks will also be outfitted with high-tech systems to detect when someone is in the crosswalk and can prevent the traffic lights from changing.
“It improves safety and it reduces congestion and everything that goes along with that,” Finochio said.
Denver is looking to outfit 1,500 city cars in its fleet with technology to gather more data and influence how traffic lights could change traffic patterns. The idea is to expand the smart technology to all 1,275 traffic signals in the city.
“Once this handshake is established and we start sending information back and forth it’s going to change everything from the way the driver uses the roadway to the way the infrastructure responds to the driver,” Finochio said.
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.