Momentum: Issue #7
FEATURE ARTICLE: SOUTHERN NEVADA ITS - PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE OF TRANSPORTATION TECHNOLOGY
Southern Nevada is one of the country’s fastest growing regions. With a population of 2.2 million people and approximately 42 million visitors annually, moving all these people safely and efficiently is a significant challenge. However, it is made easier through Southern Nevada’s traffic management center, the nation’s first truly integrated Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) that monitors and controls traffic across all jurisdictions.
The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC), along with the Nevada Department of Transportation and Nevada Highway Patrol, operates the region’s state-of-the-art traffic management center. This cooperative and robust ITS operation has resulted in a 20 percent improvement in traffic congestion delays since the partnership formed in 2004.
Additionally, the integrated and collaborative ITS model is enabling Southern Nevada to be a leader in testing and implementing groundbreaking technologies that will shape the future of transportation on a global scale.
“Advanced transportation technologies know no boundaries,” said Tina Quigley, RTC general manager and ITS America’s Smart Infrastructure Task Force co-chair. “Autonomous and connected vehicles continue to develop, and they need seamless communication with traffic lights and related devices as they travel the region, often crossing multiple jurisdictions in one trip. Our traffic management center provides that critical connectivity.”
Quigley explained that in Southern Nevada, private companies work with just one regional entity to access connected traffic devices. Other communities have multiple – sometimes even more than 100 – individual agencies and jurisdictions involved in the process. As a result, Southern Nevada is the region of choice for many innovative companies seeking to test new and groundbreaking technologies.
This collaborative ITS effort enabled Audi to debut its “Time to Green” feature that provides a countdown on the dashboard so a driver knows the time remaining until the signal changes to green. This feature and the underlying ITS connectivity to traffic signals is a critical component for the development of autonomous vehicles, which Southern Nevada has embraced.
A fully autonomous shuttle sponsored by AAA and Keolis has transported more than 32,000 passengers on nearly 5,000 trips in downtown Las Vegas. Another pilot project sponsored by Lyft and Aptiv has 30 autonomous cars operating on the Las Vegas Strip that have provided more than 5,000 customer rides covering 100,000 miles. These pilot projects are critical to the development of autonomous vehicle technology and to helping the public feel more comfortable with them. In fact, 96 percent of passengers in the Lyft/Aptiv pilot said they'd be willing to take another autonomous ride.
Southern Nevada’s ITS also supports the testing of technology from Waycare to enhance roadway safety and reduce congestion. As a result, emergency responders are responding to crashes up to 12 minutes faster, which means clearing incidents more quickly, allowing traffic to flow again, and reducing the chance of secondary accidents. Waycare’s analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) technology can also predict where dangerous driving conditions or congestion may occur, helping to reduce primary crashes along Interstate 15, which runs through the urban core of Las Vegas, by 17 percent
These achievements are momentous industry firsts, laying the foundation for the future of transportation efficiency and safety. Cooperative, state-of-the-art ITS programs like that in Southern Nevada can serve as a model for the other communities as transportation technology continues to evolve.
The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) is the transit authority, transportation planning organization, regional traffic management agency and administrator of Southern Nevada Strong, the regional planning effort for the Las Vegas valley.
MEMBER CONNECTION: Brad Stertz, Audi
Name: Brad Stertz
Title: Director, Audi Government Affairs
Short Job description/Role Responsibility: Responsible for government interactions with Audi and future vehicle technologies
Current or previous #ITS Project: Self-driving and connected vehicle technologies
What’s the future of #ITS look like to you? Government, industry and other stakeholders coordinating to map out the new mobility options ahead
Favorite place to travel: Italy
Most Unusual Job you have ever had before current position: Washington Bureau Chief, The Detroit News, covering the Clinton impeachment trial
First car you drove: Ford Country Squire station wagon, aka “Old Smokey”