Added Safety and Convenience for San Antonio
SwRI develops advanced traffic systems for a
national showcase project
The LifeLink System will connect emergency
room physicians and emergency medical technicians with video, voice, and vital signs
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has awarded Southwest Research Institute a
one-year, multimillion dollar contract to serve as systems integrator for the Model
Deployment Initiative (MDI). The project is part of the Federal Highway Administration's
Model Deployment Program, which includes only three other metropolitan areas in the U.S.
The TxDOT project will result in devices and systems to improve traffic flow and increase
traveler safety through the TransGuide Advanced Traffic Management System in San Antonio.
TransGuide operations, which began in July 1995 on 26 miles of
San Antonio freeways, have so far resulted in a 15 percent reduction in accidents,
according to a Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) study. Incident response time has
decreased as well, and the corresponding savings from these reductions is estimated by TTI
at $5 million a year. Operations will eventually cover a total of 191 miles of roadway in
the San Antonio area.
According to Dr. Steve Dellenback, SwRI staff scientist and
TransGuide MDI program manager, the Institute will develop the following systems to
further improve area traffic flow and safety conditions:
- LifeLink -- will provide a videoconferencing capability between
EMS technicians at the scene of an accident and emergency room physicians. Physicians will
be able to view a patient's injuries using full motion video and deliver instructions
directly to the EMS technician. The vital signs of the injured will also be transmitted
directly to the emergency room.
- Automated Vehicle Identification (AVI) -- will provide
information about travel speeds and vehicle location and movement on area roadways. Small
antennas, or readers, will receive signals from transponders in special tags on vehicle
windshields. Vehicle speeds will be computed by comparing tag transit times between two
AVI readers. The data provided by this system will be used for overall traffic planning in
- In-Vehicle Navigation -- will enhance commercially available
automobile route guidance units by linking them to real-time TransGuide information about
roadway conditions and traffic incidents.
- Kiosks -- will be placed in malls, hotels, businesses, and other
high-traffic areas to provide -- via touch-screen monitors -- real-time
traffic, route guidance, and weather information, as well as directions to local
attractions, mass transit schedules and routes, and limited airport information.
- Advance Warning to Avoid Railroad Delays -- will help motorists
avoid congestion at railroad crossings on freeway access roads. Sensors along the tracks
will detect train speed and length, and computers at the TransGuide Operations Center will
calculate how long crossings near exits might be blocked. Freeway message signs can be
used to alert motorists so they can select alternate exits.
- Area-wide Database -- will compile traffic and roadway
information from the TransGuide database, the state's road closure database, the AVI
database, and the Advance Warning to Avoid Railroad Delays database. The data will be
distributed to in-vehicle navigation systems, kiosks, emergency response groups, and a low
power television station that transmits traffic information to the public and the local
The Institute will receive approximately $8.5 million of the
total MDI contract award, which amounts to just over $13.5 million in federal, state, and
local funds. The City of San Antonio and Via Metropolitan Transit are partners in the
project with TxDOT.
San Antonio joins the Seattle, Phoenix, and New York/New
Jersey/ Connecticut areas in developing and showcasing advanced Intelligent Transportation
System features under the nation's Model Deployment Program.
Published in the Spring 1997 issue of Technology
Today®, published by Southwest Research Institute. For more information, contact
Spring 1997 Technology Today