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Added safety and convenience just down the road for San Antonio motorists

SwRI to develop six systems for the $13.5 million Model Deployment Initiative

San Antonio -- April 4, 1997 -- The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has named Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®)  systems integrator for the Model Deployment Initiative (MDI). The one-year, multimillion dollar project is part of the Federal Highway Administration's Model Deployment Program, which includes only three other metropolitan areas. The TxDOT project will result in new ways 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:

  • 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.
  • LifeLink -- will provide a video conferencing 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. The vital signs of the injured will also be transmitted directly to the emergency room.
  • Kiosks -- will be placed in malls, hotels, businesses, etc. to provide -- via a touch-screen monitor -- real-time traffic, route guidance, and weather information, as well as 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.
  • Automated Vehicle Identification (AVI) -- will provide information about average travel speeds for a section of roadway by reading special tags on vehicle windshields as they pass AVI readers located above the road. Average vehicle speeds will be computed by comparing tag transit times between two AVI readers. The data will be used to indicate areas of congestion and possible accidents.
  • 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 media.

The total MDI contract is for just over $13.5 million, with SwRI receiving approximately $8.5 million. 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 showcasing advanced Intelligent Transportation System features under the nation's Model Deployment Program. Such efforts began with the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, which promotes reduced energy consumption and air pollution as well as improved public transportation and commerce through economically efficient, environmentally sound innovations.

Find out more about TransGuide on the Internet at http://www.transguide.dot.state.tx.us/

For more information about SwRI's involvement in the TransGuide program, contact Deborah Deffenbaugh, Communications Department, Southwest Research Institute, P.O. Drawer 28510, San Antonio, Texas 78228-0510, Phone (210) 522-2046, Fax (210) 522-3547.

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