Detroit – Traffic safety in four Detroit neighborhoods — outside of Midtown and downtown — soon should improve with the help of a $2.18 million grant.

Federal Highway Administration officials have awarded the Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment grant to Detroit for using state-of-the-art technologies to improve safety and connectivity across southwest Detroit, the Riverfront, Corktown and Livernois-McNichols.

“The city chose those four neighborhoods for various reasons, chiefly related to traffic queuing and safety,” said agency spokesman Doug Hecox.

He said the connectivity efforts will take various forms:

— Offering Wi-Fi on buses and other public transit.

— Developing an app to help residents identify public and private transit options.

— Developing a “mesh” network solution to ensure all area residents have access to Wi-Fi and address the “digital divide” of an economically challenged community.

— Creating a foundation for local infrastructure to support self-driving and other high-tech mobility solutions.

“In addition, the grant will help the community improve safety in various ways,” he said. This includes installing communications and detection infrastructure at intersections to help safeguard pedestrians at crosswalks, and creating vehicle-to-infrastructure technology to enhance local road safety.

Mark de la Vergne, chief of mobility innovation for the city of Detroit, told The Detroit News that Mayor Mike Duggan’s vision for mobility is to make it “easier, safer and more affordable to get around.”

“We envision that the technology implemented by this grant will have a number of positive impacts on traffic, from simply better coordination of traffic signals, to more advanced ideas, such as having traffic signal timings react in real time to information they receive from cameras and sensors,” said de la Vergne.

He continued, “This grant will help us address existing mobility challenges that face our residents on a daily basis, whether they walk, take the bus, ride a bike or drive, and develop solutions that we will then be able to deploy across the city. “

Asked when the improvements will begin, de la Vergne said information on the project schedule will be available after initial discussions with the Federal Highway Administration.

Acting Federal Highway Administrator Brandye L. Hendrickson said in a statement, “Technology is the future of U.S. transportation. With innovation such as this, we are helping make transportation safer and more accessible for people while addressing the growing congestion problems of our nation’s highway system.”

Detroit officials will use the funds to install communications and detection technologies at intersections and improve traveler information in the four neighborhoods.

The federal program funds technologies that are ready to be deployed to boost traffic capacity for commuters and businesses.

The grant program was established under the “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation” Act. State departments of transportation, local governments, transit agencies, metropolitan planning organizations and other entities were invited to apply for funding.

This year, 10 projects worth nearly $54 million have been funded.

(313) 222-2296

Mark Hicks contributed.

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