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Surtrac for the People: Upgrading the Surtrac Pittsburgh Deployment to Incorporate Pedestrian Friendly Extensions and Remote Monitoring Advances

With research funding from the Traffic21 Institute’s Mobility21 University Transportation Center Program, Dr. Stephen Smith, Director of the Intelligent Coordination and Logistics Laboratory at Carnegie Mellon University, developed the Scalable Urban Traffic Control (Surtrac), the world’s first decentralized smart adaptive traffic signal system. This system significantly improves traffic throughput, trip delays and pollution along congested roads controlled by traffic lights.  The system applies artificial intelligence to traffic signals equipped with cameras or radars adapting in realtime to dynamic traffic patterns of complex urban grids, experienced in neighborhoods like East Liberty in the City of Pittsburgh. Dr. Smith worked with the City of Pittsburgh, Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (regional MPO), Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and neighborhood groups on a pilot deployment of Surtrac, which resulted in a 40% reduction in vehicle wait time and a 20% reduction in emissions.  The original deployment of nine intersections in 2012 has expanded to 50 intersections and is now funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT)’s Advanced Transportation Congestion Management Technology Deployment (ATCMTD), and PennDOT grants for an additional 150 intersections in Pittsburgh. With two patents from the UTC research, Dr. Smith’s Pittsburgh-based company Rapid Flow Technologies has created eight jobs and currently has commercial deployments in Atlanta, GA; Portland, ME and Needham and Quincy MA. 

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