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David Swallow, Deputy CEO of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada

IRF: “How is the RTC contributing to the creation of a 21st century transportation system that supports economic growth and quality of life?”

David Swallow: Everyone knows that traffic accidents and road construction can result in traffic congestion, delays and secondary incidents. That’s why prevention is key. As Southern Nevada’s traffic management agency, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada is focused on mitigating and ultimately preventing the adverse impacts of roadway incidents and construction. Southern Nevada is home to 2.2 million residents and welcomes more than 43 million visitors annually. Mobility is key to economic vitality. Thanks to the continued development of artificial intelligence (AI) and other advanced technologies, the RTC is leveraging cutting-edge solutions that can enhance our transportation system in the 21st century, simultaneously supporting the economic growth and quality of life for our fast-growing community.

AI’s revolutionary impact on society is profound, and this includes transportation. Consequently, AI-driven mobility solutions have become the foundation of the RTC’s efforts to improve traffic safety and reduce congestion. One of the first AI partnerships the RTC’s regional traffic management center launched was with Waycare, whose artificial intelligence platform and real-time data analysis enables detection of significantly more traffic incidents, facilitating faster validation and incident response. The technology ultimately allows traffic to flow again, reducing the chance of secondary accidents and preventing untold millions of dollars in commerce-related delays.

In Southern Nevada, the results have been impressive. Waycare has enabled the RTC and its traffic management partners, the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) and Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP), to identify and respond to crashes 10+ minutes faster on average.

In addition, by combining data with predictive analytics, Waycare has helped to identify areas at high risk for an incident, dangerous driving conditions or congestion. This insight enables NHP to proactively deploy traffic patrols and abatement efforts more efficiently with the goal of preventing incidents, and in fact, reduced the number of primary crashes by 17 percent on a six-mile segment of Southern Nevada’s busiest highway, I-15, during the pilot period.

The RTC is also testing various AI-driven advanced technologies to find, inspect and mitigate work zones in real time as part of its ongoing effort to reduce traffic congestion and improve safety in and around road construction. In a first-of-its-kind effort, the RTC is testing technology that both detects work zones in real-time and broadcasts the location of static barricade equipment, like cones, barrels and signs. This technology also detects moving construction vehicles and workers to help motorists know what is ahead on their commute and better inform traffic engineers on exactly where work zones are moving daily, even hour to hour.

Clearly, advanced technology is empowering traffic management agencies to improve their ability to keep traffic moving smoothly. An effective transportation system has often been measured by the ability to get from point A to point B safely and quickly. Now, transportation agencies like the RTC have more tools at their disposal to achieve this goal. By continuing to test and leverage AI-driven solutions, the RTC seeks to create a modern transportation system that enables people and goods to move more efficiently, supports economic development, reduces air pollution and ultimately, improves the quality of life overall.

IRF Global R2T Conference & Exhibition: November 19-22, 2019

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