New York City Begins a Cutting Edge Program to Reduce Traffic Accidents & Congestion
As part of a $25 million pilot program, 8,000 vehicles will be outfitted with special devices that can communicate with one another, as well as with roadside sensors, traffic signals and app-enabled smartphones.
The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded New York City about $20 million for the pilot, which started in 2015. The city is contributing up to $5 million for the project, local officials say.
The city has installed roadside sensors in Midtown Manhattan along a 2-mile stretch of the FDR Drive and on First, Second, Fifth and Sixth avenues between 67th and 14th streets. Sensors also have been installed along Flatbush Avenue from Downtown Brooklyn to Grand Army Plaza.
City transportation officials say the “connected-vehicle” technology would alleviate many common causes of accidents. It will alert the driver if he is at risk of running a red light, if a visually impaired person is in a crosswalk or if a car several vehicles ahead brakes sharply. While autonomous vehicles use sensors that can see around a vehicle, connected vehicles use short-range communication similar to Wi-Fi to communicate with other vehicles, roadside sensors and smartphone apps. The technology has a range of 1,000 feet. Drivers would always remain in control of their vehicle, but would receive warning prompts if a hazard is nearby.
In the next year, up to 8,000 vehicles will be equipped with the technology, including nearly 6,000 yellow cabs, more than 1,000 Metropolitan Transportation Authority buses, 500 city and sanitation vehicles and 400 UPS trucks.
The Law Firm of Steven Fried, PC strongly supports and encourages technological advances in combatting and reducing accidents, injuries and fatalities. However, they are never a substitute for drivers taking control of their own vehicles, driving safely and most importantly to stop texting and talking on mobile devices while driving. It does not take a study or program to see how many drivers are looking down at their phones while driving. Studies have shown that reaction times are drastically reduced when drivers are distracted by their phones. The individual driver must cease their use of cell phones while driving. Without that personal responsibility, the programs being correctly tried by state and federal agencies will be negligible.