Austin Transportation Department looks to future with pedestrian connected-vehicle technology

The pilot program is along Rosewood Avenue at the Navasota and Angelina street intersections. (Courtesy Austin Transportation Department)
The pilot program is along Rosewood Avenue at the Navasota and Angelina street intersections. (Courtesy Austin Transportation Department)

The pilot program is along Rosewood Avenue at the Navasota and Angelina street intersections. (Courtesy Austin Transportation Department)

Image description
The program provides both pedestrian-crossing and red-light alerts to vehicles with connected capabilities. (Benton Graham/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
The technology is solar powered. (Benton Graham/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
The roadside unit transmits data to the connected vehicles. (Benton Graham/Community Impact Newspaper)
In an effort to improve road safety, a pilot in East Austin is underway to alert vehicles when a pedestrian is about to cross the street. The program, monitored by the Austin Transportation Department, is at two crossings on Rosewood Avenue: Angelina Street and Navasota Street.

When a pedestrian pushes the signal at one of the crossings, it alerts oncoming drivers that have vehicles connected to wireless networks, or connected vehicles, that someone is trying to cross. It also provides an alert if the driver is about to run a red light.

“Distracted driving is one of the main causes of accidents, and so any additional warnings that drivers can get of something that's occurring in front of them, the more likelihood of them intervening and doing something,” said Joseph McKenzie, a project manager with the transportation department’s Smart Mobility Office.

In addition to displaying messages for connected vehicles, the crosswalks also have rapid flashing lights that will go off when the pedestrian pushes the crossing button.

The effort represents a step toward a future when drivers would have access to significantly more information, McKenzie said. For example, a driver might be able to see a countdown showing how many seconds until a light turns green or if a driver is going the wrong direction, something already available on SH 45 SW.


“What we need to do as a city is to understand how this technology works and start getting prepared and plan out the effort to take advantage of the safety application,” McKenzie said.

The technology for the project runs on solar power and is provided by TAPCO and Siemens. The two companies cover the project cost, while the transportation department monitors the right of way during the pilot, according to a city spokesperson.
By Benton Graham

Metro Reporter, Austin

Benton joined Community Impact Newspaper as a metro reporter covering transportation in Central Texas in June 2021. Benton's writing has appeared in Vox, The Austin Chronicle, Austonia and Reporting Texas. Originally from Minneapolis, Benton graduated from William & Mary and eventually moved to Austin in 2018.



MOST RECENT

The Austin Trail of Lights will open nighly from Nov. 28 through Dec. 31. (Courtesy Trail of Lights Foundation)
PHOTOS: Austin Trail of Lights returns to Zilker Park this week

The traditional holiday light show is open from Nov. 28 through New Year's Eve.

Commissioners on Nov. 22 voted to approve a density change to preliminary plans for The Preserve, a neighborhood that city documents said could include 565 single-family homes at the northeast corner of Teel and Panther Creek Parkways. (Courtesy city of Frisco)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Neighborhood near PGA Frisco could see larger lots; ERCOT says Texas power grid ready for expected winter demand and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Nov. 24.

Local and state officials have made statements welcoming Samsung to Taylor following the announcement that the city will be home to its new $17 billion semiconductor fabrication plant. (Courtesy KXAN)
State, local officials react to Texas governor, Samsung joint announcement

Local and state officials have made statements welcoming Samsung to Taylor following the announcement that the city will be home to its new $17 billion semiconductor fabrication plant. 

Austin City Council will meet for a work session dedicated to housing affordability discussions Nov. 30. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Austin City Hall notebook: Council set for dive into housing, development after Thanksgiving break

A Nov. 30 work session could see city leaders work through a range of adjustments to city development code, rules and processes.

The new initiative will build the communities capacity to address homelessness along with collecting data from people who have increased access to those in need. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
ECHO, St. David's Foundation launch new program to build a community approach to homelessness

The program aims to address inequities in traditional homelessness response.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sits beside Samsung CEO Dr. Kinam Kim as he announces the company is brining a $17 billion facility to Taylor. (Screnshot via KXAN)
Samsung makes it official: Announcement from Governor's Mansion confirms $17B facility coming to Taylor

Nearly a year after Williamson County officials began pitching Samsung to bring a megafacility to the area, the electronics giant has made it official.

Bill Curci is a chief operating partner for Shuck Me, a seafood restaurant in Fort Worth. (Bailey Lewis/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Fort Worth restaurant Shuck Me is fishing- and family-centric; a guide to Houston's 2021 Thanksgiving Day Parade and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Nov. 23.

Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County health authority, discusses Thanksgiving safety at a news conference. (Darcy Sprague/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin health authorities remind community of COVID-19 risk ahead of Thanksgiving

Austin health officials warned of a high rate of community transmission ahead of Thanksgiving.

Lizzy and Brandon Simon are running the North Austin location. (Courtesy Lizzy Simon)
Operation Turkey to provide thousands in need with Thanksgiving meals

One local couple is running a North Austin site with the goal of serving 2,500 meals to those in need this Thanksgiving.

Williamson County officials met with Samsung executives at Dell Diamond in January. (Courtesy Williamson County)
For the love of the game: How baseball may have been perfect start for Samsung in Williamson County

The first attempt to bring Samsung to Williamson County relied on a passion for what is considered America’s pastime.

Capital Metro is still deciding if it will put the MetroRail Red Line above or below the North Lamar and Airport boulevards intersection. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Capital Metro moves forward with funding for one of Project Connect’s ‘most complex’ intersections

The North Lamar Boulevard and Airport Boulevard intersection will eventually have the Red, Blue and Orange lines running through it.