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NCDOT receives federal safety grant

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RALEIGH — The N.C. Department of Transportation has received a $2.1 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration to improve transportation safety and efficiency.

Using the grant, the NCDOT will partner with N.C. State University and Raleigh on a pilot program to evaluate the impact of connected vehicles on driver and pedestrian safety.

“As technology continues to evolve and change, so too must our methods of keeping people safe,” said state Transportation Secretary Eric Boyette. “This program will give us the tools to do just that and prepare for a future in transportation that will be autonomous, connected and electric.”

The money awarded will fund a four-year project created by the NCDOT, N.C. State University and the city of Raleigh called the Multimodal Connected Vehicle Pilot.

The pilot’s initial stages will involve the creation of a mobile application, designed to send safety notifications to its users — pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders and operators, and motorists. The app aims to reduce risks to pedestrians, for instance, by alerting them when they have priority to cross the street and managing their wait time expectations. In addition, the app will be accessible to visually impaired students at the Governor Morehead School near NCSU’s campus.

The application will alert motorists when pedestrians are in the intersection, speed limit thresholds are exceeded, red-light violations have occurred or there is work zone activity.

N.C. State students and faculty will also benefit from this pilot, as NCDOT plans to install a new intelligent traffic signal system on Wolfline bus routes.

This grant was created and funded through the FAST Act, which was passed in 2015 and provides $305 billion between the 2016 and 2020 fiscal years for highways, motor vehicle safety, public transportation and research, technology and assistance programs.

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