Catapulting Progress into the Fast Lane

Together for Safer Roads Showcased its Advanced Analytics and Contributions to Atlanta’s New North Avenue Smart Corridor

By: David Braunstein, Together for Safer Roads President

The City of Atlanta?s North Avenue Corridor is a hub for all the excitement the city has to offer: entertainment, unique shopping, stellar eateries, and tourist attractions. The Corridor is home and destination for road users of all kinds – commuters, students, shoppers, pedestrians, cyclists, and commercial drivers.

In the midst of the bustling activity happening on North Avenue, the City of Atlanta identified a challenge not uncommon in these burgeoning city centers: ensuring safety while providing ease of mobility. The numbers showed that in 2014 the crash rate on North Avenue was over 200 percent higher than the statewide average for similar corridors.

The City decided to take action.

That?s where Together for Safer Roads (TSR) came in.

Through TSR?s Safer Roads Challenge, a global initiative to share private sector expertise with the public sector, the City of Atlanta and TSR entered a partnership to combine the City?s data with TSR members? data to investigate root causes of crashes in North Avenue. The advanced analytics solution we have been developing together is setting the standard for public-private partnerships in the City.

Celebrating Innovation Collaborative
Last week, TSR was honored to be at the City?s North Avenue Smart Corridor ribbon cutting celebration led by Mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed. The event brought together companies and organizations nurturing innovative technologies to understand urban challenges, foster economic growth, and strengthen resiliency on North Avenue. Due to these advancements, the North Avenue Smart Corridor will soon be the most connected corridor in the state of Georgia, serving as a living lab for active, multimodal traffic management.

Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, TSR participated in Experience SmartATL, an event showcasing the advancements of various City of Atlanta partners working to implement its vision of a ?smart city?. The event allowed attendees to have a broader understanding of Atlanta?s goals as a smart city, including being a beacon of urban mobility, a city with smooth flowing traffic, and a safe city that welcomes and connects all modes of transportation.1 The experience also provided context on the importance the City places on collaborations and partnerships to make the City smarter and safer.

We had the opportunity to showcase our work by enabling participants to take a virtual journey down North Avenue, while learning more about traffic and safety insights at specific road segments, such as near Georgia Tech or Ponce City Market.

Discovering Risks and Implementing Solutions on North Avenue
The experience was developed based on TSR?s analysis of hyper-local root causes of collision risk to determine the best solutions to reduce the high crash rate in North Avenue. This analysis is based on curating and aggregating data sources and insights from the City of Atlanta and member companies. The collaboration between TSR and the City ultimately resulted in an interactive dashboard that analyzes key risk factors within the North Avenue Corridor, so the City is able to anticipate crashes and take action sooner. Key risk factors we helped the City understand include:

  • Congestion around events
  • Driving behaviors of failing to yield and changing lanes improperly
  • Susceptibility to water logging around high traffic segments
  • Rainy conditions during early morning hours

Building on these foundational insights, the City and TSR will continue to collaborate on advancing the solution and implementing interventions to address risk factors sooner. For example, in the segment of North Avenue between Beltline and Moreland that can be susceptible when rainy conditions occur in the morning, we envision a real-time response to changing conditions through electronic speed limit signs. Another advancement the City plans is a Travel Safely app that will allow for the City to control an enforceable speed limit that keeps cars at a safe speed based on external factors. There will be many more interventions to follow, collectively adding up to a safer, more usable North Avenue corridor.

The Future of Mobility and Safety in Atlanta
Looking ahead, TSR will remain engaged in the transition to a safer, smarter Atlanta that can adapt to multiple community needs in the time it takes for a traffic signal to change. With that future in mind, TSR is expecting to help the City by developing more robust crash risk predictions, discovering other actionable insights, and engaging an even broader group of stakeholders in road safety.

TSR is humbled and delighted to be a part of the City of Atlanta?s development into the transportation city of the future. If you?d like more information on our work within the North Avenue Corridor or if you?re looking to join us in our mission to save lives, we?d love to hear from you.


References

1U.S. Department of Transportation. “Atlanta Reimagined: Creating Community, Collaboration and Access through Transportation Innovation in Atlanta.” Retrieved from