Video to Solve Traffic Problems Discussed at DoT Meeting

Digital Transportation Exchange seeks to connect various groups though a public private partnership to create “a thriving marketplace for transportation solutions.”
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WASHINGTON—A federal transportation official says a program promoting public-private partnerships to foster ideas and products for transportation solutions might support increased use of traffic cameras or other video technologies as part of the overall solution to traffic problems, but it depends on the problems identified.

by J.J. Smith

The program is the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DoT) Digital Transportation Exchange (DTE) which seeks to connect citizens, businesses, state and local governments, industry, entrepreneurs, researchers, and investors though a public private partnership to create “a thriving marketplace for transportation solutions.”

How video cameras might be used is going to depend on how stakeholders “connects the dots to see a problem, and maybe that (video) device can help solve it,” Nitin Pradhan, the DoT’s chief information officer told Government Video. On Sept. 16, Pradhan facilitated a DTE stakeholder meeting at which representatives from industries that use video in different ways provided input. “Today (at the meeting at DoT headquarters) we’re looking at what can that camera do,” Pradhan said. Proposals are expected on how video technology might be used, and “when you open it up to a whole group of people, new ideas come out,” he said.

Among the stakeholders at the meeting were representatives of the telecommuting and unmanned vehicle industries.

Terri Jordan, the federal business development manager for Gotham Government Solutions, an IT consultant with offices in Reston, Va., said, virtual solutions will allow people to use any device, anywhere, anytime thereby enabling people to work from home. That would reduce the number of commuters on the road, she said. “This cuts down on IT costs and provides greater flexibility,” she added.

In addition, Robert Thomson, the senior vice president of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, said unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology “has leaped ahead in the last decade.” The uses of that technology have been predominately military, but “the next breakthrough area is civil and commercial applications,” he said. As intelligent vehicle systems evolve “there’s a place in there for unmanned and robotic intelligent vehicles,” he said, adding, “there are technologies to take human drivers from behind the wheel.”

Technologies such as UAVs, Smartphones, telecommuting and video cameras are likely going to all be part of the solution the DoT is looking for, Pradhan said. “Devices, software, all those possibilities are on the table,” he said. “The reason we’re doing this is to get the best ideas in because we don’t know exactly how that end product will turn out,” he said. “The solutions can come in different formats, it could be as simple as an app, and it could be as complex as a big system that could run very complex, or it could be a service that is put on the cloud that could be used in some other fashion.”