Smart Mobility

Page updated on Jun 16, 2020 at 9:36 AM

Smart Mobility: Laying the Groundwork for a Smarter Alexandria

Alexandria is committed to investment in transportation technologies that improve road safety and traffic management while also preparing the City to take advantage of future transportation infrastructure advancements, such as self-driving cars and real-time traffic management. 

What is Smart Mobility?

Smart Mobility is the concept of applying information technologies to roads, traffic signals, transit vehicles, and other transportation infrastructure to help us better understand how our roadway network operates. This data can be leveraged to improve quality of life in Alexandria in a variety of ways – from managing traffic to improving transit to enhancing safety to optimizing parking to streamlining emergency management.

Our Strategy

When it comes to Smart Mobility, Alexandria is committed to a proactive, innovative approach. Implementation of this Framework will come from various sources and partnerships. It will involve an interdepartmental team of City staff tasked with streamlining existing Smart Mobility-related programs, researching and implementing new programs, and coordinating with external partners. In doing so, the City will lay the groundwork for application developers, vendors, and other technology creators to partner with Alexandria to advance its Smart Mobility goals.


What's Happening

The City installed sensors to monitor traffic movement through the City’s transportation network. The system delivers real-time congestion and delay information and has tools to help optimize the movement of people and goods through the network. Check out the public facing dashboard analytics that provides information to make well informed transportation decisions.

The City currently has live cameras at 24 intersections through out the City. The cameras are broadcasting on the Traffic View web. Click here to view

The Smart Mobility Framework Plan  summarizes the many programs that fall under the Smart Mobility Program and how they tie together.  

For an overview of the City's Smart Mobility Program, see the Community Presentation

ITSgraphic

Ongoing Projects

  • Fiber Optic Network
  • Transit Signal Priority & Emergency Vehicle Preemption
  • Adaptive Traffic Signal Control 
  • Traffic Sensors

Key goals of Alexandria's Smart Mobility program

  • Improve safety
  • Improve travel times and transit options 
  • Improve air quality 
  • Position Alexandria to embrace innovation use future transportation technologies

Right now, this work allows Alexandria to:

  • Monitor and respond to City traffic conditions and collect data that is analyzed and used to better manage the City's transportation network
  • Use Transit Signal Priority, which allows "smart buses" on area roadways stay on schedule
  • Operate optimized traffic signals and quickly send data to the traffic management center, various City agencies, and regional transportation partners
  • Use traffic cameras and pavement sensors to monitor road conditions

In the next five years, this work will allow Alexandria to:

  • Use a Fiber Optic Communications Network that will allow City agencies (T&ES, IT, Police, Fire, Schools) to share vital traffic and road conditions in real time
  • Construct an Intelligent Command Center that shares information across City functions (i.e., emergency response, snow removal operations)
  • Implement Adaptive Signal Control, which allows traffic signals to adjust to actual traffic demand and flow rather than variables that are less effective predictors of traffic patterns, such as time of day

In the next 10 years, this work will allow Alexandria to:

  • Use emergency vehicle preemption, so that ambulances, police cars and fire trucks can "talk" to traffic signals, giving them a clearer path when responding to emergencies
  • Reduce emissions through decreases in vehicle idling and road traffic
  • Offer better quality of life and less loss time due to smoother traffic flow and more efficient roadways
  • Drastically reduce the frequency and severity of crashes due to better traffic management

In the next 20 years, this work will allow Alexandria to:

  • Accommodate self-driving vehicles and connected vehicles
  • Accommodate vehicle-to-infrastructure communications, which will help travelers find parking spaces, avoid traffic, and navigate hazardous road conditions
  • Accommodate vehicle-to-vehicle communications, which will help travelers avoid crashes 


Frequently Asked Questions

What is Municipal Fiber?
The fiber optic communications network is the backbone of the ITS initiative. This communications system reaches to the four corners of the City with a robust design to allow future, yet still unknown, technology deployments. Initially the traffic signals, traffic cameras, pavement sensors, flood monitors as well as other field devices will communicate to the control center through the fiber optic cable. This cable will also allow connectivity with other regional players such as VDOT and DECC. In addition to fiber optic cable other communications media, such as wireless, are being evaluated for possible deployment.

What is Adaptive Signal Control?

Traffic adaptive signal control is an important component of the ITS program. Most traffic signals operate on a time of day schedule. The morning schedule synchronizes the traffic signals to provide inbound progression and then the reverse in the evening. The signals operate solely on a time of day schedule with no regard to actual traffic demand. Under adaptive control, traffic conditions are continuously monitored and advanced algorithms modify traffic signal operations as appropriate to optimize traffic flow. Traffic adaptive control is a proactive approach to dealing with traffic congestion before it occurs.

What is Transit Signal Priority?

The Alexandria ITS program is installing transit vehicle signal priority (TSP) along key transit routes. The purpose of TSP is to provide reliable transit bus operation by improving schedule adherence. In the transit world, running behind schedule is very bad but, running ahead of schedule is even worse. The goal of TSP is to keep buses running on schedule with little to no variation. Smart buses will request priority from traffic signals when running behind schedule. The signals will then try and get the bus back on schedule through extending the green light or shortening the red light. This is part of a regional effort which will allow buses to seamlessly travel between jurisdictions.

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