The federal government funds public transportation projects throughout the U.S. and the process is designed around an abundance of planning. Once plans are finalized, it’s possible to monitor upcoming projects of all types. Today, there are few projects, if any, that do not contain large technology components.  Smart transportation is no longer the future – it is the foundation of every aspect of public transportation today.

There’s a rigid process that governs how the federal funding is apportioned to states.  All metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) in every state are required to develop two basic documents—a fiscally-constrained Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) and a short-range program known as a Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), with a four-year horizon.

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A TIP is developed in cooperation with state and public transit providers and cost estimates for the projects should never exceed projections. Here are some examples of upcoming projects outlined in these types of planning documents:

Maryland

The Baltimore Regional Transportation Board approved the 2021-2024 Transportation Improvement Plan in August 2020. One example of the type of technology components found in transportation projects is an upgrade to the city’s Transportation Management Center. The projected cost is $6,150,000. This funding will be used to upgrade the central computer system which controls and communicates with traffic signals in the field. A complete replacement with a new system is planned and that will include hardware and software enhancements, installation of communication equipment, a copper cable network and a new camera control system.

Texas

Every two years, the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG), in cooperation with the Texas Department of Transportation, local governments, and other transportation agencies develop a new TIP. The Regional Transportation Council approved the 2021-2024 TIP in June 2020.  This document outlines planned expenditures of more than $13.62 billion in upcoming projects over the next four years in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan Area. One upcoming project in Fort Worth calls for the expenditure of $4,550,000 for new digital video software and hardware by the county’s Traffic Management Center. This dispatch center for traffic signals handles after-hours support for three districts – Waco, Abilene and Brownwood.

New York

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Council approved its 2020-2024 TIP in 2019 and it outlines a number of technology projects.  For instance, the counties of Suffolk and Nassau will replace management information system hardware and software at a cost of $75,000. The current “smart bus” system has on-board units and transit-tracking software that uses GPS data to calculate next stop announcements. The buses also contain video cameras mounted internally and externally to record incidents and accidents.  Busses in the fleet also will have capabilities for real-time bus tracking on mobile phones.

Florida 

The state’s Capital Region Transportation Planning Agency adopted a 2021-2025 TIP in June of 2020. One project is related to the city of Tallahassee’s plan to replace the existing infrared based traffic signal preemption system for emergency vehicles with a more advanced GPS based system. This system will allow for a more efficient routing of emergency responders with less disruption to the traffic signal network.

Colorado 

The Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments in Colorado approved a 2021-2024 TIP that outlines expenditures of $500,000 to implement an enterprise asset management (EAM) system for the Metro Mountain Metropolitan Transit authority. The EAM will provide more efficiency for capital planning and the monitoring of transit inventory. The EAM will improve resource management by using the technology to predict preventative maintenance. It will also enhance the transit operation in all areas of planning, budget, contract management, inventory and maintenance tracking.

Pennsylvania

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission has approved a 2021-2024 TIP that includes a plan for the Pottstown Area Rapid Transit to implement an intelligent transportation system project. Funding of $310,000 will be spent in 2021 and 2022 on technology that includes GPS/GIS, predictive arrival technology, automatic voice annunciation, wireless internet connectivity, real time mapping and monitoring, and a new fare collection upgrade. Traffic signal interconnection and implementation of ITS devices will also be placed along the US-1/Roosevelt Boulevard from 9th Street to Woodhaven Road in Philadelphia. ITS devices are used to control the flow of traffic and may include tag readers, CCTV cameras, dynamic/variable message signs (DMS/VMS), and a variable speed limit system.

Oregon

Oregon Metro’s 2021-2024 Metropolitan TIP lists a project on regionwide ITS improvements and upgrades in the Portland area with a projected cost of $1,746,000. The project includes new or upgraded variable message signs, travel-time signs, network/communication technology and other intelligent transportation system functionality. Metro is authorized by Congress and the state of Oregon to coordinate and plan investments in the transportation system, to expand transportation options, make the most of existing streets, and improve public transit service. The public transit provides bus, light rail and commuter rail transit services.

Companies that offer transportation technology products and/or services will find an abundance of opportunities in public transportation planning documents. The upcoming projects reflect billions in planned spending.


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Mary Scott Nabers

As President and CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc., Mary Scott Nabers has decades of experience working in the public-private sector. A well-recognized expert in the P3 and government contracting fields, she is often asked to share her industry insights with top publications and through professional speaking engagements.