Idling in rush-hour traffic can be mind numbing. It also carries other costs. Traffic congestion costs the U.S. economy $121 billion a year, mostly due to lost productivity, and produces about 25 billion kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions, Carnegie Mellon University professor of robotics
Pittsburgh’s application for the $50 million Smart City Challenge grant calls for a series of transportation spines, traffic signals that give priority to transit and freight vehicles, and an “electric avenue” between Downtown and Hazelwood for driverless vehicles charged at solar power stations.
Pittsburgh, meanwhile, has strong existing ties with local universities when it comes to transportation. At Carnegie Mellon, researchers affiliated with the Traffic21 Institute, and an initiative known as Metro21, work on technology that has already been tested in the city.
An East Liberty company that helped reduce traffic delays in that busy East End neighborhood is being recruited to do the same on the North Shore, where major sporting events and concerts routinely tie up traffic.
Anyone who has tried to get out of the gridlock that is the North Shore after a Steelers game knows that traffic conditions could be improved, to put it mildly.