Can real-time transit data really be open?

Smart transportation roundup

In the last phase of the $40 million Smart City Challenge Grant awarded to Columbus, Ohio, by the U.S. Department of Transportation in 2016, the Smart Columbus project launched new features for the Pivot and ParkColumbus apps.

Pivot helps residents and visitors plan and pay for their local trips using one or more transportation options like public transit, ride-hailing, carpool, bikeshares, scooters, taxis and even personal vehicles or bikes. It now offers an app-to-app payment portal linking from Pivot to partner mobility providers’ apps.

The new ParkColumbus features bring private and public parking options together in one app to allow drivers to find, reserve and pay for most parking garages and some surface lots. Additionally, the integration of city data with payment transactions and on-street sensor data allows the app to show drivers the likelihood of finding an on-street parking space.

Atlanta opens first solar roadway

The country’s first solar-powered city street is now open for electric vehicle testing in Peachtree Corners, Ga.

A section of a solar roadway has already been tested at a welcome center in Troup County, Ga., as part of “The Ray,” a pilot of sustainable energy generated from public right of way. The 52-foot long strip is made of thin, skid-resistant solar panels with glass overlay. It generates clean energy from the sun when not obscured by cars, and feeds that energy into the grid.

Electricity from the road feeds a stand-alone electric vehicle charging station – which motorists can use for free. It may eventually power street lights and other city infrastructure, including backup for grid outages, Peachtree Corners officials said in a statement.

Detroit maps road quality data

In Detroit, officials have been testing a mapping system that improves the quality of data collected about roadway conditions and delivers automated analyses.

The partnership among the city, Tactile Mobility and a major Detroit-based automaker aims to provide better insights about road safety and allow road authorities, cities and municipalities to prioritize preventative maintenance and ad-hoc repairs.

The system has been installed in 20 of the automaker’s vehicles owned by Detroit’s Department of Public Works. It measures vehicle-road dynamics -- continuously monitoring and reporting the quality of road segments -- and provide a near real-time view of the road network to support maintenance, live hazard detection and post-accident analysis.

Boulder tests vehicle-to-grid charging

Boulder, Colo., is testing a bidirectional electric vehicle charging -- from the building to the car at night and from the car back to the building during the day -- that aims to reduce the city’s energy load and lower utility costs.

“What this charger does is enable us to pull power out of the battery and use it to provide power to the building,” Boulder Energy Strategy Advisor Matt Lehrman told the DailyCamera.

The city hopes to begin receiving and assessing data from the two-year pilot in early 2021.

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