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Dubuque granted money to develop traffic information system

US Department of Transportation, SMART Grants Program

A $2 million federal grant will help Dubuque County improve road safety and reduce traffic congestion. 

The funding will go towards developing an interface that gives drivers traffic updates in real time. To do that, an organization that works with local governments will study traffic patterns in Dubuque.

Chandra Ravada is the interim executive director of the East Central Intergovernmental Association. He says if the project is successful, it will make roads safer and less congested after an accident, and provide Dubuque with traffic data for future projects. 

“This project will reroute all the traffic onto side roads where they are safe and secure, and then move traffic around. We will know exactly saying, 'Hey, we need a right turn lane here, or we need less speed here.'”

It’s a continuation of an existing project, which will use electronic road signs to update drivers about accidents. Those signs will update every five minutes.

Ravada says the new interface would give drivers real-time information, directly to their cars. 

“Our goal is, in the future, because there are unmanned vehicles and automated vehicles coming in, the devices will be designed in such a way that the information can be shown on their dashboard.”

Ravada says the project will track the number of vehicles in an area at one time, but will not be "tracking a vehicle through the system.” He also says the data collected by the system will be held “in a secured location with very limited access.” 

The study will start later this year and is expected to take around 18 months. After that, Dubuque will look to secure more funding for implementation, which will take around two years.