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Valdosta project improves traffic flow, receives international recognition

City partners with VSU and Ga. Tech for traffic smart city project.
City partners with VSU and Ga. Tech for traffic smart city project.(WALB)
Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 6:11 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 7, 2021 at 8:41 PM EST
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - From improving road safety and reducing traffic accidents to helping fire trucks get to a scene quicker. The City of Valdosta recently completed a year-long project that’s making a local impact with its innovation.

The Smart City Project helped Valdosta implement new tech on all 128 traffic signals.

It also gave fire trucks the ability to control traffic lights in an emergency with Pre-Emption equipment.

Inside the city’s traffic management center, everything can be seen and controlled with the capability of managing traffic flow and eliminating any issues a light may have.

Traffic manager, Larry Ogden says it was an overall win for the city and the community.

“It was needed because, with growing technology, we are trying to keep up with technology as a whole. Smartphones are getting more advance, cars are getting more advance. And now with this system that we have inside our signal cabinets, we are able to keep up with it and able to give the public more data,” said Ogden.

The technology is compatible with some new vehicles, letting drivers know when a light is going to change or a fire truck may be approaching.

Those with smartphones will be able to have the same notifications via the Travel Safely App.

This project gave Valdosta international recognition.

They were nominated for a World Smart Cities Award, it was the only city in the nation to be selected as a finalist.

City partners with VSU and Ga. Tech for traffic smart city project.
City partners with VSU and Ga. Tech for traffic smart city project.(WALB)

The project took a lot of research to make happen and that was possible thanks to the help of Valdosta State University and Georgia Tech.

Engineering student, Dilan Boggs, had a hands-on role, monitoring two different intersections around campus, calculating jaywalkers and pedestrians crossing the streets.

City partners with VSU and Ga. Tech for traffic smart city project.
City partners with VSU and Ga. Tech for traffic smart city project.(WALB)

“In like intervals of two hours and I did that over there and I did that over there, and it was something,” said Boggs.

Recording the data and then creating the models.

Professor of Geography, Jia Lu oversaw students’ work. She says they had several working on different parts.

Some worked on pedestrian surveys and suggestions to improve sidewalks, intersection crossings around campus.

While others used Georgia Department Of Transportation traffic data and other software to analyze traffic issues around the city, identifying spots with congestions and their times.

They were able to propose possible solutions to improve traffic flow.

Lu says this project was the perfect experimental learning experience for students.

“It teaches students to make a connection between what they learn in a classroom knowledge and connect it with a real-world application,” said Lu.

Lu says hands-on experience allows students to retain knowledge.

It also helps with their motivation, seeing how important and impactful a project can be, gets them excited to complete and present.

City of Valdosta officials says it was a great opportunity for them as well to work with the group of students.

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