- In Maryland, the city of Annapolis is partnering with Anne Arundel County on an information-sharing agreement in an attempt to ease traffic congestion on a section of road that drivers often complain about, according to GovTech.
- The agreement concentrates on expanding technology use to improve traffic conditions. Part of the plan is for the Annapolis Police Department to use drones to assess traffic accidents, which are a cause of severe congestion on that particular stretch of road.
- The data shared between the city and county eventually will be used for designing and implementing traffic management solutions and a transportation master plan.
Forest Drive is a heavily-traveled corridor that frequently experiences traffic jams because of construction or accidents. Concerns about congestion growing even worse have fueled criticism from those who oppose new development along the major travel artery. Both the city of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County maintain the roadway and aim to mitigate traffic jams through their new cooperative effort. The two entities launched a working group that will meet at least once a month to examine traffic data and land-use policy. In addition to devising short-term traffic easing measures for Forest Drive, the partners will incorporate gathered information into a regional transportation master plan.
By maneuvering drones over and around accident scenes, police no longer have to put themselves into dangerous traffic situations while gathering information during an investigation. The drones have the potential to arrive at a scene more quickly and easily than humans, and they can quickly capture different angles at an accident — including aerial views that officers on the ground can't provide. The drones can efficiently send photos and measurements directly back to the police department. Although there is a $1,100 up-front investment for each drone and $2,100 in equipment training for each officer who uses the tools, the city has in some cases observed a two-thirds reduction in the time spent investigating an accident when drones are used.
Bringing together city and county transportation leaders, as well as the police department, is an example of how municipalities are leveraging partnerships to build stronger, more efficient and more thorough responses to nagging issues. The project relies on technology and an open data policy, which are backbones of successful smart cities.