Electronics giant Panasonic and TransitScreen, a maker of real-time displays, have joined forces in a smart city-focused effort to alleviate traffic congestion and reduce travel time in urban areas across the country — beginning with Colorado.
Last month, the companies announced a commitment to deliver real-time data to help travelers make better decisions through a combination of CityNOW, Panasonic’s smart city platform and TransitScreen’s backend data. Overall, this effort could help Colorado cities meet the environmental and efficiency objectives identified by their executive and technology offices. The Smart City technology is designed to create a “seamless experience” for residents and visitors to the city, but also to build upon broader transportation programs that are ultimately aimed to save lives.
According to State Scoop, the Colorado and Panasonic partnership was originally announced as a five-year agreement and includes the implementation of public kiosks that provide information on transit arrival times, local points of interest, live events at transit agencies, smart bus shelters, airports, street kiosks, stadiums and arenas, municipal buildings and university stadiums.
In addition to curbing urban congestion, Colorado’s main goal with transportation technology is to eliminate the unnecessary deaths and injuries caused by traffic incidents. In 2016, the highest number of estimated deaths due to car crashes within nine years was recorded, according to the National Safety Council. Nearly 40,000 people lost their lives in motor vehicle incidents last year, and more than 600 of those deaths were in Colorado.
Shailen Bhatt, executive director for the Colorado Department of Transportation, said, “Ovision is a future where cars don’t crash, roads don’t get congested and people don’t die on our roadways. We believe that this partnership with Panasonic is going to help us harness big data to help us operate the system more safely and effectively.”
Similar efforts are already underway and in-use in other cities across the nation, including Kansas City where Twentyseven Global’s headquarters is located. In KC, the city is now hooked up with free public Wi-Fi across 50 downtown blocks, is equipped with 125 smart LED street lights that respond to activity and features a streetcar line with a dozen kiosks where people can access information about transportation options, accessing city services, local entertainment and could also be used in emergency situations to notify people of potential problems in the area.