Valdosta Wins Georgia Smart Communities Challenge Grant
On Thursday, August 6, 2020, Georgia Tech announced Valdosta as a 2020 Smart Communities Challenge Grant Winner. The award provides the city’s Traffic Management Center (TMC) with a grant to have all 128 major traffic signals equipped with smart technology, enabling the possibility of connecting all modes of travel to traffic infrastructure and one another. This will include the installation of advanced transponders in emergency response vehicles, and the downloading of smartphone apps, such as TravelSafely, to be used by VSU students and members of the Valdosta community.
Georgia Tech researcher Baabak Ashuri and Valdosta State University researcher Barry Hojjatie will serve as co-principal investigators on the project. They will collaborate with the Valdosta City Engineer Patrick Collins and the City Traffic Manager Larry Ogden in research and engineering aspects of the project. Community and industrial partners include Southern Georgia Regional Commission, Valdosta-Lowndes Development Authority, Valdosta State University, Temple and Applied Information Inc.
“We are extremely excited and ready to get to work on the TravelSafely App in partnership with Georgia Tech and Valdosta State University. This project will transform Valdosta into a smart and connected city. We are committed to creating and sustaining a smart, effective traffic control system which will result in improved traffic flow, road safety, and reduction in the number of traffic accidents,” said Mark Barber, Valdosta City Manager.
Georgia Tech’s Georgia Smart Communities Challenge (Georgia Smart) empowers local governments to think outside of the box and use innovation to improve their communities. So, it was only fitting that program administrators used technology to announce this year’s new grant recipients in an interactive virtual ceremony on August 6.
Valdosta is one of only four communities in the state to receive this recognition from Georgia Tech this year.
“As Project Manager for the City of Valdosta, I am excited about the opportunity to advance our Traffic Management Center capabilities with deployment of the Travel Safely application and signal pre-emption for fire vehicles; but especially, the opportunity to partner with Valdosta State University and Georgia Tech to provide hands-on experience to the next generation of students pursuing careers in traffic engineering and signal maintenance. Thank you Georgia Smart Communities,” said Patrick S. Collins, P.E., Valdosta City Engineer”
"The goal of this project is to make the traffic system in the Valdosta community safer, smarter, and more efficient. It will also provide the opportunity for our engineering and engineering technology students at Valdosta State University to collaborate with both city engineers and researchers from college of engineering at Georgia Tech on an important real-life engineering project. This project is particularly special because it coincides with the launching of the B.S. degree in Engineering Technology program at VSU,” said Barry Hojjatie, Ph.D., P.E. Professor and Engineering Program Coordinator.
“As an institution of Georgia, Georgia Tech is foremost committed to making our state better,” said Georgia Tech President Ángel Cabrera. “We’re very excited about Georgia Smart’s third class of winners, who will be able to use our preeminent research and technology to improve lives, livelihoods, safety, and equity — no matter their community’s size, population, demographics, or income level.”
Learn more about the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge at smartcities.ipat.gatech.edu/georgia-smart.