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Technology to be tested for reducing pedestrian accident numbers

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An important new technology is slated to be tested in New York City and two other venues as part of a $42 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The technology intends to improve pedestrian safety and reduce pedestrian accident numbers. It is also designed to reduce congestion and emissions.

The technology will reportedly allow cars to talk to one another in what is called a "connected vehicle" pilot program. Special apps on a pedestrian's phone would emit signals that would be detected by vehicles soon enough to avoid a potential collision. The details and kinks relating to this system are still being worked out, according to New York City's transportation commissioner. The system would incorporate warning messages to drivers as the approach a busy intersection or a red light.

Connected vehicles would supposedly be able to travel faster and at closer distances, yet remain safe at the same time. The program will be incorporated as a part of the Vision Zero arsenal, which intends to eliminate traffic deaths in New York City. The transportation commissioner indicated that the improvements to traffic safety could be "profound" by allowing vehicles to sense pedestrians and bicyclists quicker and more accurately.

One issue to be resolved is how to get the warning system visible enough to drivers without at the same time being so loud or flashy that it would distract the driver. The city of New York intends to put the tech-savvy vehicles in operation by 2016. The lightning-like growth of the technology revolution has made it possible for safety programs to promote the idea of automated vehicles, an idea that would have been considered science fiction just 10 years ago. The long-term vision by officials is that the program will be instituted nationwide at some time in the future, and that it will dramatically reduce the pedestrian accident numbers as well as improve safety in the other intended areas.

Source: The Huffington Post, "New York City To Test Cars That Can 'Talk' To Each Other", Jenny Che, Sept. 16, 2015

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