Fort Smith intersection plan a semifinalist in global competition

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 1,506 views 

Frontier Metropolitan Planning Organization and the city of Fort Smith are semifinalists in a competition that could lead to increased mobility through the city. Other finalists include Austin, Texas, and an authority in the United Arab Emirates.

The Parsons Corporation announced Monday (Nov. 18) that Fort Smith is one of 10 semifinalists in the first ever Smart Cities Challenge focused on intersections, a media release said. The competition, titled Transforming Intersections, “will significantly increase mobility around cities and reduce the amount of time citizens spend at red lights.”

Almost 300 applicants from around the world entered the competition, said Reese Brewer, Frontier Metropolitan Planning Organization director. She said when she went to the city of Fort Smith and the Arkansas Department of Transportation regarding the idea of applying for the competition using the Towson/Midland Avenue corridor that continues throughout the city to the Highway 64 bridge into Oklahoma, both were for the idea and provided all the necessary help.

The Frontier Metropolitan Planning Organization is the regional transportation planning organization for the Fort Smith area and is funded by the United States Department of Transportation through the Arkansas and Oklahoma Departments of Transportation.

The goal of Parsons’ Smart Cities Challenge is to change the way cities move. Parsons works with cities “to solve some of the most complex mobility issues they face today, including frustrated motorists sitting at intersections in traffic backups waiting for lights to change,” the release said. “With Parsons Intelligent Intersections, cities and counties can leverage existing data to provide automated traffic re-timing based on changing traffic patterns, enhancing mobility for the region.”

In early December, a traffic specialist, provided by Parsons, will work with Frontier MPO and Fort Smith officials on a final application for the challenge, looking at specifically what the city would need for the intersections in the corridor, Brewer said. A panel of judges will reduce the semifinalists to one winner, which will be announced around April.

Parsons will then help that winning city by delivering insights through continuous monitoring and visualization of traffic data; improving performance by leveraging existing data sources to provide automated signal-timing recommendations and signal-timing integration; monitoring the city’s traffic network’s health and maintenance needs; and enabling Smart Mobility by giving a seamless way to integrate solutions such as collision-avoidance technologies, according to the company’s website.

“It’s all very technology driven,” Brewer said. “This is a global competition, so we’ll have to see if we have a chance to win. But good things do come to Fort Smith.”

Parsons is a leading disruptive technology provider for the future of global defense, intelligence, and critical infrastructure, with capabilities across cybersecurity, missile defense, space, connected infrastructure, and smart cities.

The semifinalists are:
• Anne Arundel County, Md.
• Austin;
• Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, United Arab Emirates;
• Frontier MPO, Fort Smith;
• Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain;
• Mississauga, Ontario, Canada;
• Pasadena, Calif.;
• RTC Southern Nevada, Nev.;
• Walnut Creek, Calif.; and
• Westminster, Colo.