The Arizona Department of Transportation will use federal funding next year to begin testing technology to improve commercial transportation safety and efficiency.
Commercial Vehicle Information Systems and Networks grants from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration totaling $581,000 will go toward a work zone notification system and sharing of information beween state and federal inspectors at the Mexican border.
“These projects will make our work zones safer and improve how efficiently we inspect trucks that bring billions of dollars in commercial goods into our state,” said John Halikowski, ADOT director. “It’s another way ADOT is making our highways key commerce corridors that improve the quality of life in Arizona by moving products and people.”
The work zone notification system will use vehicle communication technologies to alert drivers that they are approaching construction or incidents on the freeway. It will also make them aware of variable speed limits, traffic congestion, and lane closures.
The notification system is designed to reduce accidents and injuries as well as to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion in work zones.
It’s a joint project involving ADOT, the Maricopa County Department of Transportation and the University of Arizona. One work zone will be chosen on a highway managed by ADOT, while a second zone will be on Maricopa County 85, which runs from the Agua Fria River in Avondale to State Route 85 near Buckeye.
The program will begin in early 2017 with pilot demonstrations in place by August 2018.
The inspection project will connect separate systems used by state and federal inspectors at the Mariposa Border Port of Entry. This will allow officers with ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division to make more informed decisions about which commercial trucks to pull aside for expanded inspections.
Screenings by ADOT and FMCSA officers are based primarily on visual inspections of trucks and documents presented to officers in Rapid Enforcement Lanes. The two agencies have separate computer systems with different information about trucks crossing the border from Mexico. Some trucks cross several times in the same day.
The project should be completed by summer 2018, and will build an interface that allows state and federal inspectors to share safety and credential information about trucks crossing into Arizona from Mexico.
The shared information will be available by computer before a truck reaches the inspection booth. Combined with the truck’s weight and historical information from earlier border crossings, ADOT officers will decide whether to pull trucks aside for a closer look or allow them to continue.