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Philadelphia awarded $10 million to relieve traffic congestion

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded Philadelphia with a $10 million grant to relieve congestion in the city. On tap: fiber-optic infrastructure for smarter traffic signals.

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded Philadelphia with a $10 million grant to relieve congestion in the city.

The money will be directed to the "IMPaCT Philadelphia Project" -- as in "Improving Mobility for Pedestrians, Cars and Transit" -- in an attempt to reduce fuel consumption, vehicle emissions and all-around aggravation.

"The money for these upgrades will improve the commutes for 92,000 drivers, transit riders and pedestrians," Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter said. "Reinvesting in and maintaining our infrastructure is key to improving Philadelphia."

The money comes from the federal TIGER program, or "Transportation Investment that Generates Economic Recovery." It's one of the smaller grants that the program has awarded since it began in 2009, in the wake of the global economic downturn the year before.

Both Nutter and LaHood said the grant was issued because cities couldn't wait for Congress to act to invest in infrastructure. (It should be noted that the grants themselves were funded as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which took Congressional action to pass.)

The IMPaCT Philadelphia program is a collaboration between the City of Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities, Philadelphia Streets Department, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.

Improvements will take place along transit corridors in Northeast and West Philadelphia, and involves the upgrade of almost 100 existing traffic controllers to solid-state controllers connected by fiber-optic cable.

The goal: build infrastructure that can support transit signal prioritization, such as extending a green light when a bus or trolley is detected.

The grant will also fund intersection improvements, such as improving ADA compliance and installing pedestrian countdown signals.

Photo: backseatstreet/Flickr

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com