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Waycare and COTA Announce $1.7 Million Federal Grant and Implementation

Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) and Waycare Tech announced the implementation of Waycare’s cloud-based connected mobility platform that will increase traffic safety and reduce travel time for Central Ohio residents. The project is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Integrated Mobility Innovation Demonstration Research grant of more than $1.7 million awarded to COTA and 13 partners, including the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC), the City of Columbus, The Ohio State University.

The new Regional Cloud-Based Traffic Management Artificial Intelligence (AI) System allows participating transit agencies, counties and public safety organizations for the first time to share, view, prepare for and react to real-time traffic information across 13 central Ohio counties on a single web-based platform.

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The system will be the largest AI implementation of its kind in the country and the first involving public transit agencies. With a goal of reducing travel time for residents throughout the region, the implementation also supports the Vision Zero initiative in the City of Columbus to eliminate all roadway-related deaths and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy and equitable mobility for all.

“This innovative transportation analytics system we are implementing with Waycare and our partners gives all of us access to more powerful information; improving our performance, delivering critical mobility solutions and increasing safety on our roadways,” said COTA President/CEO Joanna M. Pinkerton. “We are excited so many partners have joined us in implementing this grant from the U.S. DOT as we begin creating a platform that will set the standard for data, analytics and AI in transit and transportation.”

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Waycare’s cloud-based technology unifies multiple streams of traffic and transit data to give a real-time view into an area’s traffic patterns. The system provides insights to predict problems or potential incidents before they occur in order to enhance public transportation effectiveness, expand transit quality and efficiency, reduce congestion and travel times, increase safety and improve response times to traffic incidents. For example, the Southern Nevada Regional Transportation Commission has reduced the average accident response time by 12 minutes using the Waycare platform.

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In Central Ohio, when traffic snarls on a COTA transit route, COTA and emergency response dispatchers will view ODOT camera feeds of the area through the Waycare platform, giving nearby first responders clear information about where and what incidents they might encounter. COTA, meanwhile, can utilize traffic and incident information to reroute its own fleet around those problem areas, keeping COTA vehicles and customers on schedule.

“It is inspiring to see that Central Ohio is embracing artificial intelligence and innovation to facilitate safer, more proactive traffic and transit services throughout the region,” said Waycare CEO Noam Maital. “This project is a testament to how multiple agencies can come together and use technology as a resource for the benefit of the entire community.”

The Regional Cloud-Based Traffic Management AI System will benefit from Waycare’s established private sector partnerships such as the bidirectional communication with the Waze app, weather services and connected vehicle technologies. This information will combine with data from public sources, as well as digital video and infrastructure from the 12 additional partners. Those include MORPC, ODOT, One Columbus, The Ohio State University and the Center for Automotive Research, City of Columbus, Delaware County Transit, DriveOhio, Franklin County, Lancaster-Fairfield Public Transit, RTC Services, Transportation Research Center and Honda North America.

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