Georgia Tech backs transportation innovations in Gwinnett, Chamblee

A file photo from a 2017 crash at the intersection of Jimmy Carter and Peachtree Industrial boulevards in Gwinnett County. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM
A file photo from a 2017 crash at the intersection of Jimmy Carter and Peachtree Industrial boulevards in Gwinnett County. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

Gwinnett County and the city of Chamblee were among the recent winners of a “smart communities challenge” led by Georgia Tech.

The communities will get seed funding and help from a Georgia Tech researcher for their winning projects, which involve exploring connected vehicle (Gwinnett County) and autonomous vehicle (Chamblee) technologies.

Gwinnett County’s project — in which Berkeley Lake, Duluth, Norcross, Suwanee and the Georgia Department of Transportation will also participate — will use the busy Peachtree Industrial Boulevard corridor to explore how to use new technology to set up a connected vehicle system in order to improve congestion and reduce crashes.

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Connected vehicle technology can allow cars to speak with each other and with road signs, signals and other features.

Chamblee’s project will involve collaboration with Doraville, MARTA, the Assembly Community Improvement District and consultants Stantec. It will focus on the use of shared autonomous vehicles “which travel from MARTA stations and into the community.”

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The project will explore challenges surrounding the “last mile” struggles of getting from a transportation hub to a final destination, officials said, as well as “the potential impacts of autonomous vehicle technology on land use, attracting residents and employees, expanding access to MARTA, prioritizing pedestrian and bike mobility, and improving public health.”

The two other winners of Georgia Tech’s statewide contest were Albany and Chatham County (Savannah). Those projects will involve using technology to better analyze housing data and to better track sea level flood risk, respectively.

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