‘Connected vehicle’ technology coming to Gwinnett

Gwinnett officials have completed a plan to bring connected vehicle technology to the county — and the initial offerings could be rolled out along a key corridor next year.

Connected vehicles use wireless technology to communicate with each other and with road signs and signals, with the goal of improving safety and reducing congestion. Automakers are expected to make such technology a standard option in more vehicles in coming years and, accordingly, some communities have begun exploring infrastructure to take advantage of the technology.

Last year, Gwinnett won seed funding and assistance from Georgia Tech to develop a connected vehicle technology master plan. The county released the plan this week.

The busy Peachtree Industrial Boulevard corridor — which runs parallel to I-85 from Sugar Hill to Norcross and beyond — has been targeted for initial improvements.

In 2020, the county will begin mounting equipment on traffic signals along PIB to monitor congestion and relay real-time information to drivers via smartphones or connected vehicles.

Drivers would receive messages about signal timing, the approach of emergency vehicles and buses, construction and maintenance, blocked railroad crossings and pedestrians, officials said.

The county will also install equipment on emergency vehicles that operate out of fire stations west of I-85, allowing them to change traffic signals and clear intersections before they arrive. Transit buses will also be equipped, officials said, allowing them to better stay on schedule.

“Peachtree Industrial Boulevard was selected for the initial deployment because the southern part of the road has heavy traffic patterns while the northern part is more rural, providing a fuller picture of the technology’s capabilities,” Tom Sever, deputy director of the Gwinnett Department of Transportation, said in a news release.

The plan calls for such technology to expand beyond Peachtree Industrial Boulevard over the next five years.

“By 2024, the county plans to broadent he connected vehicle-related communications system across Gwinnett to accommodate the significant number of new vehicles that will be equipped with connected vehicle capabilities,” officials said.

Read the full plan here.