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Sandy Springs to seek $100K ‘smart’ grant for transit study

Can traffic-signal technology help MARTA buses run on time? Sandy Springs has applied for a $100,000 “smart communities” grant to find out. AJC FILE
Can traffic-signal technology help MARTA buses run on time? Sandy Springs has applied for a $100,000 “smart communities” grant to find out. AJC FILE

The Sandy Springs City Council has given staff the go-ahead to apply for a “smart communities” grant of up to $100,000 to fund a pilot transit efficiency project.

Georgia Tech’s Georgia Smart Communities Challenge is a one-year program that provides grant funding and access to technical assistance, expert advice and a network of peers to a locality that seeks to deploy smart technology. The grant requires a $25,000 local match by the city.

Sandy Springs’ bid is for a project to improve transit service on MARTA Routes 5 and 87, among the agency’s highest-ridership bus routes, serving Roswell Road, Hammond Drive, Johnson Ferry Road and Dunwoody Place.

“The project would use MARTA buses to pilot transit signal priority at key signals to improve travel time reliability and transit on-time performance,” according to a staff report to the council. With TSP, if a traffic signal detects an approaching bus running behind schedule, it will hold a green light for the bus.

The study will also measure secondary impacts on traffic congestion, staff said.