Smart Mobility Challenge : 2021 – 2022 Winning Projects

CMU’s Traffic21 Announces Winners of Third Smart Mobility Challenge

Earlier this month, Carnegie Mellon University’s Traffic21 Institute announced the Township of Shaler, the City of Monessen and Heritage Community Transportation as the winners of its third Smart Mobility Challenge.

Traffic21, a research institute operated out of CMU’s Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy and Mobility21, its affiliated USDOT National University Transportation Center in the College of Engineering, sponsored this year’s challenge as a continuation of its mission of transforming southwestern Pennsylvania into a testbed for mobility innovation.

With generous funding from the Hillman Foundation, and the US DOT, the Smart Mobility Challenge invited representatives of municipalities and public transit operators in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington and Westmoreland counties to identify real-world mobility challenges affecting their communities and apply to receive support from CMU faculty and students.

“The problems submitted for consideration illustrate the mobility challenges we face in southwestern Pennsylvania and the awareness and dedication of our local leaders and transit operators to find solutions” said Lisa Kay Schweyer, Program Manager of Traffic21.

Walk Bike Shaler, in partnership with the Township of Shaler, will partner with CMU researchers led by the Remaking Cities Institute to inform and contribute to the Better Boulevard initiative. CMU, providing urban design and computer vision expertise, will deploy cameras for visual data, develop computer vision algorithms to analyze data, and develop mobility/urban design recommendations from the data and responsive to community priorities. Shaler’s pattern of a long Main Street in a suburban context is a mobility/urban design case study relevant to numerous municipalities in Southwestern PA and nationally.

The City of Monessen, led by Mayor Matt Shorraw, will partner with CMU researchers led by the Remaking Cities Institute inform and contribute to the ongoing work of the City of Monessen on its Comprehensive Plan and related initiatives related to mobility, equity, and safety, focused on Mid-Downtown Monessen. CMU, providing urban design and computer vision expertise, will deploy cameras for visual data, develop computer vision algorithms to analyze data, and develop mobility/urban design recommendations from the data and responsive to community priorities. Monessen’s pattern of a riverfront downtown is a mobility/urban design case study relevant to numerous municipalities in Southwestern PA and nationally.

Heritage Community Transportation, a program of Heritage Community Initiatives, will partner with CMU researchers to review the impact of COVID-19 on its services with the objective to recommend rider-focused service enhancements. This project will collect data on demand patterns, develop new theory, and provide practical policy recommendations. It also provides faculty and students the opportunity to conduct research with a transportation provider whose mission is to serve our region’s most vulnerable populations.

“The Traffic21 Institute has helped establish the city of Pittsburgh as a world renowned test bed for transportation intelligent technologies,” said Chris Hendrickson, Director of Traffic21. “Through the Smart Mobility Challenge projects, we are thrilled to be able to extend this reach further into the southwestern Pennsylvania region.”

There was one other application from Beaver County and Traffic21 staff connected that municipality’s representatives with faculty to explore additional solutions through class projects versus a traditional award. All projects will begin July 1, 2021, with completion by June 30, 2022.