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Smart Cars And Traffic Control And Assistive Technology, Oh My! DOT Taps CMU For 21st Century Tech

Sarah Kovash
90.5 WESA


Carnegie Mellon University will receive $14 million in federal funding to develop innovations in smart transportation, research and education, the school announced Tuesday.

The U.S. Department of Transportation dollars will be rolled out over five years to establish Mobility21, which will focus on efficiently improving the mobility of people and goods in the 21st century. That work could include smart city technologies, connected and autonomous cars, improved access to disadvantaged neighborhoods, multi-modal transportation, traffic monitoring control systems and assistive technology for people with disabilities.

Mobility21 will be housed under CMU's new National University Transportation Center, one of five national UTCs funded in 2016 by the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act. The center will be shared by the school's College of Engineering and the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy and helmed by Raj Rajkumar, CMU's George Westinghouse professor of electrical and computer engineering and robotics.

Rajkumar is also the co-director of the GM-CMU Connected and Autonomous Driving Collaborative Research Laboratory. His work will build on existing cross-disciplinary smart city projects Metro21 and Traffic21.

“Carnegie Mellon’s research has helped establish Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania as a national hub for developing safe automated vehicles and has attracted technology companies to Pennsylvania,” Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Secretary Leslie S. Richards said in a release.

PennDOT is one of several partners Mobility21 leaders plan to tap. Deployment partners will help identify real-world transportation needs, aid technology licensing and commercialization, and provide venues for testing technologies, Rajkumar said.

The project had high-ranking support, including Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Rep. Mike Doyle and Sen. Bob Casey.

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